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Avalanche

This early Atari title wasn’t exactly the black-and-white equivalent of a Swiss Alps nightmare, but it was the closest a video game could come in 1978.

At the top of the screen were several rows of rocks, which could drop at any second. Your task was to manoeuvre your paddles underneath the rocks, catching them before they hit the bottom of the screen.

With its rotating paddle control, Avalanche played like a game of Breakout in reverse – this time, the blocks were trying to clobber you!

As the game went on, the number of paddles under your control dropped, and the rocks began falling faster. To make matters even worse, the later rocks were also smaller, forcing some deft wrangling of the paddle control to keep from missing any.

The concept was entertaining and often challenging, but Avalanche didn’t have the impact of other Atari titles like Pong and Asteroids.

The game never made it to home arcades, but Activision’s bomb-dropping Kaboom! for the Atari 2600 was a fine substitute.

Like many of its contemporaries, Avalanche has been pretty much lost to the ages, surviving only on PC emulators and in the memories of those who were there when the boulders started dropping.

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