Retro Coin Op Synopsis
Taking its cue from Atari’s 1976 hit Breakout, Taito’s Arkanoid added all the bells and whistles that ten years of video game advancements could muster. With sharper graphics, varied shapes, enemy creatures and a variety of special powers, Arkanoid was both an extension of a classic and a completely new creation.
The premise remained the same: Using a paddle at the bottom of the screen, you tried to knock out colored blocks above you by deflecting a bouncing ball toward them. If the ball ever fell past your paddle into the open space below you, one of your three lives would be lost. This was all basic stuff with roots all the way back in pinball, but Arkanoid spiced up the mix with a few innovations.
First, the block patterns and even the blocks themselves varied from level to level. Certain blocks were indestructible and had to be worked around, while others had to be hit multiple times before they would disappear. Certain levels had rows of blocks encased in boxes of impenetrable bricks, forcing you to knock the ball through a small opening. Not only was it a more attractive-looking package than Breakout, it also made for more challenging gameplay.
The second innovation was in the paddle itself. When certain blocks were knocked out, a color and letter-coded capsule would drop toward you. Catch it and your powers would be heightened. A “D” capsule split the ball into three, an “E” gave you a wider paddle, an “S” slowed the ball down (or balls, if you’d already caught a “D”), while a “B” opened up an escape hatch on the lower right side of the screen, offering a way to the next level without having to take out all those pesky blocks. The “P” capsule came in two different colors: dark pink gave you an extra life, while the red turned your paddle into a gun, enabling you to blast away blocks with the Fire button. If things got too hairy, a “C” capsule would set everything back to normal.
The new features helped set Arkanoid apart from the rest of the pack of Breakout clones, making the Taito game a classic in its own right. In 1987, the company released a sequel, Arkanoid 2: Revenge of Doh, which added a few new features to the block and capsule repertoire. Ten years later, the company introduced Arkanoid Returns, which brought the game up to late 90’s standards of graphics and sound. The revamped game was released on Sony’s advanced Playstation home system to a new generation of gamers, proving that a classic concept and addictive gameplay never go out of style.
Arcade Machine Release History1986 - Arkanoid
1987 - Tournament Arkanoid
1987 - Arkanoid 2: Revenge of Doh
1997 - Arkanoid Returns
Arcade Game Sub Categoriespuzzle/maze