Alleyway is a Breakout-themed game that features Mario. It was developed and published by Nintendo. The game was released first in Japan in 1989, in North America later that year, and in Europe in 1990. The game was then re-released in 2011 for the Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console. The game was mostly compared to a game similar to the Breakout series, Arkanoid. Fans also took both games as a rivalry. Alleyway has been ported to the Game Boy. The game is usually rendered in black and white, but the bonus stages are colored and have the collection of Mario shapes.
The player takes control of a paddle and a ball, which they use to destroy all of the breakable blocks in the playfield. Once every block have been destroyed, the player advances to the next level, which features the same block structure as the first one, except there are three different kinds of gimmicks that add a bit of a challenge to the levels.
- Gimmick 1: There are no gimmicks here; the bricks remain in their place.
- Gimmick 2: Depending on the level the player is on, the bricks move horizontally.
- Gimmick 3: After a few bricks are destroyed, the row of bricks push down towards the paddle. In addition, a few extra bricks will be revealed at the top of the screen, as well as some steel bricks.
Every fourth level is a bonus level. They feature a variety of sprite pieces from Super Mario Bros.. Additionally, the ball can break the bricks without having to bump around the field. There is also a timer that gives the player a total of 99 seconds. Breaking all of the bricks within the time limit rewards bonus points. Once a bonus level is complete, the rounds are repeated, but with a new set of bricks.
Below is a list of all bonus levels in this game.
Alleyway received mostly mixed and negative reviews. Mean Machines gave the game a 33/100%, criticizing its repetitiveness and stating that it does not have much to offer when compared to the original Breakout. They also claimed that players would be easily bored after completing a few levels.
There were four reviewers from Electronic Game Monthly that compared the game to Arkanoid, giving scores such as 6/10, 6/10, 3/10, and 5/10. For the two that gave the two lowest scores, their complaint was the lack of enhancement over the format the original Breakout had. On the contrary, the two reviewers who gave the score of 6/10 stated that it was a game perfectly designed for the Game Boy, despite its long length.