Kaboom! (video game)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with Kaboom: The Suicide Bombing Game.
Developer(s) Activision
Publisher(s) Activision
Designer(s) Larry Kaplan
Platform(s) Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit family
Release date(s) Atari 2600 Atari 8-bit family Atari 5200
Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Single player, Two players

Kaboom! is an Activision published in 1981 for Atari 2600 that was designed by Larry Kaplan. It was well-received and successful commercially, selling over one million cartridges by 1983.[citation needed]

Kaboom! is an unauthorized adaptation of the 1978 Atari coin-op Avalanche.[1] The gameplay of both games is fundamentally the same, but Kaboom! was re-themed to be about a mad bomber instead of falling rocks. As an ex-Atari programmer, Larry Kaplan, originally wanted to port Avalanche to the Atari 2600. In Avalanche all the boulders are lined up at the top which is difficult to accomplish on the 2600, hence the shift to the Mad Bomber. David Crane coded the overlaid sprites for the Mad Bomber.[2]


Kaboom! on the Atari 2600

Gameplay in Kaboom! consists of using a paddle controller to catch bombs dropped by the "Mad Bomber" with a set of three buckets. Points are scored for every bomb caught, extra buckets (maximum of three) are awarded at every 1,000 points, and one bucket is lost every time a bomb is missed. As the game progresses, the "Mad Bomber" traverses the top of the screen much more erratically, dropping bombs at increasingly higher speeds, making each of the seven higher levels more difficult.

When Kaboom! was originally sold, anyone who scored above 3,000 points could send Activision a picture of his or her television screen to receive membership in the Activision Bucket Brigade and a Bucket Brigade patch.

While the "Mad Bomber" is dropping bombs, he has an unhappy face. If the player misses and a bomb is dropped, he smiles while the bombs on the screen explode. The game manual mentions that something "special" will happen after 10,000 points. When the player reaches that score threshold, the "Mad Bomber"'s face appears surprised/upset, even if the player drops a bomb.


Review scores
Publication Score
AllGame 4.5/5 stars[3]

Contemporary critical reception was positive with Kaboom! winning an award for "Best Audio-Visual Effects" at the 3rd annual Arkie Awards. Arkie Award judges characterized the game as "a feast for the eyes and ears" and commented that Activision had "hit the mark dead-center again with 'Kaboom!'". While the game concept was described as rather similar to that of Avalanche, Kaboom! was found to have such presentational elan that it was hailed as an "instant classic".[4]:76 The game was also covered in Video magazine's 1982 Guide to Electronic Games where it was praised for its "exceptional" graphics and "lightning-quick" gameplay.[5]:52

Kaboom! has come to be considered a "classic" Atari 2600 game. Allgame editor Scott Alan Marriott described Kaboom! as "...one of those games that you'll put away for a while, pick up every now and then, and play for hours at a time".[3]



  1. ^ http://www.digitpress.com/library/interviews/interview_larry_kaplan.html
  2. ^ Yarusso, Albert. "Kaboom!". Atari Age. Archived from the original on 2 February 2006. Retrieved 2006-01-25. 
  3. ^ a b Marriott, Scott Alan. "Kaboom! - Review". Allgame. Retrieved December 21, 2013. 
  4. ^ Kunkel, Bill; Laney, Jr., Frank (January 1982). "Arcade Alley: The Third Annual Arcade Awards". Video (Reese Communications) 5 (10): 28, 76–77. ISSN 0147-8907. 
  5. ^ Kunkel, Bill; Katz, Arnie (November 1982). "Video's Guide to Electronic Games". Video (Reese Communications) 6 (8): 47–56, 108. ISSN 0147-8907. 

External links[edit]