I just received the following tweet: “I have not found a game that kept me entertained for 6 hours straight before, until I found Blindfold Breakout”. I guess he likes the game.
We built Breakout at the suggestion of several blind gamers that liked Blindfold Pong, but wanted something more challenging. If you read my prior posts about using a physics engine, once we got over the learning curve of using the engine, there were lots of games that we could easily build.
I was about to re-create Pong with the physics engine, but decided that it’s not really worth the effort. Pong, by itself, is pretty good, but there’s not much reason to improve it since the game is so simple. Instead, I started looking at all of the variants of Pong, and decided Breakout would be a fun but challenging game.
Breakout is Pong with bricks that you hit with the ball that bounces back and forth. As long as you can keep the ball in play by moving your paddle – controlled by moving the phone – left and right to you’ll smash more and more brick. After you’ve smashed all the bricks, you move onto the next harder level, usually with more bricks. Many of the blind gamers who test my games made suggestions on varieties of the game, prizes to win, and how to make the levels harder. I implemented all of their ideas, and released the game about a week ago.
The really interesting thing about Pong is that it is the basis for a lot of the early video games. Breakout is Pong with bricks. Space Invaders is Breakout with moving bricks. Air Hockey is Pong with goals and a mallet. Ping-pong and Tennis are three-dimensional version of Pong with movable paddles. Bit.Trip Beat is Pong with moving musical blocks. I also found a Poop-pong game, that involves poop, a toilet and a gorilla’s head. And Nogginknockers is a bloody sports game where you knock a severed human head back and forth between two monsters that control a paddle. I don’t think we’ll create the latter two games.
We have some more ideas for other games that are variants of Pong, but I will leave those for another day.