Kaboom! is an Atari 2600 game designed by Larry Kaplan and published by Activision in 1981. It was also released for the Atari 5200 and the Atari 8-bit family of computers. A 16-bit remake for the Super Nintendo was in the works at some point, but the game was never released. In the late 1990s, a keychain version of the game was created by Tiger Electronics. Kaboom! was originally going to be an Atari-produced port of their 1978 arcade game Avalanche to the Atari 2600. Activision's game was well-received and successful commercially, selling over one million cartridges by 1983.
Gameplay in Kaboom! consists of using a paddle controller to catch bombs dropped by the 'Mad Bomber' with a set of three buckets. Points are scored for every bomb caught, extra buckets (maximum of three) are awarded at every 1,000 points, and one bucket is lost every time a bomb is missed. As the game progresses, the 'Mad Bomber' traverses the top of the screen much more erratically, dropping bombs at increasingly higher speeds, making each of the seven higher levels more difficult. When Kaboom! was originally sold, anyone who scored above 3,000 points could send Activision a picture of his or her television screen to receive membership in the Activision Bucket Brigade and a Bucket Brigade patch. While the 'Mad Bomber' is dropping bombs, he has an unhappy face. If the player misses and a bomb is dropped, he smiles while the bombs on the screen explode. The game manual mentions that something 'special' will happen after 10,000 points. When the player reaches that score threshold, the 'Mad Bomber''s face appears surprised/upset, even if the player drops a bomb.
The highest score possible is 999,999, which can be accomplished in 2 hours 46 minutes with perfect continuous play. The game ends with bombs frozen in mid air and the buckets disappearing.
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