Looking at the recent discussions about old DOS games I decided to look back into getting some sort of accessible dos emulation going. In the meantime, while trying to figure out why dos screen readers don't really automatically echo anything I pooled out the various games I have for it, breakout being one of them and after playing it for a while I thought why not remake it for newer operating systems? Well, since I wanted to get back into programming
I decided to go for it and this is the result
The name of the game and the modes are the same because I couldn't really think of anything better. All of the 4 modes are in, gameplay is pretty much unchanged. Compared to the original it has 15 walls vs 13 as well as background music, plus a few more audio queues to show how well you're scoring. I also changed the bust through mode a bit so you can get some bonus points if you can aim well so you can expect to get higher scores than in the original.
There is a readme included if you've never played the original breakout before. Also, if you find any bugs, let me know, it's my first programming project in a few years and it's my first program in pure basic so there's probably something I've missed. Anyways, hope you have as much fun playing as I did making this.

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Hi there,

I just downloaded this file, and there's no read me. Am I missing something? I have no idea how to play this game. lol

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Hi Pitermach,

I have the same problem. I never played this game but can't find any readme.

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Right there is none. I did figure out, by trial and error, how to play the game, and it is kind of fun. I have no idea the best strategy for squeeze play though. The other 3 modes I'm not too bad at, especially clear the wall, which I managed to play till level 9. I'm actually not sure how you get a game over on clear the wall.

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Right, definitely no readme. xD

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Hi, I couldnt find a readme too.
Can you maybe explain what the game is about and how to play this game?
Greetings Moritz.

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7 (edited by pitermach 2015-01-17 11:02:55)

Note to self: If you absolutely want to release something at 1 in the morning, at least make sure to include every file. I forgot to select the readme when creating the archive and that was the result. Get it again from the link in post 1, the readme is *really* included now. smile

@Key: There is no way to get a game over in the original clear the wall, or at least I haven't seen one. This being said maybe having a limit on how many times you can miss in a level may be a good idea, maybe 20 or 30... thoughts?

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Hello pitermach,
very good game! I really enjoyed playing it. it is very symple but very adicting! I hope to play other remake of pcs dos games by you!
If you didn't remake this game for modern windows, I couldn't have a chance to enjoy playing it

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I downloaded this but 7zip gave me about 60 or so messages about unsupported compression formats, then when I tried to run breakout exe I was told it wasn't a 32 bit application.

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I am happy you made an update to my game. However when I tried to unpack it with 7z I got 70 errors and the read me file was 0 bytes.
I know 7z has the ability to make zip files which I often use myself.
In the US I think zip is more universaly used than 7z.
We made Breakout for DOS and a screen reader in 1998 and a DOS/Windows self voicing version in 1999.
Here is the instruction for the screen reader version:
SMASH! POW! CRUNCH! Is your hand/ear coordination up
to demolishing wall after wall of objects? Breakout brings back
the nostalgia of early video gaming days but adds today's
Who ever said life was fair  never played Breakout!

                           Produced by
                    PCS Games
                           Written by
                           Carl Mickla
                            Sounds by
                           Phil Vlasak
                           Version 1.0
                         Copyright 1998

Twenty two years ago Atari released the original Breakout video
for their 2600 home game machine. P C S has taken the Breakout
concept and adapted it for game players who are visually impaired.
The concept is to shoot a ball into layers of different materials
causing  them to break and disappear.

            Getting Started:
This game was written for the DOS included with Windows 95 and 98.
This is a DOS game and works best if you are in DOS using a DOS screen reader and hardware synthesizer.
To install from Windows:
1. From the CD which contains the game hit enter on
INSTALL Breakout 98.bat
This will install your game in the "C:\Breakout 98" folder
2. Exit to the MS-DOS prompt
3. type:
CD "c:\Breakout 98"
Then hit the enter key.
4. Type breakout
Then hit the enter key.
This will start the game.

To install from DOS:
1. From the CD which contains the game hit enter on
INSTALL Breakout 98.bat
This will install your game in the "C:\Breakout 98" folder
2. type: CD "c:\Breakout 98"
then hit the enter key.
3. Type breakout
then hit the enter key.
This will start the game.

You first get the title screen, then the sound setting.
You can use the up and down arrow keys to review the sound choices
then hit enter to choose one.
The Sound Settings section below has more details on changing your

Instructions on the games:
Hit enter at the INSTRUCTIONS choice in the main menu to read
this instruction file.  You can read the file and pause at each
screen, then hit any key to continue.  You can hold down the
CONTROL   key and hit the BREAK or c key to get out of this
document at
any time.   At the end of the instructions, you go back to the main
menu so you
can then play the games.

