Brick Game refers to an umbrella term for a commonly cloned hardware architecture and set of games. It is unknown who was responsible for creating the first Brick Game unit, nor who was responsible for developing the original game software. It is generally believed that the first of these systems begun popping up some time during the 1990s, and are still being manufactured to this day by various manufacturers. An unfinished emulator is currently in development, and is currently usable in Java..
These systems come in just about any shape and size imaginable, as they are all built by several different manufactures. Occasionally, a manufacturer will slightly alter the game engine to either add or remove games. Nonetheless, they are all ultimately built on the same engine, and as such, there are certain features that can determine if you have a Brick Game.
- A monochrome 10x20 LCD screen
- A single action button, with 4 directional buttons (In a similar fashion to an Atari 2600 joystick)
- When first booting up the system, you will be greeted with a message boasting “9999 in-1” as the speaker beeps a tune.
- Games you select are symbolized with letters, which occasionally appear to spin around a 3d axis.
- The game library consists of a large number of Tetris clones, each adding a unique twist to the last
- Several other primitive games, which can vary depending on the system, such as a Breakout clone, Tanks, Snake, Racing, and more.
- A little animated character on the right side of the screen who waves their arms in response to the players gameplay.
- Crude sounds. Some systems can only beep, while others are capable of creating noise, but that’s generally all they’re capable of.
As previously stated, the games on these systems can vary depending on the manufacturer. As such, it's hard to pin down every game ever made for these style of machines. As such, there may be some games absent from the following list. It is also worth noting that, because of the inherent technical limitations, none of these games have any real names (at least on the console. Names can be listed in instruction manuals, but are inconsistent)
- The game that is available on every Brick Game manufactured is a basic clone of Tetris. The player must stack blocks in order to clear lines.
- Another extremely common game to find on these is one featuring several tanks, where the players goal is to shoot down as many enemy tanks as possible to obtain a high score.
- A driving game, in which the player attempts to pass as many cars as possible without crashing in order to obtain a high score.
- A clone of Snake in which the player tries to obtain the randomly placed "fruit" in the playfield without touching a wall or themselves. Rather then continually get longer like you would in Snake, however, the player stops growing after eating only 13 fruits, causing the snake to restart to beginning size, and creating another maze of obstacles. This in turn makes it more of a game of endurance rather then strategy.
- A clone of Breakout, in which the player controls a paddle trying to break through a layer of blocks on the top of the screen. Due to the limited resolution of the screen, however, it's made far easier to get the ball stuck in an endless loop.
- A clone of Frogger, but with much of the variety and difficulty gone.
- Another driving game, except this time the player attempts to guide the car through a narrow, winding road.
- A shooting game in which pixels constantly close in on you from the top of the screen, and you must stop them from reaching the bottom.
- Another shooting game similar to the one above, except with the added twist of filling in holes to complete lines like in Tetris.
- Simon Says, where the player must select the correct direction key depending on what "Simon" says.
- A combination of both Breakout and the previous shooting games in which you shoot at a predefined block of pixels (which can shoot one of it's pixels at you) without getting shot.
- A soccer-like game, where you attempt to get your ball past the moving guard to the top side of the screen. This game is practically impossible to lose, however, as all you need to do to win is hold down the action button.
There are two distinct versions of the system. The Russian system and the Chinese/Asian system, with the Asian being the most common today. They are undoubtedly the same machine, and play all of the same games with the same menu system and screen. The only noticeable difference between the two is their batteries, with the Russian system using three with loud sound, while the Chinese uses only two with quieter sound.