Atari Breakout Games for the PC, Mac, iPhone and Android

Atari Breakout is over forty years old but is still played by millions of people every year. A very simple premise, the game was executed flawlessly and has won a place in the video game hall of fame. To honor such accomplishment, TechJunkie has put together everything you ever wanted to know about the Atari Breakout game.

Nostalgia is a curious thing. It is a very powerful psychological tool that seems to arise in our psyche whenever things get bad or we get bored with the present. One of the many industries that embraces nostalgia is video games. Despite all of the technological advances and graphical loveliness of new games, we still have a place in our heart for much older ones.

What is Atari Breakout?

Atari Breakout is a version of the original Pong which was released a few years earlier. It builds on the premise and adds to it in various ways. At its core, the game is a simple bat and ball game. You control a horizontal bat at the bottom of the screen and a ball bounces in the center. At the top of the screen are rows of bricks.

The idea of the game is to keep that bouncing ball in play and rebound it off all the bricks. As the ball hits a brick it disappears giving you points. As you destroy more bricks, gameplay speeds up and you have to begin using angles and rebounds to hit the remaining bricks.

Like Tetris and Pac Man, Atari Breakout takes a very simple game and makes it compelling and very, very addicting.

The curious history of Atari Breakout

The original Pong was a two player game that spawned many clones. Atari apparently wanted a newer version that was single player and asked Nolan Bushnell, Steve Wozniak and Steve Bristow to develop one. They contracted one Steve Jobs to work with them to design a prototype.

The challenge was to create a game that used fewer chips than standard Atari cartridges. Atari offered Jobs $750 for the game and $5,000 as a bonus if the game used as few chips as possible and was completed within four days. Jobs worked with Steve Wozniak to create Atari Breakout with Jobs offering to split the fee evenly between them if they were successful. They were successful and got the game developed in time for Atari.

Jobs did indeed split the fee with Wozniak, a whole $300. He had told Wozniak that the fee was $700 and had not mentioned the $5,000 bonus at all. Atari paid for the game but couldn’t use it as the engineering was too complicated. They ended up copying the game but using their own chips.

The legacy of the Jobs and Wozniak pairing gave us Apple. Apparently, Wozniak had created the game using hardware. Once he developed the software around it, the basis for the Apple II was born and the rest, as they say, is history.

Atari Breakout development

Atari Breakout was placed in arcades across the world and did amazingly well. Apparently, the game was actually in black and white but Atari had put colored plastic under the screen to add the brick colors.

Atari Breakout was then ported to the Atari 2600 and 5200 consoles. A newer version, Super Breakout was released that was available across just about every games console in the world at the time.

Breakout 2000 was released for the Atari Jaguar and was the first legit version to use 3D graphics. It also brought powerups and different brick types to add more challenging gameplay.

A PC version was released by Hasbro Interactive while Sony licensed a version for the original PlayStation. A mobile version was also developed called Breakout Boost which was similar to the PC version with powerups, brick types and other variations.

There were also hundreds of clones of Atari Breakout. Some were very good, some bad. All offered very similar gameplay with a variation of the theme. Some of the clones also tried to vary things a bit with brick types, powerups and different mechanics, with varying degrees of success.

Atari Breakout games and clones you can play right now

Every successful game type will be copied at some point. Some developers just want to cash in on the original’s success while others think they can do it better or differently than the original. Either way, Atari Breakout spawned hundreds of copies that did things the same or differently. Arguably, none really did it any better.

There are currently hundreds of these clones still around. Some are playable in your browser, on a PC, phone, tablet or other device. Each has the same core gameplay, just done in a slightly different way. Here are just a few Atari Breakout games you can play right now.

Atari Breakout the original

Atari Breakout is still available from Atari the form of Breakout Boost and Super Breakout.

Breakout Boost is the mobile version and is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch for free direct from Atari. The look and feel is similar to Breakout but has powerups, different brick types and much better graphics. Boost also adds fire, acid, spitting and grenade ball powerups into the mix for a little extra fun.

Super Breakout is available to play in your browser at the Atari Arcade. There are three versions, each doing things slightly differently. There is an odd advert at the beginning of each trying to convince you to use Internet Explorer. Ignore that and you get to play for free. Again, Super Breakout is similar to the original but with graphical and sound upgrades.

Breakout on Google

The Breakout game also features as a Google Easter egg. Type ‘atari breakout’ into Google Image Search and the window turns into a game screen. Bat the ball into the colored bricks made up of the various images that Google has on the game. It plays just like the original with a simple line of bricks, no powerups, no strange additions or concepts.

As far as vanilla Breakout goes, the Google version is probably the most accessible. It will play on any device that uses a browser and needs no processing at the device end. It is all done within the browser and works on all browsers as far as I can tell.

Atari Breakout hardware game

If you really love the game, Amazon has a portable game of Breakout that is shaped like a carabiner. The screen is 2” in size and the unit is bright yellow. The game is played with hardware keys under the screen like a Nintendo. The graphics are super basic and the screen is not backlit. Other than that, this is a neat portable version of Atari Breakout.

Atari Breakout and Super Breakout for PC

While you can play both Super Breakout at the Atari website, you can also download it onto your PC should you wish. Lots of websites offer both Breakout and Super Breakout for download. Here is one site that offers Breakout for download and here is another. The first site offers one version that looks remarkably similar to the original.

The second link has dozens of Breakout clones that work in 2D, 3D or a variation and cover all sorts of designs, genres and styles. There are dozens of them all available for download. I tried a couple of these and they all downloaded fine and played on my PC. They didn’t quite have the magic of the original but provided a great way to while away an hour when I was supposed to be working!

Check your sources though and make sure to virus check all downloads before opening and/or executing them. You can never be too careful.

Atari Breakout for Android

As you would expect, there are lots of Atari Breakout clones available in the Google Play Store. Some stick very closely to the original formula while some vary quite a bit. Each offers the same kind of gameplay and graphics with slight variations of the theme. Many are free to play while others contain in-game purchases.

Read reviews and find a version you’re happy with. There is no need to pay for this game or put up with in-app purchases as there are some very good free versions available.

Breakout Boost for iOS

I have already covered the original Breakout Boost available direct from Atari so I won’t labor the point here. It is also available on iTunes for free and is very highly rated. It was last updated to support iOS 9 but should still work with iOS 11.

Atari Breakout cartridges

If you still have a working Atari 2600 or 5200 console, you can buy original cartridges of Atari Breakout. Costing from $10 upwards, the cartridges are still regularly traded on places like eBay and other marketplaces.

Atari Breakout was truly groundbreaking and still has an avid following over forty years since its launch. Atari themselves still offer versions of the game and many of the original cartridges are still available. Even with modern games offering total immersion and amazing gameplay, sometimes, a simple bat and ball is all you need.

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