Intro to retro game Toppler@2016

Toppler is one of my favourite games from the childhood. And it is not about great graphics or funny signs in the game (nope, I don’t understand it neither) but about simple, straightforward gameplay.

I made first attempt to port that game to JS around 2007, when Canvas API was new and fresh. Today is good moment to take a look back and check if it can be refactored into modern patterns.

First attempt — perfect graphics

I decided to clean up the old code, push a fresh life but using ES6 and preparing proper modules. It was also good opportunity to test different build tools/package managers like JSPM.

Main points to refactor were:

  • modules
  • render assets once on separate <canvas> objects
  • eliminate spaghetti code patterns


JSPM together with Babel made perfect work to introduce ES6 modules to the game. The game isn’t so complicated so I have grouped components into few categories:

  • services — for one instance objects
  • models
  • assets/sounds — for generated multimedia files
import {Toppler} from './toppler';
let game = new Toppler(document.body);



The game@2007 looks very good (very similar to original one) so this part was quite easy. Every asset file exports <canvas>. With drawing on it.

* Brown ball
@type {HTMLCanvasElement}
let canvas = document.createElement('canvas');
canvas.width = 25;
canvas.height = 25;

let ctx = canvas.getContext('2d');
drawBall(ctx, 12, 12, 'rgb(228, 175, 86)');

export {canvas as brownBall};


Code of the refactored game is available at GitHub under Toppler project.

Demo (be aware that it is still in development so it might not work from time to time).

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