Circus Atari January 1, 1978 By: Atari

Circus Atari Atari 2600 Screenshot Screenshot 1


POP! POP! POP! Pop the balloons and score points. A wall of red, blue, and white balloons will appear at the top of the screen. You must pop balloons by catching a clown on the teeter-totter and bouncing him up to the balloons. Use the controller to move the teeter-totter across the screen to catch the clowns. Each time a clown pops a balloon, the balloon will disappear and you score points.

Each player receives five clowns or turns. If you fail to catch a clown on the teeter-totter he will crash and disappear from the playfield. Press the red controller button and another clown will bounce off the trampoline from the right or left corner of the playfield. After five clowns have crashed the game is over. The clowns may land on any point of the teeter-totter except where the other clown is sitting, which causes them to crash.

--From the Atari 2600 Circus Atari instruction manual.

Available: 4
Play Circus Atari Now!


An upgrade from Atari 2600's Breakout game; bounce a "clown" around and break the "balloons". This was one of the few games that implemented the Atari's paddle controller.


Circus Atari is a much cooler spin-off of Atari's Breakout game. The concept is basically the same; you bounce your object, in this case a "clown", into a bunch of breakable objects to score points. I say they are "clowns" and "balloons" because if it weren't for the color picture on the box it would just look like stick figures and boxes. Circus Atari differs from Breakout in the way that you bounce the clown in the air. Rather than just having to hit the paddle at the bottom, you are hitting a see-saw and bouncing the clown at the other end into the air. You can bounce the clown faster and higher by catching the clown on the ends of the springboard rather than the middle. The coolest thing about Circus Atari is when you miss the clown, and he splats face first on the floor with his arms and legs twitching. There are different game modes, one which floats bricks in the air that will block you from the balloons, and other versions which will alternate players for a competition.

Currently paddle games only work with PS/2 mice, they will not work with USB mice. However, you can play the second player using the shift keys to move the springboard but it is extremely difficult and frustrating.
Extra Men
Getting a high score will earn you extra lives.
Catch the clown on the ends of the springboard to launch the other clown higher into the air and try to get the clown on top of the balloons so he will pop all the balloons on the top row.
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