Each game is played by one player at a time.
In order to play a game you use the up and down arrow keys to
review the games, then choose one by hitting enter on the game

Imaginary graphics:
Since this game was written for the blind it contains no costly and
elaborate graphics that slow down game play.
You will have to imagine the following screen layout:
You are standing on a moving belt at the bottom of the screen.  To
your left and right are two spring mattresses.  In front of you is
a wall made out of several layers of breakable materials such as
glass bricks.
When the game starts, you will be traveling left and right on the
belt between the two spring barriers and you will hear a 'Boing
sound when you hit one of the spring barrierss. At the start of the
turn you travel from the left barrier to the right, and on the
second turn you travel from the right barrier back to the left.
As you travel left and right you will hear quieter 'clicking'
sounds from your PC speaker. The clicking represents a sound
bounced off each object as you pass it. When you throw the ball and
knock an object out, the pitch of the click sound rises at that
point in the wall, representing a hole in that layer of objects.
You press the Space bar, enter key or up arrow to shoot
the ball. As you smash out the objects and break through layers in
the wall, , you will hear  a faster and faster sound of them

The objective in all of the games is to score the highest possible
number of points, or to score more points than your opponent.
Points are scored by hitting the ball into the rows of objects.
You can shoot three balls maximum between 'Boing' barriers. If you
try to shoot more, you will get an 'empty shooter sound' and not be
able to hit objects until the next 'Boing' barrier.
Whenever you break through the last layer of objects the
game will play a 'cheer sound' give you your score and the next
wall of objects will be set up.
Each game includes thirteen walls of objects starting with glass
bricks, and ending with drips.  As you  break through each layer in
a wall the sound of the objects will speed up and your movement
back and forth will speed up.
When you finish with the last wall and get your score, the game
will compare that score with the highest score previously reached.
If you beet the highest score, the game will tell you to type in
your name and hit enter.
This will be saved so you or your opponent can try to top it.

Breakout contains the following four game variations:
The objective is to break through walls as quickly as possible with
the least amount of balls used.
Each wall contains nine layers of objects with seven objects wide.
If you knock through the nine layers of objects a new wall will
appear. You must break through thirteen walls to end the game.
The point value in this game is determined by the object position,
as follows:
The center object equals 3 points.
The object on either side of the center equals 2 points.
The next object on either side equals 1 point.
The object next to the barrier equals 0 points.
You get bonus points added for each layer broken through.
To your score,  you add 0 for the first layer and 8 for the
ninth layer. so you get from 3 points to 11 points for each center
Each wall of objects is worth a maximum of 63 points.
The maximum attainable score for BUST THROUGH is 819.

The goal is to clear all the objects in a  wall.
The walls are seven objects wide by nine deep.
the score fore breaking each object is 1 point.
you get minus 2 points for a miss.
So you need to knock out 63 objects to get through to the next
The maximum attainable score for clear the wall is 819.

The objective  is to bust through the wall before the barriers
When the game begins, the play field contains  walls fifteen
objects wide and nine levels deep.
Once Squeeze Play begins, the walls shrink by one at each turn
between the 'Boing' barriers until it reaches  0 and you get a
crushing sound. New objects are exposed to  the play field at a
progressively faster rate.
Because you only have 15 turns before the wall squeezes shut, and
you need to knock out nine objects to get through, you can only
miss five times.
You get 1 point for the first object knocked out in a layer.  So
your maximum score for each layer is . 1 to 9 points
you get minus 1 for each additional knocked out in a layer
Your maximum score per wall is 45.
The maximum score for Squeeze Play is 585.

the objective is to break through the wall before the wall snaps
apart. It starts with 7 objects wide and stretches to 18 when it
snaps. Just before it snaps, you will get two warning sounds at
each end.
You get 1 point for the first object knocked out in a layer.  So
your maximum score for each layer is  1 to 9 points
you get minus 1 for each additional knocked out in a layer
Your maximum score per wall is 45.
The maximum score for STRETCH to BREAKING is 585.

If you complete the game through thirteen walls you will get a
number of rating points as shown below:
Level 0 OOPS
Level 1 FAIR
Level 2 GOOD
Level 3 ACE
Level 4 PRO
Level 5 STAR
Level 6 [wow]!
Level 7 BEST

Quit the game:
Press the escape key to return to the game menu.

When playing any of the Breakout games, your best bet is to
work your way out through the right or left corner of the play
field. The corners seem to be the easiest points at which to
establish a "groove".
Be prepared for you and the ball to move at a faster speed when it
hits the
objects in the walls. You can miss a lot of shots simply by not
being prepared.
Don't panic when the ball reaches the last layers of the wall.
at this point all you need is a little more concentration, and a
finer touch on shooting. In time you'll have no trouble at all
hitting the
target when the game speeds up.
Learn to anticipate when to shoot the ball which is going to be
where you shot it on the last turn. Anticipation can
be a key factor, particularly when the game gets near the last
When the ball is traveling at high speed, you
won't always have time to react and shoot the ball at the right
object, but you can shoot up to three times per turn, so you can
create a wider hole in the wall with repeated shots.
Each wall is more difficult to clear than the one before it, and
each layer adds
even more difficulty. As you progress through the game you'll
encounter objects
that you have to hit more than once to break, and even some objects
can't be
broken at all.
If your going to get a high score in Bust Through, you have got to
get good at
aiming the ball at the center of the wall.
At every hit, the ball moves faster and keeping track of the center
of the wall when you are moving at faster speeds isn't easy.
PCS Games is not responsible for your being fired when you are
caught playing these games for hours at work!

