[Retro Game Review] Kaboom! (Atari 2600)

I’m not a player of modern video games, which is likely why I’m so soul-crushingly unpopular on this video game review site disguising itself as a haven offering “a view for everything.” Aside from not being able to afford modern systems, when I have found myself playing modern games, I find them to be too complex for their own good. So much detail is focused on graphics and intricate storylines that it almost seems irrelevant whether or not the game is fun or not. They make me nostalgic for older games which didn’t possess the eye-popping, visual “wow factor” of modern systems and had to get by on simply being fun.

Luckily for cry-baby cynics like me, hell bent on griping about the horrors of modern technology, games like Kaboom!, a staple of the Atari 2600, will always be around.


The plot line of Kaboom! is as simple as simple gets. A “mad bomber” is dropping an endless stream of bombs into a desolate area and it is up to you, the player, to move unmanned buckets back-and-forth to catch the bombs before they hit the ground. You start with three buckets (plus an additional one once you’ve accumulated 1,000 points), loosing one each time one of the bombs hits the ground. The game ends once all buckets are lost.

Kaboom! is so simplistic, a positive review could be written in two simple words: “it’s fun.” But I, being the smug fucker that I am, wouldn’t feel right without elaborating so as to dazzle you, the reader, with my decadent linguistic skills.

The game is absolutely hypnotic. The process starts slow and progressively picks up speed with each series of drops. As the game gets faster it becomes consistently harder until it is eventually almost impossible to blink. For the moments you are playing, nothing in this world is more important than protecting the empty wasteland of the game this bomb dropping psychopath is so dead set on destroying.

While the game is plenty enjoyable to play alone, if your fortunate enough to have friends (or a singular friend, as was the case with me), it evokes even more pleasure to play, as one can kill endless amounts of time trying to out duel his or her companion, without even so much as looking at a clock to realize you’ve been playing for nearly seven hours. Had I ever bothered to get a girlfriend I’m sure I likely would have stood her up for many a date.

The hypnotic draw of the game also proves to be it’s lone weakness. As many of you can likely attest to, anytime you get deeply entranced into a game, there’s always some wisenheimer who gets their chuckles by deliberately walking in front of the TV while your playing and sarcastically quipping “whoops!” In dealing with a game that requires so much concentration, a violent jolt back into reality can be rather unpleasant, and keeping your emotions in check can prove rather difficult.

Thus, if you’re in eighth grade and your ultra-religious mother is responsible for pulling the timeless blocked vision gag, you may be tempted to yell out an insult along the lines of “get out of the god damn way!” Doing this could prove to be detrimental, as it’s been known to cause month-long groundings from both Kaboom! and WCW Monday Nitro. So be sure to follow the lead of the mad bomber and take your business to an isolated area to be sure to successfully avoid all such conflicts.

Final Words:

People who like detailed stories in their games likely won’t find much to enjoy about Kaboom! as they will spend their time asking questions like “who was responsible for giving this madman an endless supply of bombs?” and “why would he choose to unload his weapons on what is likely the single most desolate location on earth?” If you find yourself inquiring about such topics, I’d advise you to steer clear of the game. Really, you should just steer clear of all places except hell.

But if you are a simple pleasures gamer, there’s really very little to complain about. There’s almost nothing to get into from a technical standpoint when discussing an Atari game that takes place in exactly one location, so just enjoy it because it’s addictive fun. I’ve said on several occasions that Tecmo Super Bowl may as well be the only video game that ever needed to be created. Turns out there’s room for at least one more entry to my very narrow list of essential video games.


  • Simple addictive fun
  • A ton of re-playability
  • A solid way for losers to waste away their weekends


  • Can create angry experiences where one yells at and belittles the theological beliefs of his own mother (sorry mom.)

Final Score: 9.0/10 (Outstanding)

3 thoughts on “[Retro Game Review] Kaboom! (Atari 2600)

  1. I love Kaboom, though I would hardly call it the best Atari 2600 game. I’m more in to Adventure and Pit Fall, but those games are probably too convoluted for you since they feature keys and alligators.

    Good review, though.

  2. You should review Putt-Putt goes to the Circus or whatever that computer game was. It was totally the shit.

  3. Dude, I LOVE this game. I’ve got some combo disc on the playstation 1 and I spent like 50 hours playing this game.

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