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North American box art for Alleyway
Developer Nintendo R&D 1
Intelligent Systems
Publisher Nintendo
Platform(s) Game Boy, Virtual Console (3DS), Game Boy - Nintendo Switch Online
Release date Game Boy:
Japan April 21, 1989[1]
USA August 1989[2]
Europe September 28, 1990[3]
Virtual Console (3DS):
USA June 6, 2011
Europe June 7, 2011
Australia June 7, 2011
Japan August 3, 2011
South Korea June 1, 2016
Game Boy - Nintendo Switch Online:
USA May 14, 2024[4]
Japan May 15, 2024[5]
Europe May 15, 2024
Australia May 15, 2024[6]
South Korea May 15, 2024
Genre Breakout clone
ESRB:E - Everyone
PEGI:3 - Three years and older
CERO:A - All ages
ACB:G - General
Mode(s) Single player
Nintendo Switch:
Digital download
Game Boy:
Game Pak
Nintendo 3DS:
Digital download
Nintendo Switch:
Game Boy:
Nintendo 3DS:

Alleyway is a video game for the Game Boy. It was developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo in 1989. It is a classic Breakout-style game of the Super Mario franchise that requires the player to clear out all of the breakable blocks above, without allowing the ball to go below the paddle. Mario is shown to be controlling the paddle in both the game's intro and cover art for Western releases.

The game was re-released on the Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console in 2011 and on the Nintendo Switch's Game Boy - Nintendo Switch Online service in 2024 in celebration of the Game Boy's 35th anniversary.[4]


The intro scene of Alleyway where Mario jumps into the paddle

The goal of the game is that the player must control the paddle to break all the remaining bricks in the playfield by using a ball. When the player successfully breaks the breakable bricks, the player moves onto the next level. In the next level, there is the same block structure as from the previous level. The main difference is that there are three different types of patterns that make the levels challenging, though using the same level.

  • Normal Block Screen: Nothing at all. The bricks simply stay in place.
  • Scrolling Block Screen: The rows of bricks move either left or right depending on the level the player is in.
  • Advancing Block Screen: The rows of bricks push down towards the paddle after a few bricks are destroyed. Additionally, the top of the screen will sometimes either reveal more bricks for the player to destroy with the same brick pattern; or the steel bricks the player cannot break.

Every fourth round the player enters a bonus level; the bonus levels feature various sprite pieces of Super Mario enemies and characters, based on their appearance from Super Mario Bros.:

Additionally in the bonus level, the ball can destroy the bricks without bumping around the playfield; also there is a timer that contains 99 game seconds. If the player destroys all the bricks before the timer runs out, the player gains bonus points. After the bonus level ends, the rounds repeat, but with a new set of bricks.

Nintendo eShop description[edit]


Originally released at the launch of the Game Boy, Alleyway is a fondly remembered update to the classic ‘bat and ball’ style of games.

The aim is simple: survive and rack up a huge high score! Take control of the paddle and deflect the ball to break the blocks, but don’t let it drop. Break all the blocks to move onto the next of 32 challenging stages.

It starts out simple but later levels introduce walls of blocks that move horizontally or vertically. You can also enjoy bonus stages where the aim is to break as many blocks as possible within the time limit.


Your spaceship is at the gate of the Alleyway™.

As Mario™, you will need to use your vessel to deflect the energy ball towards oncoming space grids. Hitting the grids will either weaken or destroy them, and you'll need to keep returning shots until the entire field is cleared!

As you progress through each level, you will confront new challenges of alternating stages, bonus rounds, and more. Speed and agile reflexes will quickly become your strongest allies as you reach to beat the top score!

You're in command in the Alleyway!


Box art[edit]



Alleyway sold well during its production run,[citation needed] but it was not released as a "Player's Choice" title, and the reviews have been mostly mixed to negative.

Mean Machines gave the game a 33/100%, and they criticized the game's repetitiveness and they stated "this variant doesn't have much more to offer than the original Breakout". They also added "once you've finished a couple of screens, you'll be bored stiff." They also compared it to Arkanoid and noted a lack of power-ups in the game.

4 reviewers from Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game scores of 6/10, 6/10, 5/10, and 3/10. All of them compared it to Arkanoid, and they complained about the lack of enhancement over the Breakout format. However, two reviewers who gave the game a 6/10 said it was perfectly designed for the Game Boy, and one of them added that "it's also a very good game that combines some new features ... with the original Break-Out theme," albeit overly long.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese アレイウェイ

Alleyway (alternate spelling on official website)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ ゲームボーイ. Nintendo (Japanese). Retrieved May 15, 2024. (Archived March 9, 2008, 19:50:01 UTC via Wayback Machine.)
  2. ^ Game Boy (original) Games (PDF). Nintendo of America. Archived October 3, 2008, 18:12:32 UTC from the original via Wayback Machine. Retrieved May 15, 2024.
  3. ^ Nintendo Database. Alleyway. GameSpy. Archived June 30, 2009, 01:34:54 UTC from the original via Wayback Machine. Retrieved May 15, 2024.
  4. ^ a b Nintendo of America (May 14, 2024). Game Boy – May 2024 Game Updates – Nintendo Switch Online. YouTube. Retrieved May 14, 2024.
  5. ^ Nintendo 公式チャンネル (May 14, 2024). ファミリーコンピュータ & スーパーファミコン & ゲームボーイ Nintendo Switch Online 追加タイトル [2024年5月15日]. YouTube (Japanese). Retrieved May 14, 2024.
  6. ^ @NintendoAUNZ (May 15, 2024). Three classic games are now available to play for #NintendoSwitchOnline members! #GameBoy: ☑️ Super Mario Land ☑️ Alleyway ☑️ Baseball. X (Australian English). Retrieved May 15, 2024.