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Five facts you didn’t know about Breakout: with Atari founder and Breakout co-creator, Nolan Bushnell

Blog | 06 June, 2023

It's a big day over here at PortalOne: it's the release week of our latest hybrid game, Atari's Breakout!

To celebrate, we welcomed Nolan Bushnell – founder of Atari, and co-creator of the original Breakout – into our studios to give our community a deeper insight into the creation of the original 1976 smash hit. 

Did you know that Apple’s Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak helped to create it? Or that Breakout was inspired by its predecessor, Pong? Check out the video to hear all about it, or read our transcript. You can also read our interview on GamesBeat with PortalOne’s founders, who were joined by Nolan to talk about the exciting news of PortalOne’s release of Breakout.

Not only that, but in the Season Premiere on Thursday this week, our players will be competing against Nolan in PortalOne's hybrid game of Breakout! Get Ready!

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Right now, I'm gonna give you five different things you probably don't know about Breakout. I know… because I was there!

#1 Breakout was created by Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak

Breakout was created by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. When I wanted to do Breakout, none of my engineers wanted to do it, because they thought paddle games were over. So, I got Steve, and I put him on the night shift, because Wozniak was working at Hewlett Packard at the time. I knew if I put Steve on the night shift that Wozniak would come over. I looked at hiring two Steves, for the price of one.

#2 Breakout was an extremely advanced game in its era

In the early 70s, coin-op games tended to take 150-200 chips, Steve Wozniak did it in less than 50. He was a total savant. I really thought that it was an amazing effort. 

#3 Breakout was inspired by its predecessor Pong

Atari started with Pong. But we knew that a one-player game, if it was properly done, would be great. I wanted a game that sort of was a cleanup. How do you get rid of things and make the space tidy? I thought bricks could work – it turned out that I was right. And it became a major hit.

#4 Breakout was wildly successful when it was originally released

People ask me about the success of Breakout. When we introduced it, it was number five in the United States, and number four in Japan. The following year, it was number four in the US and number three in Japan. That's a really good score!

#5 Breakout still inspires how games are made today

But one of the amazing things about Breakout is that it's almost 50 years old, and yet it's still loved by everybody. It's kind of got timeless gameplay – it's fun. It's still relevant. I'm very proud of it. If you really love Breakout like I do, check it out on the PortalOne app. If you don't love it, check it out anyway and you will!

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