Avalanche (video game)

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Promotional flyer for Avalanche
Developer(s) Atari, Inc.
Publisher(s) Atari, Inc.
Designer(s) Dennis Koble[1]
Platform(s) Arcade (original)
Atari 8-bit
Release 1978
Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Single player
Cabinet Horizontal
CPU M6502
Sound Amplified Mono (one channel)
Display Black and White Raster with 2 color overlay, 256 x 240 pixels.

Avalanche is an arcade game designed by Dennis Koble and released by Atari Inc. in 1978.[1] The object is to catch falling rocks with a controllable set of paddles that diminish in number and size as the rocks fall faster and faster.[2] The concept gained a much wider audience after Activision released an unauthorized adaptation in 1981 as Kaboom! for the Atari 2600.[3]

Dennis Koble's official port of Avalanche for the Atari 8-bit computers was sold through the Atari Program Exchange instead of official Atari channels.[4]


Avalanche is for 1 or 2 players, with no simultaneous gameplay. There are six rows of rocks to deal with. The game starts with a six-storied platform and the player loses one platform per row of rocks cleared. The player scores points for those rocks they prevent from reaching the ground. The farther the row of rocks, the smaller and faster they become. The ultimate goal is to get enough points so that the player can continue the game should they lose their first one.


Avalanche is housed in a custom cabinet that includes 2 large lit start buttons and a rotary controller. The side art and bezel feature groupings of rocks with extending lines meant to convey the motion of falling rocks. The screen is black and white with 2 colored strips to provide colored rows of graphics as in Breakout.

The circuit board is based on the 6502 CPU, with game code stored in multiple ROMs.[5] All game text is selectable to 4 different languages: English, French, German, or Spanish. Avalanche also includes a built-in self-test diagnostic program that displays all microprocessor and memory functions, including all operator switches and functions.[2]


Avalanche inspired many similar games including Kaboom! for the Atari 2600 by Activision, Lost Luggage, Eggomania, and Chicken. Popcorn for the Tandy Color Computer is a direct clone.[6]


  1. ^ a b "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers". dadgum.com. 
  2. ^ a b "Avalanche dealer flyer" (Press release). Atari Inc. 1978. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  3. ^ Yarusso, Albert. "Kaboom!". Atari Age. Archived from the original on 2 February 2006. Retrieved 2006-01-25. 
  4. ^ [1] Atari Program Exchange Avalanche
  5. ^ "System 16 - 6502 Black & White Raster Hardware (Atari)". Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  6. ^ Boyle, L. Curtis. "Popcorn". The Tandy Color Computers Game List. 

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