Did you know it’s the 37th Birthday of Atari’s Breakout video arcade game? Well it is according to Google, if not Wikipedia. This bat and ball and brick wall video game was introduced to arcades in 1976. It is easy to see it is influenced by earlier Atari classic “Pong”. Today Google are celebrating this video game’s 37th birthday with an ‘Easter Egg’ hidden within Google Image Search.
Easter egg hunt
To find the Easter egg simply go to the Google Image Search page and type “Atari Breakout”. The result is as you would expect; an array of images of the game, the game cabinet etc. A second or so later these images morph into bricks by becoming vertically compressed and your bat and ball appears at the bottom of the screen. You get five “lives” (balls) in the game. The game is complete with bleepy sound effects. Here is a quick link to take you straight to the game.
Prototype made by Steve Wozniak
The Atari Breakout game has an interesting history. Atari’s Nolan Bushnell and Steve Bristow had a concept to change Pong into an attractive single player game. Al Alcorn, the project manager, gave Steve jobs the assignment of designing the prototype. For this prototype design Jobs was to be paid $750 with an extra $100 bonus for every chip fewer than 50 within the design. Jobs passed the job onto his friend Steve Wozniak who managed over four sleepless days and nights to make a prototype using just 42 TTL chips. Here’s the sting; Jobs split the $750 50/50 with his friend but not the $800 bonus, which he kept secret...
I have memories of the old Breakout cabinet in the arcade where I grew up but never thought it worthy of my 10p pieces as it sat alongside greats such as Defender, Space Invaders and Battlezone.