Codex Gamicus

DX-Ball is a freeware computer game for the PC first released in 1996 by Michael P. Welch. The game, an updated version of an earlier series of Amiga games known as Megaball, is patterned after classic ball-and-paddle arcade games such as Breakout and Arkanoid. It became a massive cult classic in the Microsoft Windows freeware gaming community during the late 1990s. A level editor was made available as well.


The game is basically a Breakout clone: you bounce a ball off a paddle at the bottom hitting different color blocks on the top of the screen. Hitting all the blocks results in completing the level and going to the next. There are 50 levels to complete. Unlike Breakout, however, is the inclusion of powerups other than extra balls. When you hit a brick, there is a chance that a powerup will float downwards towards the paddle, and can be picked up by touching it with the paddle. Certain powerups have positive effects, while others have negative, making it important to try and collect the beneficial powerups while avoiding the detrimental powerups. There are more than 12 power-ups, four of them being either good or bad. For example, if you were to get the fast ball power-up. the ball will simply gain speed. The Ball also gradually picks up speed as the game continues. Some good power-ups include the Zap Brick which reveals the hidden bricks and also makes the unbreakable bricks breakable, the grab paddle, which is able to catch the ball and aim it at any brick that you want to hit, and also the Extra Life, whose powers give you an extra life at the cost of most of your power-ups, and Level Warp, which lets you advance to the next level.


Three sequels, DX-Ball 2 (1998), Rival Ball (2001) and Super DX-Ball (2004), have been released. Some of these are not freeware like the original.

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