Free Video Game and Review

by Mark Nobes, chief editor

Whether you remember playing Arkanoid back in the 80s, or you're not old enough to remember the game at all, you can play this fun online version of the classic arcade game here right now - it's FREE!

Please note that we have now replaced the flash game with a responsive HTML version called Outer Space Arkanoid.   

INSTRUCTIONS: The game will take around 20 seconds to load, so please be patient! Just steer your bat left and right using the your mouse and hit the ball so that it destroys the bricks. Catching other falling items with your bat will do strange things - some good, some not so good! Sometimes you may be able to fire a weapon using your left mouse button. 

As 80 gamers already know, the simplest games are the best and provide instant fun, so enjoy!

Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System


Review of the Original Arkanoid Arcade Game

The original Arkanoid cabinet games were developed and released by Taito in Japan in July 1985. It was later distrubted to the U.S. by Romstar in the U.S. The simplicity and addictiveness of the game made it an instant hit, with the majority of reviewers praising the game. 
With block breaker games seeing a resurgence in popularity during the mid-1980s, Taito were keen to develop a game of their own. They started a competition to design a game based on Atari Breakout, but wanted the designers to improve on it, and this was won by the duo Akira Fujita and Hiroshi Tsujino. However, they had very tight deadlines to work with, and Taito were testing the game within just a month!   
The game was more successful than even Taito could have imagined, and it went on to become the most popular arcade game of 1986, making big profits for the company.
Arkanoid is certainly a lot more fun to play than the original Breakout, and includes elements of the space shooter games of the time, with enemies and a boss at the end. There is even a level where the bricks are shaped like a Space Invader, and also indestructible blocks. 
As you would expect, the player controls a paddle and must bounce the ball towards the bricks and try to clear the screen to progress to the next round. Each round (there are 36 in total) features an interesting variety of different colours and brick patterns, and this variety enhances the addictive nature of the game, making you eager to see what the next level will look like. Nonethless, it would have been nice to have seen the boss level every few rounds, rather than having to wait until the game's finale, especially with the paddle and ball action being so frantic!
Sometimes a capsule will fall from a brick you have just hit, and these give you extra powers such as being able to capture the ball, or even a weapon such as a laser beam which will destroy bricks more easily.
What makes the game stand out is the variety of paddle boosters and power ups. It's also very fast and responsive, and you'll need plenty of concentration to get through all 36 rounds of non-stop action!
Overall, Arkanoid is an excellent addition to the block breaker genre.
Arkanoid C64 Screenshot - Round 5 Space Invader

Screenshot of the Arkanoid Space Invader (round 5) on the C64

Home Computer Ports

Many of the ports to home computers were also well-received. Computer and Video Games magazine gave 84% to the ZX Spectrum version, but they particularly liked the Commodore 64 (C64) version, awarding it 87% - the sound effects and music track were particularly praised. The British magazine The Games Machine also gave 87% to the C64 version, with the Atari ST port receiving 89%. However, they weren't so keen on the ZX Spectrum version, awarding only 71%.

I remember playing this game on my Atari 800XL back in the day. Most people had ZX Spectrums and Commodore 64's in the 1980's, but the Atari was quite superior to the Spectrum in the graphics department, although it's a great shame that it wasn't as popular as the Speccy here in the UK, at least.  

The level designs in most ports accurately reflected those in the original arcade game.
Arkanoid Atari ST Screenshots - Levels 2 and 32

Levels 2 and 32 screenshots from the Atari ST version

Arkanoid Nintendo NES Screenshot - Round 23

Round 23 from the NES version