Bionic Breakthrough

Bionic Breakthrough
Company: Atari
Model #:
Paul Donaldson
Year: 1984
The only game written specifically for the Mindlink


Back in the mid 80's Atari was on top on the video gaming world, so they had alot of money to sink into product development.  Atari experimented with all kinds of strange controllers and systems that never made it to production, the Mindlink was one of those controllers.  The Mindlink was a headband that player wore on his head and plugged into the joystick port.  The idea was that the Mindlink's sensors would pick up any facial movements or muscle twitches the player would make.  Atari actually said that the Mindlink read the player's thoughts (sure it did...).  The problem was that the Mindlink didn't work very well in initial test runs, and even when it did work players would complain of headaches and dizziness from twitching their face all day.  A cute idea, but ultimately a failed one.


Bionic Breakthrough was one of only two games written to be used with the Mindlink controller.  Bionic Breakthrough is really just Super Breakout with a nice title screen.  It's unknown if this was just supposed to be a demo to show what the Mindlink could do, or if it was actually a standalone product.  Before the game starts there is a screen where the word "Mindlink" slowly scrolls to the bottom, this is for callibration.  On this screen the player can move the text block left and right to make sure the Mindlink is working properly.  After that it's onto Super Breakout.  Regular old Super Breakout...


Atari was known for being an innovator in video games, but you've got to wonder who thought that this was a good idea.  Why would players want to sit and look like they're having a facial spasm, when they could just use a normal joystick instead?  Maybe the allure of being able to drink a Coke or scratch yourself while playing a game clouded their judgment?  Either way, the Mindlink will go down in history as one of the strangest controllers ever developed.


Version Cart Text Description
6-22-84 Mind Link 6-22 Early version?
?-??-84   Later version?


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