The very first “brick buster” video game, called Breakout, was developed by Atari and published as an arcade game way back in 1976. It was a huge hit that inspired many clones over the years. One of those, 1986’s Arkanoid, stood out thanks to the introduction of new features like power-ups. It, too, was very popular and has been ported to just about every computer and video game console since. It has even spawned its own clones that are distinct from Breakout clones. Victor Serrano’s Arkaclock may not be an Arkanoid clone, but it is certainly an homage to that classic game.
Unlike many of the other clock projects we come across, Arkaclock is actually just a clock. It doesn’t have a built-in weather station, IoT capabilities, Alexa integration, or anything else; it just tells you the current time. But it does so in a fun way that should be satisfying to watch for anyone that appreciates retro games. Each digit of the time is made up of a handful of bricks, and those are slowly destroyed in classic Arkanoid style by a ball served by an automated paddle. The outlines of the bricks are left behind whenever a brick has been busted, so you can still read the time easily.
Serrano doesn’t provide a lot of detail about the hardware used in this build. He does say that he’s using a Microchip PIC18F86K22 microcontroller, and that the display is a grayscale 5.5” 256 x 64 pixel OLED screen. The PIC18F was programmed in assembly, which is a pretty impressive feat by itself. Watching the time pass on the Arkaclock is a bit like watching that “DVD” logo bounce around on your TV screen when the movie is paused as you wait for that perfect moment when it hits then corner — it becomes a bit hypnotic. We can only hope that Serrano will release more details soon so we can build our own Arkaclocks.