You move your paddle left and right at the bottom of the screen. The speed of the video paddle is not limited, as in some games; it moves at the same rate as the paddle controller. The red button on the controller serves the ball to start each turn.
The video paddle (not to be confused with the paddle controller) is divided into four sections. Each section has a different rebound angle, so you can anticipate where the ball will go. However, the rebound angle becomes sharper after the eighth hit, then less sharp again after the sixteenth hit. After the forty-eighth hit the paddle is divided into only two sections, with each rebound angle being about 45 degrees. You'll have to gain a fair amount of expertise to make use of this information about the angles. At first, it will take all of your coordination just to get the paddle to hit the ball, never mind at what spot on the paddle. Also, attempting to hit the ball at the edge of the paddle often results in missing it altogether. The speed of the ball is not controllable, but does increase after the eighth hit and as the ball knocks out one of the bricks in the top four rows of the wall.
Breakout is like Checkers in that it's incredibly easy to learn, but difficult to master. It's simple enough for novices and children to pick up and play, but pros will also get a lifetime of enjoyment out of this classic evolution of Pong.