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Arkanoid (アルカノイド, Arukanoido) is an arcade game released by Taito in 1986.[3] It expanded upon Atari's Breakout games of the 1970s by adding power-ups, different types of bricks, a variety of level layouts, and more sculpted, layered visuals. The title refers to a doomed mother ship from which the player's ship, the Vaus, escapes. It was widely ported to contemporary systems and followed by a series of remakes and sequels, including the 1987 arcade game Arkanoid: Revenge of Doh. Arkanoid revived the Breakout concept, resulting in many clones and similar games for home computers, even over a decade later.[4]

Arkanoid arcadeflyer.png
European arcade flyer
FIL (Thomson)
NovaLogic (IBM PC)
FIL (Thomson)
Designer(s)Akira Fujita
Composer(s)Hisayoshi Ogura
Tadashi Kimijima
Tsukasa Masuko(NES)
Platform(s)Arcade (original)
Amstrad CPC, MS-DOS, Apple II, Apple IIGS, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, BBC Micro, CoCo, C64, IBM PC, Macintosh, MSX, NES, Thomson MO5, Thomson TO7/70, ZX Spectrum
Release1986 (Arcade)
2 player alternating
Arcade systemTaito Arkanoid[1]
CPUZ80 @ 6 MHz,
M68705 @ 500 kHz[1]
SoundAY8910 @ 1.5 MHz[1]
DisplayRaster (vertical),
224×256 resolution,
60 Hz refresh rate,
512 colors on screen,
4096 color palette[2]


The player controls the "Vaus", a space vessel that acts as the game's "paddle" which prevents a ball from falling from the playing field, attempting to bounce it against a number of bricks. The ball striking a brick causes the brick to disappear. When all the bricks are gone, the player goes to the next level, where another pattern of bricks appears. There are a number of variations (bricks that have to be hit multiple times, flying enemy ships, etc.) and power-up capsules to enhance the Vaus (expand the Vaus, multiply the number of balls, equip a laser cannon, break directly to the next level, etc.), but the gameplay remains the same.[5]

On the final stage (33 on most versions, but 36 on the NES), the player takes on the game's boss, "DOH", a head resembling moai.[6] Once this point is reached, the player no longer has the option to continue after running out of lives, making this segment more difficult. The game is over regardless of the outcome.


In Japan, the Gamest Awards gave it the Silver Award for being one of the four best games of 1986, along with Taito's own Bubble Bobble, Sega's Fantasy Zone and Tecmo's Rygar.[7]

In Europe, it was reviewed by Clare Edgeley in the December 1986 issue of Computer and Video Games, where she compared it to Pong and Space Invaders in its simplicity and addictiveness. She described Arkanoid as "a lovely game" that is "Fast, colourful, simple and addictive" and concluded it to be a "great little game".[8] It was also commercially successful in arcades. The game appeared at number-three on Euromax's nationwide UK arcade chart in 1987, below Capcom's 1942 at number-one and Westone's Wonder Boy at number-two.[9]

The home versions were also well received. Computer Gaming World stated in 1988 that Arkanoid on the Amiga was "a perfect version of the arcade game ... incredible!"[10] It named the NES version the Best Arcade Translation for the console that year, praising the graphics and play mechanics.[11] The game was reviewed in 1989 in Dragon #144 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 5 out of 5 stars.[12] Compute! named the game to its list of "nine great games for 1989", describing it as "hypnotic, addictive, and fascinating". Along with Breakout, the magazine noted Arkanoid also has elements of Pong and Space Invaders as well as Pac-Man in its use of power-ups.[13]

Arcade screenshot
Reception (computer ports)
Review scores
Publication Scores
AMI C64 CPC Macintosh ST ZX
Computer &
Video Games
8/10[14] 87%[15] 84%[16]
Dragon      [12]
Génération 4 92%[17]
The Games
87% 86% 89% 71%
Entity Award
Gamest Awards Silver Award[7]
Compute! Games of the Year[13]
Computer Gaming World Best Arcade Translation[11]


Cover of the Atari ST version

Arkanoid was ported to the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, BBC Micro, MSX, Atari 8-bit family, Apple II, NES, Amiga, Atari ST, Apple IIGS and IBM PC. A Macintosh version was released in 1987 and a port was released for the Tandy Color Computer 3 in 1989. Computer conversions were published by Imagine. The NES port was packaged with a custom controller.


Arkanoid was followed by a number of direct and indirect sequels. Tournament Arkanoid [19] was released in 1987 exclusively in the United States by Romstar. Unlike the original game, it was developed by Taito America rather than Taito Japan. It is more of a mission-pack sequel than a true sequel, since it has the exact same gameplay as the original Arkanoid and only the levels are different. Revenge of Doh (Arkanoid 2) was released into arcades in 1987. Unlike Tournament Arkanoid, Revenge of Doh is a true sequel to the game, featuring new gameplay mechanics. Arkanoid: Doh It Again and Arkanoid Returns were published in 1997, followed by Arkanoid DS in 2007,.[20]

An Xbox 360 version of Arkanoid, titled Arkanoid Live!, was released on May 6, 2009 on Xbox Live Arcade.[21] A WiiWare version of Arkanoid, titled Arkanoid Plus!, was released in Japan on May 26, 2009, in PAL regions on August 21, 2009 and in North America on September 28, 2009.[22] A version of Arkanoid for the iPhone was released worldwide on August 31, 2009.[citation needed]

The mashup Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders was released in 2017 for iOS and Android.

Arkanoid's world-record score belongs to Zack Hample, who is known for having snagged more than 10,000 baseballs at Major League Baseball games.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "System 16 - Taito Arkanoid Hardware (Taito)". Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  2. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Arkanoid". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 2014-09-19.
  4. ^ "Arkanoid - Videogame by Taito". Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Arkanoid The [Coin-Op] Arcade Video Game by Taito Corp. [Japan]". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 2014-09-19.
  6. ^ "Anime Super Famicom: Arkanoid: Doh It Again". Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  7. ^ a b Gamest, The Best Game 2: Gamest Mook Vol. 112, pp. 6-26
  8. ^ "Arkanoid arcade game review". Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  9. ^ Arcade Action, Computer and Video Games, December 1987
  10. ^ Wagner, Roy (February 1988). "Warped in Space!" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 44. p. 31. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  11. ^ a b Kunkel, Bill; Worley, Joyce; Katz, Arnie (November 1988). "Video Gaming World" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 53. p. 56. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  12. ^ a b Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (April 1989). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (144): 60–68.
  13. ^ a b Gutman, Dan (July 1989). "Nine for '89". Compute!. p. 19. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  14. ^ "World of Spectrum - Magazines". Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  15. ^ "Arkanoid review from Computer + Video Games 102 (May 1990) - Amiga Magazine Rack". Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Arkanoid review from Computer + Video Games 102 (May 1990) - Amiga Magazine Rack". Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  17. ^ "Arkanoid review from Génération 4 3 (Mar - Apr 1988) - Amiga Magazine Rack". Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  18. ^ "The Games Machine - Amiga Magazine Rack". Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  19. ^ Tournament Arkanoid at the Killer List of Videogames
  20. ^ "Arkanoid DS (Nintendo DS)". Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  21. ^ and ivexboxlivearcade/ Arkanoid Live! Game Detail Page Archived May 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine,
  22. ^ "Art Lessons, Auto Racing, and Arcade Action Multiply the Downloadable Fun". Nintendo of America. 28 September 2009. Archived from the original on 2 October 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2009.

External linksEdit