Catcher video game

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Kaboom! (1981) is a popular early catcher.

A catcher is a genre of video game where the player's goal is to maneuver an object around in order to "catch" moving objects; this usually takes the form of a character on the ground catching objects falling from the sky. The genre is sometimes called an "Avalanche" game which refers to one of the first catcher games ever made. A variant of the catcher is one where you try to bounce the falling objects in order to ricochet them toward a goal which is very similar to a ball and paddle or pinball game. Because the catcher is such a specific genre, most game databases don't track it directly and often place catcher games in the blanket action genre, or, if they use a paddle controller, a ball and paddle genre.

The mechanic of catching falling objects is the opposite of a mechanic found in most fixed shooters where you're trying to avoid falling objects (e.g., bombs). In fact, Space Invaders, the first fixed shooter, was released the same year as Avalanche.


The first catcher I ever saw was Stickybear Basket Bounce for the Atari 8-bit around 1988 at a friend's house. Although I found his Atari 65XE amazing, the primitive game play itself didn't impress me all that much. After that, I saw a handful of other catchers throughout my life, including owning Kaboom! in the early 1990s, but I've never really found any of the games in the genre very interesting.


Because of their simplicity, catchers are a fairly primordial genre which showed up early in the evolution of video games. After Pong became a hit in 1972, the game was turned on its side and simulated gravity and rebounding was added to get Rebound in 1974. In 1976, Breakout introduced targets to hit with the ball, and, in 1977, both targets and simulated gravity were joined together in Circus. However, all of these games focused on tracking and rebounding a single object. The first pure catcher, the one that introduced many falling objects that the player simply had to catch, rather than rebound them, is probably Avalanche released by Atari in 1978. A catcher game with a more concrete theme was Catch the Ball released in 1979. However, the first game to really popularize the genre was Kaboom! in 1981.

Despite this early success, the simplicity of genre prevented it from seeing much growth in the more powerful third generation of home consoles, so the genre was relegated to weaker handheld LCD games. In the early 1980s, the genre helped define Nintendo's Game & Watch series as four of its first ten games were catchers: Toss-Up, Fireman Fireman, Helmet, and Parachute, and several other manufacturers would follow their lead with catcher LCD games.


This is a list of catchers that are important to me. For all games in this genre, see the category.

Title Released Developer
Avalanche 1978-??-?? Atari
Garfield (LCD game) 1991-??-?? Konami
Hogan's Alley (trick shot game) 1984-06-12 Nintendo
Kaboom! 1981-??-?? Activision
Stickybear Basket Bounce 1983-??-?? Optimum Resource