Avalanche (video game)

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Avalanche - ARC - USA - Cabinet.jpg

Arcade cabinet - USA.

Developer Atari Games
Publisher Atari Games
Published 1978-??-??
Platforms Arcade, Atari 8-bit
Genres Ball and paddle, Catcher, Single-screen
Multiplayer Alternating versus
Distribution Commercial

Avalanche is a catcher video game developed and published by Atari Games for the Arcade in 1978. An Atari 8-bit port was released in 1980, and a homebrew port was made for the Atari 2600. The game was primarily designed and programmed by Dennis Koble and is one of the first, if not the first, catcher game ever made, influencing later titles like Kaboom!. It is also a pioneer of built-in multi-lingual support, featuring English, German, French, and Spanish translations. The display is monochromatic, but uses gels on the screen to simulate color. The cabinet runs on a MOS 6502 CPU.

The objective of the game is to move a stack of shields to prevent falling rocks from reaching the bottom of the screen. You move the shields by rotating an analog dial on the control panel. If a rock hits the bottom of the screen, you get a "miss" and, if you miss too many times, it's game over. As more rocks fall, the number of shields decrease, each shields become narrower, and the rocks begin to fall at an accelerated speed.


Won?No. This game has no ending.

I never played this game when it was popular and only discovered it while researching the history of catcher games. This was the earliest game in the genre I could find, so I wanted to learn more about it. I played it several times, and, while I appreciate it's importance, I didn't find it very enjoyable.


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2 3 1 1 2

Best Version: Arcade


  • The game does a nice job of altering the ball and paddle genre enough to start a new genre.
  • I like the hiss of white noise that grows as you keep from missing; it's a nice way to up the tension. The change in pitch from the large to small stones is also a nice touch.


  • The Atari 8-bit port was outsourced and cheaply produced.


  • The game is horribly repetitive, looks dull, and becomes very difficult to play after only about a minute. There just isn't much fun to be had, of course, in 1978, this was true for most games.


Box Art




Gameplay - Arcade - Emulated.
Gameplay - Arcade - Cabinet.
Gameplay - Atari 8-bit.
Gameplay - Atari 2600 - Homebrew.


Strong female character?FailThere are no characters.
Bechdel test?FailThere are no characters.
Strong person of color character?FailThere are no characters.
Queer character?FailThere are no characters.


Role Staff
Designer, Programmer (Arcade) Dennis Koble
Porter (Atari 8-bit) Dennis Koble


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