KABOOM GAME by Activision

By Mark Nobes, chief editor

Kaboom! is hit game created by Activision, and it was very successful on the Atari 2600 console. 

The concept of the game is very simple. The player must control buckets to catch falling bombs thrown randomly by the mad bomber. The buckets are moved left and right, using a paddle on the 2600, or a joystick or keyboard on home computer systems.

Kaboom! Atari 2600 Screenshot
Kaboom! was first published in 1981 for the Atari 2600. It was designed by Larry Kaplan, the co-founder of Activision. He had previously written several other games for the console whilst working as a programmer at Atari, including Air Sea Battle and Street Racer in 1977. Over one million units of Kaboom! had sold by 1983, and following its success, the game was also released for the Atari 5200 console and the 8-bit computers.
The game was based on the 1978 arcade coin-op game Avalanche (designed by Dennis Koble), and the gameplay used the same concept. However, the falling rocks were replaced by bombs. The limitations of the Atari 2600 hardware made it impossible to copy the lining up of the rocks at the top of the screen (that randomly fall) without seriously affecting the gameplay, so this was replaced by the mad bomber, who released one bomb at a time, which actually made the game far more appealing.
Kaboom! is now considered to be an 80s classic, and it's one of those games that you come back to time and time again. It requires lightning fast reactions and just about anyone can quickly learn to play the game.
Kaboom! game cartridge, instruction manual and box

Atari 2600 Cartridge

A Commodore 64 version of the game was released in 1984 entitled Kablam. In the late 90s, a keychain version of the game was created by Tiger Electronics.
As the game is very easy to program, there were many unofficial clones and BASIC language versions of the game, which could be typed in from one of the many magazine listings or books available at the time. Indeed, I remember creating my own version of the game in Atari BASIC.
Kaboom! Atari 5200 game cartridge

Atari 5200 cartridge

Screenshot for the Atari Avalanche Game

Atari Avalanche

This American Kaboom! TV advert is narrated by voice over actor Michael Bell