#41 – Arkanoid


                                                       Arkanoid came with the Vaus controller. I wonder if these are rare now.



                                                                                Those yellow blocks are INDESTRUCTIBLE.


PLAYERS: 1-2 simultaneous



GENRE: Breakout

RELEASE DATE: August 1987


Arkanoid for the NES is an extremely simple, yet potentially addictive game; “potentially” because, if you don’t possess the special Vaus controller that shipped with the packaging, you’ll find yourself hurling swears like Zeus hurls lightning. The game consists of bouncing a ball from a platform/paddle/”ship” to rows of solid bricks, with the goal to eliminate every brick on the screen. The more bricks you eliminate, the faster the ball goes, and eventually, enemies come out of the top of the screen to try and hinder your progress. As you destroy certain bricks, power-ups are obtained, like the ability to shorten or extend your paddle or to make the ball explode into three separate balls. The power-ups are where the game gets interesting. My favorites are the laser (which you can use to destroy bricks from your “ship”), the “sticky” (where the ball sticks to your paddle for a brief time), and the multiplier. Within the first few stages, Arkanoid grows impossible with the regular NES controller. The platform/ship is so sensitive to movement that barely touching ‘Left’ or ‘Right’ on the D-pad can throw your entire game off. Is the Vaus controller really better? I can only assume that it is. Conclusion: if you can find Arkanoid on the NES, complete and intact, give it a twirl. Otherwise, it’s not worth the migraine.




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  • The Arkanoid games originally came with their own controller called the Vaus controller. Playing Arkanoid on a regular Nintendo controller will only piss you off. The speed that you can move the paddle is slow with the normal controller where as with the vaus controller you can controll the speed of the paddle by twisting the dial. So yes without the vaus controller this game is pointless.

  • My favorite powerup was the orange one, that would make the ball come towards you much slower. The light bue (multiplier) used to speed up the ball considerably; the one stage where I preferred it was the one shown above in the screen capture.

  • Advantage.