The Holy Trinity – Paddle, Ball and Blocks
May 13, 2016 7:04 AM   Subscribe

"Although it will seem remedial to mention this, all Breakout-style games have at least three things in common – each contains paddles, balls, and target objects for the balls to hit." -- Lego Bricktopia level designer, Mark Nelson, shares his vast of knowledge of Breakout-style games (previously 1, 2) in Breaking Down Breakout: System And Level Design For Breakout-style Games.

The article, written in 2007, has links to some of the more innovative Breakout-style games of the era. More recently, some of the most exciting versions are being developed for iOS and Android devices.* Warning: any or all may have auto-play audio:
  • Brickies and Anodia 2 have playing fields with various shapes and lots of animated targets, with cheerful vector art. Brickies trades balls for timers, which adds a twist to the usual game play.
  • Impulse! is gorgeous and psychedelic with a wide variety of challenging, trippy playing fields and a strangely soothing soundtrack.
  • In Circuloid you chase the ball around the perimeter of a circular board, working the whole circle at once.
  • Brick Breaker Hero introduces a story to the game. The bricks become hedges and treasure chests and jails and the hero must destroy the bricks, free the villagers, fight off monsters, and kill the Boss to advance to the next level.
Bonus: Play Super Breakout and Arkanoid online!

*All games are free, full versions with various combinations of the usual pop-up ads, in-game purchases/ad dismissal, and/or bonus ads. After an iOS Breakout downloading binge, these were the ones I thought were worth the inconvenience and also FPP-worthy. YMMV.

italics = iOS only
posted by Room 641-A (12 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
oh my word this is like sitting down to a huge delicious meal. thank you!
posted by griphus at 7:11 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

What griphus said!
posted by Melismata at 8:58 AM on May 13, 2016

I had hoped to get something dome today, so I'm just going to favorite and gtfo.
posted by cmoj at 9:09 AM on May 13, 2016

I have such clear memories of childhood, shortly after my parents divorced. My dad was doing the standard Mid Eighties Divorced Dad thing and taking me and my sister for like, alternate weekends and one night during the week. Most of the time, this meant hanging out at the Wheat Sheaf pub while he drank beer and talked to God knows who while my younger sister and I drank a lot of coke with lime. I can't actually remember what my sister would do, but I'd play Arkanoid (and sometimes Galaga) on one of those sit-down cabinets for hours, wishing I was anywhere else.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:15 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

There's also BRICK[bricksmash]SMASH, a version of Breakout where each of the individual blocks in the game of Breakout contains its own tiny game of Breakout.

(I would have sworn I first saw it here, but I couldn't find a previous post through Google, or in a quick sim through the linked article. Apologies if I missed one or both.)
posted by Spathe Cadet at 10:44 AM on May 13, 2016

Paddle, Ball and Blocks

After the tech bubble/ping pong thread of a couple days ago, I was expecting something a bit different and trying to figure out where the blocks came in. (do they hold up/level out the table?)
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:44 AM on May 13, 2016

posted by Spathe Cadet at 10:53 AM on May 13, 2016

Oh hey did I tell you about the time I started work on an Arkanoid clone in Pico-8.

Also you spelled Arkanoid wrong in the post but I fixed it but I WILL NEVER FORGET
posted by cortex at 4:29 PM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Omg I wrote it Araknoid, didn't I? I also write these words wrong: "Scoth" and "charachter" but it's a typing thing not a spelling thing. Your game is sweet, cortex! The paddle works really well with the arrow keys, not too much drag/delay. I was worried people would mostly be excited about Breakout ironically.

I will never forget you corrected a grievous wrong.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:59 PM on May 13, 2016

"... all Breakout-style games have at least three things in common – each contains paddles, balls, and target objects for the balls to hit."

Well now, that's not necessarily the case*. I made a Breakout style game for Android years ago which doesn't feature a paddle (Ringi, still available on Google Play). Seeing the title 'Circuloid' on the list at first made me think I wasn't as original as I thought I was, but then I checked it out and it is quite different:

In Ringi you control three concentric rings of blocks which you rotate (left finger for the inner ring, right finger for the outer and both for the middle ring), the speed and angle of rotation determine the ball's speed and direction when it bounces off a brick. Your goal is to try to keep the ball from flying off-screen and earn points by clearing the rings of blocks, which then allows a new ring to come in, or you play to clear three rings each level in the alternate game mode. There's power-ups too when breaking certain blocks.

So the game does have a blockbreaker inspiration; break blocks with a ball, 'death' when the ball goes offscreen, powerups, play for highscore ... but the game has no paddle.

Although you could consider the blocks themselves to be the paddle.

*unless he posits this as the definition of Breakout style games, in which my game doesn't stricktly confirm to it, despite being a very original take on it.
posted by MacD at 7:57 PM on May 13, 2016

I think my very first game obsession was WinBrick, a shareware (I think) one of these that the English-language internet knows little about. But the screenshots I can find take me back so much.
posted by Night_owl at 8:04 PM on May 13, 2016

command-f Odama

*mutters disappointment and writes a snarky comment to make sure people know about a REALLY GREAT AND UNUSUAL cousin in this family tree*
posted by persona at 8:42 PM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

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