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The original Breakout concept involves controlling a bat at the bottom of the screen and using it to catch and direct a ball so as to hit all the bricks which are arranged at the top of the screen. It was unpopular for over a decade, before Taito revived it with some new ideas in this arcade game.

The game's plot redefines the bat as a Vaus spaceship, the ball as an energy bolt, and the bricks form a mysterious wall stopping the ship from progressing to safety.

By the mid-80s, power-ups were popular in most types of arcade games, and Arkanoid features them. They are caught by positioning the bat below them as they fall (meaning that you risk missing the ball if you go for them at the wrong time). The power-ups include lasers (which are mounted to each side of the ship and allow you to shoot out the blocks), a catching device (so as to be able to fire the ball off at a different angle every time you hit it) and one that slows the bolt down.


Arkanoid PC-88 Got a multiball with just a few blocks left
Arkanoid ZX Spectrum The oddly shaped fifth level
Arkanoid Macintosh Playing in round 1
Arkanoid ZX Spectrum Loading screen

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User Reviews

A perfect showoff game for the Commie Commodore 64 Wurstwest (187)
Only the Japanese could invent something like this Amiga *Katakis* (37909)
A fine, if tricky conversion Amstrad CPC Liam McGuigan (8)
Breakout evolved... NES Gustavo Henrique dos Santos (104)
Best breakout clone ever. DOS Tomer Gabel (4353)

Critic Reviews

Computer and Video Games (CVG) ZX Spectrum May, 1987 10 out of 10 100
Atari Gamer - XL-XE Game Review Edition Atari 8-bit Dec, 2013 9 out of 10 90
ATARImagazin Atari 8-bit Sep, 1987 2 out of 6 80
Commodore User Commodore 64 Mar, 1987 8 out of 10 80
Pixel-Heroes.de Amiga Nov, 2003 8 out of 10 80
ATARImagazin Atari ST Sep, 1987 2 out of 6 80
CU Amiga Amiga Mar, 1988 7 out of 10 70
Computer Gamer Commodore 64 May, 1987 56 out of 100 56
Game Freaks 365 NES 2005 5.4 out of 10 54
Just Games Retro NES Jul 04, 2003 2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars 50


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1001 Video Games

The Arcade version of Arkanoid appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Commodore 64 title music

The Commodore 64 port of the game features an exclusive title soundtrack, with crude digitized beat sounds that play simultaneously with the tune. Martin Galway used the same music that he composed for the ZX Spectrum version of Cobra, but slightly polished it in on the C64.

Firebird Version

Firebird Software were producing a C64 conversion of the game by Lynnsoft. At the time Atari were suing Taito about how the game was a rip-off of Breakout. Atari looked like they were going to win so Firebird approached them with the game and Atari agreed. Taito won the lawsuit and so Firebird and Lynnesoft lost the rights to complete and release the game.

NES controller

The NES version of Arkanoid includes its own controller in the package (a smaller version of the spinner used in the arcade version). The game can also be played with the regular Nintendo controllers, but it is much harder this way since the paddle can't be moved as fast as with the spinner controller.

Other platforms

In the 1990's a series of ARGO TV system console variants were produced each containing multiple games. Arkanoid is part of the 84-in-1 game set. See here for pictures.


  • Commodore Force
    • December 1993 (Issue 13) – #96 “Readers' Top 100”
  • Commodore Format
    • July 1993 (Issue 34) - Modern Classics: Oddities
    • March 1994 (Issue 42) – Heaven: Music of the Gods
  • Game Informer
    • August 2001 (Issue 100) - #57 in the Top 100 Games of All Time poll

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