November 15, 2012 at 10:35 am

EchoBreakout: Destroy Beats With Your Ball

Even if you weren’t around for the original Breakout videogame for Atari, in which the player controls a horizontal bar in order to bounce a ball against bricks in order to destroy them, ideally clearing the board and moving on, you just might remember the similar Brick game from the first iPods. It’s one of the original greats, and people still play it today. People are weird.

EchoBreakout, available for older versions of Mac OS X (see below) or any computer with the Love2D videogame framework installed, works much the same way, except each brick corresponds to a segments of a song.

echobreakoutAs you break the blocks with the ball by bouncing it with your paddle, the corresponding portions of the song plays, giving this version a considerable edge over the vintage version. The resulting effect sounds like you’re breaking apart a song bit by bit.

Brian Fife and Jim Fingal built EchoBreakout at Music Hack Day Boston using Creative Commons-licensed songs from the Free Music Archive, the  Remix Library from The Echo Nest (publisher of, and the Love2D framework.

This hack took home the Free Music Archive’s prize for best hack using its music, which is great, but we’d love to be able to play it other music with it too — not because we don’t love the Free Music Archive, but because the game is simply so much fun, if you’re into such music geekery.

Before you download the OS X version, however, be forewarned: All Mac operating systems after Leopard (10.5) lack support for the “classic environment” required to play the Mac version of this game.

If you want to play it on newer Macs, you’ll need to install the Love2D engine first and follow these directions, which are a bit tricky if you’re unfamiliar with running stuff from the command line.