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@dark: I can't say I'm having this problem. The file should be around 4 mb and it extracted fine over here, although I am using windows 7 64 bit but I don't know why that should stop a file from extracting.

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The only reason I can think of for the archive failing to extract for some of you is that I'm using the LZMA2 algorithm Try to update your 7Zip and extract again, if it still doesn't work maybe you got a corrupted download.

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I'm using jZip and the file extracted fine.

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, that did it. I went and downloaded the latest version 9.20 from  http://www.7-zip.org/ and it extracted fine.

I was using 7zip previously, but likely a much older version of the program sinse I can't remember when I last updated it, and I don't mind updating sinse I'm a big fan of 7zip.

I'll now go and check the readme and give the game a try.

@Phil, sounds like your having the same issue I was. Try grabbing the latest 7zip from the above site.

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Yeah I was using an older 7Zip too.
I was able to extract the breckout game fine with the newer 7Zip.
I tried it and it works great on my Vista 32 bit computer.
I don't know how you made it.
It saves me the time and energy to do the same.
I'd like to post it to the PCS games site under free games.
The only things I would change is to add the Breakout theme song and zip it up using 7Zip but in the traditional .zip format.
[email protected]
[email protected]

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@Pitermach, nice game, I've given it a try now. the sounds and music were extremely good, and I liked how the reaction test got sort of extreme in terms of where to fire to hit the walls. My only cryticism is the game really isn't that much like breakout beyond you hitting walls. In breakout you had a bat and bounced a ball around pong style, and the hole point of the game was to direct it to hit the wall. For an idea, try Rebound from Gamevial, their own futuristic version of breakout, complete with some extras like powerups etc, (it's a flash audiogame but entirely accessible with sapi output and full audio).

Giving you full directional control and testing your reactions with a moving shooter just isn't in any sense the same sort of challenge breakout had.

I don't know if this was from Phil's original game or not. I'd therefore suggest you change the name to something more reflective of the game's gameplay. Wall shot, Block blaster, Target break, Shoot out (though that actually sounds more like a football game), something like that ie, something that is a little more reflective of what you do than indicative of the original breakout game, sinse to me "breakout" means bouncing a ball around an arena and trying to catch it on my bat, not accurate shooting.

Accuracy tracking or game stats might be nice too, sinse with the viewpoint moving at such a ridiculous speed and the very nice variety of sounds for block destruction I wasn't always sure when I missed or hit a blank column by mistake.

Either way, good job, and nice to see a good old arcade game again for a change.

Btw, do you have a website for your games? And how about a developer/company name? The db is having some shenanigans at the moment but when it's working this will be getting an entry (along with slender and angel gift and quite a few other things), so I'd like to know what you want to be called big_smile.

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Yes, pitermach's version is exactly like the old PCS dos game.
As you break through the bricks you hear a higher pitch in the sound so you know that you've hit a part you've hit before.
I know the original breakout requiered you to move back and forth along the bottom to catch the bouncing ball, but we thought at the time, that was going to be too dificult for most blind people to do.
Breakout was a big hit with young kids and for some blind people with physical disabilities as you only had to hit the space bar to play.
Petermach, I am willing to send or attach some of these games if you wish to convert them too:

A 2 Z Key Search,
Arthur's Quest,
Car Racing Circuit,
Duck Hunt,
Fox And Hounds
Haze Maze,
Mind Puzzles,
Mobius Mountain,
Panzers In North Africa,
Red Dragon Kick Boxing Challenge,
Snipe Hunt,
Space Invaders.

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First of all, I'm glad you're enjoying the game.
@Phil Sure, if you want to host it on your website, that's fine. I'm now working on an update which plays the breakout theme, but also has the option to use the original sounds. I managed to break something in the process of adding that yesterday, but once I get that fixed We can take care of it.

As far as porting other games, it's definitely not out of the question. It's also very likely we'll be able to get an accessible talking DOS solution going thanks to mess once I can get someone sighted to help me configure the emulated machine's bios properly and install freedos. Mess can emulate not only the Sound Blaster 16, but they also recently added Dectalk PC emulation so I think there's a big possibility getting something going will not be very hard.

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That would be great if MESS would work. Last time I knew of someone trying it several months ago, it didn't work very well when trying to emulate a PC and a DECtalk PC.

