Suffer A Breakdown By Playing 17 Breakouts At Once


Of the games concerning the repeated hitting of blocks until they disappear, Breakout is surely the best. Sorry, Notch. If only there was some way to expand upon Breakout. If only someone had ever tried that. If only the Atari corporation had tried to monetise Breakout on an ongoing basis, instead of just releasing it then leaving it as a pure, untouched snowflake of gaming challenge.

Fortunately, an indie developer has done the hitherto impossible – modified Breakout. I know, right? His twist is an excellent, and painful one – each block contains another, smaller game of Breakout which must be played simultaneously with the ‘main’ game and any other activated micro-Breakouts upon being struck by the ball for the first time.

BRICK[bricksmash]SMASH hovers on the especially thin line dividing ‘experiment’ and ‘thing you can realistically play’, and just about gets away with it. It’s essentially a juggling act, in which you must keep a growing number of microscopic balls afloat simultaneously, lest the game end. To be anything more than a short-term awareness and reflex test it could possibly do with an option to temporarily slow one or some of the sub-games, but then again I suppose that would undermine the absurdity of the whole affair.

Another option is to turn it into an ad-hoc multiplayer game, in which 17 players each take one ‘block’ and fight for control of the one keyboard. ‘Please, just give me half a second!’ ‘No, I’ve got to save this one!’ ‘No, me!’ [Smack], etc.

Good work, Alan ‘Draknek’ Hazelden.



  1. Mctittles says:

    I’ve played a LOT of breakout games, and the top of my list would be Acky’s XP Breakout (for the addictive and unique modifiers not the terrible graphics) and Ball Attack (because the machine guns are awesome).
    Another one to try just because it’s so unique is Break Quest. There is a lot to this game, although it’s not my favorite as with all the added coolness it doesn’t have that fast paced precision that makes a breakout game fun.

    On topic, this bricksmash game has a neat idea, but man the actual breakout part is so slow paced :)

    • Gnoupi says:

      Shatter is a great one too. For the music, and the added blowing/sucking mechanic. In general, any breakout game which still allow me to still have some control while the ball is flying.

      • Mctittles says:

        I agree, and Shatter is also probably the best looking breakout game I’ve seen (while still being fun). I’d like to see someone take the concepts in Acky’s and add in modern graphics. Once you try a breakout game with spin physics, it’s hard to go back to plain bouncing.

      • grundus says:

        Yeah, Shatter is great. I don’t really have a lot of time for this particular genre but I had a lot of fun with Shatter.

    • MarkN says:

      Love BreakQuest and Shatter. Also a big fan of the madness of Block130.

    • Alan Hazelden says:

      As a Breakout connoisseur, I’m curious about your preference for mouse control vs keyboard control?

      As an amateur I prefer mouse control because it just feels better to me, but I don’t know if for balance reasons keyboard might be better? (Because you have more control about how fast the paddle can move)

      (I made the above game and added support for both, but doubt many people will change it from the default)

      • Mctittles says:

        I find keyboard control way too slow to handle a ball close to the paddle that’s moving from one side of the screen to another

        The first breakout games I’ve played were, well, Breakout and the excellent Arkanoid at the arcade. Those games used the spinner control for fast movement, so I kind of started on a “mouse like”. Eventually I got Arkanoid II: The Revenge of Doh for the Apple IIgs, which had mouse control as well.

        Mouse control doesn’t mean you can’t still change the maximum paddle speed. A few games do this, and Break Quest is a major example with different pickups giving you different speeds and even ones that make left or right faster than the other. Most of the top breakout games filter mouse input so it feels good without allowing you to warp your paddle across the screen.

        A couple years ago I was thinking of building an Breakout like game myself and played every clone I could find during my research. I ended up moving on to something else, but have acquired a wealth of knowledge in the area because of this. There are hundreds with poor ball physics or bad timing. I attribute this to a couple “how to program games” books out there that have a very bad and broken Breakout clone as a programming example. But there are some real gems (Acky’s, Ball Attack, Break Quest, 3d Brick Blaster, DX Ball to name a few)

        For anyone looking to code a clone I recommend checking out LBreakout as it’s collision physics are spot on and there is source code available for many languages (including an actionscript port I found). It has solutions for some of the stumbling points programmers new to the genre have, like how to handle brick corners when they are next to each other, or ways to avoid the ball getting stuck in a loop.

        • Alan Hazelden says:

          Thanks! There’s some useful stuff in there :)

          Obviously you do have some control over the speed even when using mouse control, but past a certain point I think it feels awkward that your mouse is in one place but the paddle is lagging behind. This is perhaps less of an issue when you’re running fullscreen and can just hide the cursor and use the raw mouse input?

          How does BRICK[bricksmash]SMASH rank in the avoidable-Breakout-clone-problem stakes?

    • Niko says:

      There’s also Wizorb, which is like 16-bit JRPG Arkanoid with Paul Robertson graphics.

    • SickBrick says:

      DX Ball is my favorite.

  2. Low Life says:

    So, apparently my personal limit of simultaneous breakout games is about two – and that’s if both of them only have one ball. Undoubtedly a very useful piece of information.

  3. Xantonze says:

    Reminds me of this awesome variation on a very old game:
    link to

    • Aaax says:

      The version we play here is that you simply make the board larger and first one to have 5 in a row wins.

  4. Snids says:

    The best breakout game is POING on the AMIGA.

    link to

  5. Shadowcat says:

    I’m confused; it was made to sound as if this was hard to play, implying that you needed to pay attention to the mini-games, when that’s not the case at all. You can ignore them completely. Unless you lose your main ball, at which point the mini games become an ingenious life-line. Neat, but one game was enough.

  6. Caiman says:

    I enjoyed BreakQuest a lot, it felt fresher than the usual clones. But my favourite was always Arkanoid Revenge of DoH on the Atari ST. It was tough and unforgiving, but it rewarded skill and practice. Too many of these clones have either float ball physics, the ball doesn’t behave as it should against the different angles at the edge of the bat (or take the direction / speed of the bat into account), or they throw way too many power-ups at you.

    • solidsquid says:

      Always thought it would be interesting if someone made a breakout game where the bat had actual friction, so you could do things like add spin to the ball rather than just changing the direction. Could make for some interesting/confusing/fun gameplay

      • Mctittles says:

        Acky’s XP Breakout does this very well actually and it’s addictive once you get used to it. You can whip your paddle under the ball and curve it up and around blocks. Once getting the hang of it, you’ll wonder how to ever play a Breakout game without it.

        You can check it out here link to, the game is super fun, but beware the graphics are terribly ugly :).

  7. RealityShifter says:

    I got super lucky, beat it first try 1min 38sec. I got 2 balls then they got stuck up above the blocks and just insta won it.