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Circus Atari was one of many Breakout style games created in the 2nd generation of console gaming.
Players controlled a clown mounted on one end of a seesaw. At the start of the game, another clown comes from the side of the screen. The second clown lands on the other end of the seesaw, which propels the first clown into the air. The object of the game is for the clowns to continually launch each other in the air in order to clear the top of the screen of balloons (multi-colored blocks). Players are able to flip the seesaw around by clicking the paddle's fire button.
Players are offered 8 different types of game variations.
Because of the nature in which the seesaw moves, players must use paddle controllers.