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@Pitermach, sounds nice, both the talking dos emulator and the convertions. As well as Phil's games, there are a number of other great dos titles kicking around, games like fallthru and drone, not to mention some more modern, console window efforts like world of legends and eamon deluxe, ---- though my only concern is, if the system is using a dos screen reader voice, how does it sound? I know a lot of those old dos  voices were pretty robotic by modern standards and that would be a shame for such a richly described game as fallthru.

Getting back to breakout any thoughts on both your company/developer name, or on perhaps changing the breakout game as I said, plus how about stats?

@Phil, I did get how the sounds work, but I found that I wasn't always absolutely certain when I missed or which column I hit, which is why some tracking stats would be nice, to get an idea of how I was performing and thus improve my playing style.

As to the game, one switch control  is no bad thing it is true, my one issue is that as I said sinse the bat and ball were so integral to the original   breakout, remove them and you have a different game which is why I wondered if it needs a name change.

Also, I have to beg to differ on the "not possible in audio" for the bat and bouncing ball, although Gamevial's Rebound is the only really successful example I know (ken downy's wrecking ball had possibilities but was a little too chaotic with it's huge number of keyboard keys and complex bat control).

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Hi, I still remember the game from gamewiel, I think it was called rebound wasn't it?
Regarding the brickbreaker games, on the mobile market are a huge number of different brick Breaker games, most of them also contain special items like bombs, widening the bat, making the bat smaller or cullor bombs witch will eliminate all the bricks of that cullor from the board.
Greetings Moritz.

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22 (edited by Phil 2015-01-18 13:03:31)

The original PCS Breakout used 8 bit 22k sound files.
Some modern sound cards will not play 8 bit sounds.
I use Gold Wave for converting them to 16 bit. I also try to find the original sounds such as the Breakout theme song which is a 16 second edited version of the Seinfeld TV show theme.
You can grab it at,
In the game we played bo1000.wav that had a voice over saying the game credits, and bot.wav at the end with out the voice-over.
  I think because of the difference in game play we called it PCS Breakout rather than just Breakout but most people were happy to play the game even with the different game mechanics.
Later on we developed pcs space invaders which required you to move left and right and shoot the moving invaders, an action just like the one in the original Breakout.

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OK, I would like to say, pretty great game. I love It.
But, what do You say to create another walls (sounds of that)?

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@Simber, breakout style games are really popular, but as far as I know there aren't that many around that are accessible, which is odd sinse it's a style of game that could be done easily in audio. Rebound from Gamevial is about the best example, and that does have power ups like bat stretchers, multiple balls and extra lives, and on later levels even power downs like bat shrinkers and killers that kill you if you pick them up (avoiding grabbing those, especially with a stretched bat can be quite tricky).

Rebound is unfortunately the only serious example of a Breakout game in audio I can think of, sinse as I said Ken Downny's wrecking ball always seemed a bit chaotic to me. It actually seems odd there aren't more, sinse the bat and ball mechanics aren't really that more difficult in audio than something like Jim's Pong or Philip's old showdown game, you just need sounds for when your ball hits the different bricks, and possibly some sort of scan to tell you roughly where the remaining bricks are once you've destroyed a few, though this might not be necessary (rebound gets on fine without it).
There is also Yukio's Laser breakout, but that  is more a strange turn based battle version, and other than breaking bricks doesn't really have much to do with the original game at all, though it is fun if you like turn based battles.

@Phil, I can imagine a similar space invaders game to breakout with those mechanics. I'm not saying the game isn't bad, as I said I enjoyed playing it, especially the fast reactions and I can definitely see the point of one switch gameplay, I just personally am not convinced it accurately reflects the original breakout concept sinse a key part of that is the bat and ball mechanics. Imagine if someone created a Packman audiogame, where instead of running around the mazes the player had to continually hit the space bar to move along in one direction, hit up arrow to grab dots when they heard the sound and then stop when they heard a ghost sound. The game may or may not be a good game, may have eating dots and getting killed by ghosts, but missing the need to navigate the maze sort of misses a major element of what made Packman Packman.

"Pcs Breakout" would be an option, but I'd still personally prefer it had a name that only slightly related to breakout as I said.

I do admit though, I am possibly more of a stickler for this sinse I do have quite fond memories of the original breakout game from the 80's, so to me breakout without the bouncing ball sort of misses the point, likely people who are less serious about accuracy wouldn't have this niggle.

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Thanks for the higher quality intro.
As far as the other sounds, the ones I have are actually 11khz, probably because I got them from the floppy release. If there are indeed higher quality versions than the 11K ones I have then I can put them in.
Meanwhile, version 2 is up. The link is still unchanged. In addition to the classic sounds mode, it also has screen reader support, and you can now lose the clear the wall mode.

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