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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 NES Labyrinth
Arkanoid TRS-80 CoCo Firing lasers! (Coco 3)
Arkanoid Apple II Beginning level 7.
Arkanoid Macintosh Introduction

Promo Images

Arkanoid Magazine Advertisement
Arkanoid Magazine Advertisement
Arkanoid Magazine Advertisement Page 6
Arkanoid Magazine Advertisement

Alternate Titles

  • "アルカノイド" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

A perfect showoff game for the Commie Commodore 64 Wurtzly (1138)
Only the Japanese could invent something like this Amiga Katakis | カタキス (42834)
A fine, if tricky conversion Amstrad CPC Liam McGuigan (8)
Breakout evolved... NES Gustavo Henrique dos Santos (113)
Best breakout clone ever. DOS Tomer Gabel (4634)

Critic Reviews

Computer and Video Games (CVG) Atari ST Jun, 1987 10 out of 10 100
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Commodore 64 May, 1987 37 out of 40 92
Your Sinclair ZX Spectrum May, 1987 9 out of 10 90
The Games Machine (UK) Atari ST Dec, 1987 89 out of 100 89
ATARImagazin Atari ST Sep, 1987 2 out of 6 80 Commodore 64 Nov, 2003 8 out of 10 80
Tilt Commodore 64 May, 1987 16 out of 20 80
Retro Game Reviews NES May 24, 2017 6 Stars6 Stars6 Stars6 Stars6 Stars6 Stars6 Stars6 Stars6 Stars6 Stars 60
Game Freaks 365 NES 2005 5.4 out of 10 54
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) DOS Oct, 1987 Unscored Unscored


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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.

Game Art Beyond

In 2018, Arkanoid was selected as one of the biggest classics on the Commodore 64 by the creators of the C64 graphics collection Game Art Beyond. Arkanoid was honoured with a high resolution title picture (based on artwork for the SNES title Arkanoid Doh it again) in a special C64 graphics format called NUFLI, along with a new C64 SID interpretation of the Arkanoid title theme.

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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atari breakout