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A Breakout clone (also known as a Breakout-style game, block-breaking game, brick buster, or brick smash, brick break, brick destroyer/destruction, or ball-and-paddle game) is a sub-class of the "bat-and-ball" genre. The genre is named for the dynamics of the player-controlled block, called a "bat" or a "paddle", upon which the game is based, which hits a ball towards another player's bat or different objects such as colored tiles (called a "brick"). The term brick buster, coined in the early 2000s, mostly refers to more modern games.
Breakout-style games are characterized by the addition of a wall of blocks or similar objects that the player chips away at with the ball as part of the main gameplay. Since the release of the original Breakout arcade game in 1976, and Super Breakout two years later, there have been many clones and updates for various platforms. The profusion and notability of such games has been enough for them to also be referred to by some as a genre in their own right. Among the cloners was Breakout designer Steve Wozniak, who wrote Little Brick Out, a software version for the Apple II of his own hardware game.
In 1986 Arkanoid revitalized the concept by adding power-ups and a feel of depth to the visuals. Many Breakout clones since then have been styled after Arkanoid. In 1991, Atari Games released a remake of Breakout called Off the Wall. It modeled "spin" on the ball.
While the original Breakout has the paddles laid out horizontally, a number of clones have changed this concept: Krakout on the Commodore 64 has the paddles vertically, with most of the gameplay happening in a horizontal layout, while TRAZ offers levels (complete with a level editor) that can have both paddles that move horizontally and paddles that move vertically.
Breakout clones' status as a genre is slightly more established in Japan than in North America. Block kuzushi (ブロック崩し burokkukuzushi, literally block destruction) is the name given in Japan to these games, while casse-briques (literally brick breaker) is the name given in France to these games. A number of block kuzushi games were released in Japan under the title Block Kuzushi, including members of D3 Publisher's Simple series and a Color TV Game system by Nintendo. However, this is a generic name referring to the genre (similar to a tennis game being called Tennis). The games titled Block Kuzushi are all distinct games and should not be considered as a series.[according to whom?]
- Nelson, Mark. "Breaking Down Breakout: System And Level Design For Breakout-style Games". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2007-11-29.
- "Good Old fashioned Ball-Bashing Fun!". dooyoo. Retrieved 2007-12-05.
- "Eidos Announce Nervous Brickdown". Kotaku. 2007-05-05. Archived from the original on 2008-05-22. Retrieved 2007-12-05.
- "Super Breakout". Arcade Museum.
- Wozniak, Steve (2014-05-01). "How Steve Wozniak Wrote BASIC for the Original Apple From Scratch". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- Off the Wall at the Killer List of Videogames
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