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Blockout on the Atari lynx

The player’s perspective is that of looking down into a three-dimensional rectangular pit. Polycube blocks of various shapes appear, one at a time, and fall slowly toward the bottom of the pit. The player can use three buttons to rotate the block around any of the three coordinate axes, and can also maneuver the block horizontally and vertically with a joystick.

Once any part of a block comes to rest on the floor of the pit or in contact with an already-placed cube, it freezes in place and can no longer be moved.

The player can press a button on the joystick to quickly drop a block. Once a solid layer of cubes is formed with no gaps (a “face”), it disappears and all cubes above it drop toward the bottom of the pit to fill the space. Completing multiple faces with a single block awards higher scores, and the player earns a “Block Out” bonus for completely emptying the pit. A set number of faces must be completed in order to end each round.

As the game progresses, the blocks begin to drop faster, the dimensions of the pit change from round to round, and differently-shaped blocks begin to appear. A bonus stage is played after every fifth round, in which the player has 30 seconds to form as many faces as possible in a 2×2 pit. The game ends if the blocks stack up to the top of the pit, with the exception of the bonus stages; in the latter case, the stage ends immediately and the player advances to the next round.

The game allows head-to-head competition between two players, each of whom has their own pit and blocks. When one player completes a face, all the cubes in the opponent’s pit are raised by one level. To win a round, a player must either be the first to complete a set number of faces or must force their opponent’s cubes to stack up to the top of the pit.

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