The Game: In this bizarre and uniquely Odyssey2 take on Atari’s Breakout, you battle either the computer or a second player in your attempts to blast through a wall – or repair it. You take alternating turns with your opponent; one round, you’re playing the game the more traditional way and controlling the paddle at the bottom of the screen, trying to bounce the ball toward four layers of colorful blocks. But in the next round, you’re controlling the four androids within those layers of blocks whose duty is to repair damage done by your opponent’s paddle. (Magnavox, 1980)
Memories: This is one of those examples of a well-worn arcade theme given a new twist by the Odyssey2 game designers. Some of you reading this are probably shaking your heads and thinking, “There they go, ripping off Atari again,” but the repair ‘droids make this a whole new game.
The difference between the two titles on this cartridge is simple: In Blockout!, the repair ‘droids must return to touch the side of the screen after repairing each section of their respective walls; a well-timed and well-aimed attack with the ball can cut that trip short and render that layer of the wall vulnerable for the rest of the round. Breakdown! gives the ‘droids unlimited repair abilities, and is by far the harder variation; if you can get anywhere against the computer in Breakdown!, you are a gaming force to be reckoned with.
Why this wasn’t one of the Challenger Series titles, I don’t know – perhaps because Magnavox didn’t want to give the game a high enough profile to draw a lawsuit.