Circus is an Atari 2600 game where the player’s objective is to pop balloons and score points. The game features a wall of red, blue, and white balloons at the top of the screen. Players must pop these balloons by catching a clown on a teeter-totter and bouncing them up to the balloons. The controller is used to move the teeter-totter across the screen to catch the clowns.
Each time a clown pops a balloon, the balloon disappears, and the player scores points. Players receive five clowns or turns. If a player fails to catch a clown on the teeter-totter, the clown will crash and disappear from the playfield. By pressing the controller button, another clown will bounce off the trampoline from either the right or left corner of the playfield.
After five clowns have crashed, the game is over. Clowns can land on any point on the teeter-totter, except where the other clown is sitting, as this will cause them to crash. The goal is to achieve the highest score possible by successfully popping as many balloons as possible with the limited number of clowns.