ⓘ Breakout 2000 is an action video game developed by MP Games and published by Telegames exclusively for the Atari Jaguar on December 9, 1996. It is a remake of t ..

Breakout 2000

ⓘ Breakout 2000

Breakout 2000 is an action video game developed by MP Games and published by Telegames exclusively for the Atari Jaguar on December 9, 1996. It is a remake of the 1976 arcade game Breakout, which spawned an entire genre of Breakout clones with its concept, such as Taitos 1986 arcade game Arkanoid. It is also one of the last licensed releases for the Jaguar, after it was discontinued in 1996 by Atari Corporation, who merged with JT Storage in a reverse takeover prior to the games launch.

Featuring the same gameplay premise as with the original Breakout, a layer of bricks lines the top third of the screen while a ball spawned by the players paddle travels across the screen, bouncing off the top and side walls of the screen. When a brick is hit, the ball bounces away and the brick is destroyed but the player loses a turn when the ball touches the bottom of the screen. To prevent this from happening, players have to move the paddle left and right to bounce the ball upward, keeping it in play.

Breakout 2000 received mildly positive reception from the few video game magazines and dedicated outlets that reviewed the game when it launched, with critics praising the graphics, control, gameplay and two-player mode but others were divided in the audio department.


1. Gameplay

As with other arcade remakes and updates on the Jaguar such as Tempest 2000, Missile Command 3D and Defender 2000, Breakout 2000 modifies and builds upon the gameplay of its 1976 counterpart by introducing power-ups, bonus levels, enemies, varying level designs and more. It features ten phases to play through, each one divided into five rounds and a bonus round, of which there are also two types depending on the phase, for a total of 60 levels and completing the main mode results in restarting from the first phase over again. In addition, a recreation of the original arcade game titled Breakout Classic is also included as an optional mode for play. The player can also enable a second paddle for either two-players or CPU assistance, choose between three levels of difficulty and set paddles speed at the options screen. High-scores and other settings made by the player are kept via the cartridges internal EEPROM.

The main objective in Breakout 2000 is to break as many bricks as possible from the playfield with a single ball by using the walls and/or the paddle to ricochet the ball back at the bricks to eliminate them. Failing in making the ball rebound from the paddle results in losing the turn and once all the balls are lost, the game is over. Players now have five turns to try clearing the screen of bricks and each one have a fixed point value depending on their color, while the ball can increase its speed at specific hit intervals and the paddle shrinks to half of its size if the ball touches the upper wall in single player. The playfield now uses a behind-the-paddle perspective, with the players paddle being positioned at the bottom and at the top for the second player respectively, with the upper wall being replaced for a warped wall on two-player mode, allowing balls to travel between the top and/or bottom of the playfield. Power-ups are dropped by drones who randomly appear on the playfield and they are divided into three categories. Stingers are enemies who shoot the players paddle and by taking a number of hits, the paddle breaks and the ball passes through it. In later levels, some bricks are stacked on top of another one and breaking them will cause a chain reaction of the top bricks falling down to the playfield.


2. Development and release

Breakout 2000 was the first project developed by Mario Perdue of MP Games/L4 Software for the Atari Jaguar. Mario originally developed a game for Windows 3.1x called WalZ, which took inspiration from both Breakout and Arkanoid but it was never released due to its similarity with the former and fear of lawsuit from Atari Corporation. He worked for Atari Corp. in various projects for both Atari ST and Atari TT030 microcomputers but after dealing with health issues, he approached to Atari employee J. Patton after recovering. Patton recommended Mario to work with the Jaguar hardware and gave him a development kit for the system. Mario ported the unreleased WalZ to the Jaguar for showcase, with Atari liking it and greenlighted the project. During its development, Mario received full freedom and received possible ideas to be implemented into the game that were contributed into the final version from other Atari employees such as developer supporter Mike Fulton and third-party vice-president Bill Rehbock. Mario focused on making Breakout 2000 easily playable with a controller but he found it difficult due to the lack of paddle controllers for the Jaguar. There were plans to include support for rotary controls but it was scrapped due to the lack of them on the system.

Breakout 2000 was in development as early as August 1995 and was announced on magazines the next month, in addition of being playable for outlets at Atari Corp.s UK division and was originally scheduled for a September 1995 release, with early previews showcasing different visuals compared to the final release. The game was still in development and was later scheduled for a November 1995 release. The game was also showcased during the Fun n Games Day events hosted by Atari between 1995 and 1996. In 1996, the Jaguar and games that were in development for it were discontinued by Atari Corp., who merged with JTS and filed a 10-K405 SEC Filing on April 1996. This resulted in the game not being published by Atari, despited being already completed and scheduled for a July 1996 release. Telegames later became involved with the game and licensed it from Atari for release, alongside other titles for the Jaguar. The game was released on December 9, 1996, months after the system was discontinued. By this time Telegames was the last remaining software publisher for the Jaguar. Like other games published by Telegames following the Jaguars discontinuation, Breakout 2000 was only available through direct order and a few select retailers. The cover art was created by graphic artist Gary T. Degler.


3. Legacy

After finishing development on Breakout 2000, Mario Perdue started work on three other games that were intended to be used on kiddie rides manufactured by Carousel International Corporation, using Atari Jaguar consoles that were purchased from Atari as their control units across establishments such as K-Mart and Chuck E. Cheese: A helicopter shoot em up titled Skycopter II, a racing game titled Speedster II and a spaceship game named SpaceGuy. Speedster II was completed on December 5, 1995, a few days before Breakout 2000 was published, while Skycopter II was completed shortly after, but SpaceGuy was never released. There are conflicting reports online in regards to the status of the two completed games, with one source stating that the two kiddie rides were released to the public, while another source state that they were never released due to issues with the systems reliability on certain environments. In 2011, an independent published named Beta Phase Games, alongside The GOAT Store acquired the rights to both Skycopter II and Speedster II from Carousel Entertainment, in addition of purchasing all of their remaining Jaguar-related inventory.

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