Clever KBRD is a breakout where you bounce balls with your keyboard skills

indie arcade game KBRD by Connor Aitken
(Image credit: Connor Aitken)

I'm a big fan of breakout-style games. You know, ones where you hit a little ball with a paddle and it breaks the blocks? I like those. They are good. One of the first games I ever remember buying was Super Break Out on the Game Boy. 

Enter developer Connor Aitken, a fairly new game design graduate, who had an oddly clever idea and made a prototype for us all to enjoy: KBRD. The basic idea is that you've got a little pixel ball, but instead of a paddle you make a paddle using any combination of two keys on your keyboard. So you might stretch between Q and P for a big wide paddle bounce, or broadly redirect using something like P and Z, or W and C for a perfect angle towards a block. New blocks pop up over time, as do little yellow bonus balls. 

While KBRD is still a prototype, it's available to play for free. It's by no means a complete game, truly just a prototype, but the appeal of the concept is clear. Any game that relies on the unique affordances of its input device will be at bare minimum interesting, at least for me. Twitter already abounds with ideas on how to improve, develop, and put unique spins on the concept: A cooldown on using letters rapidly, forcing you to use every letter before using one again, and the like. Cooldowns, special items—you get the drift.

You can find KBRD on, where you can play it in a browser. You can find more by developer Connor Aitken on and on Twitter. Go encourage him to keep making games because I like this idea and I want there to be more like it.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.