Space Invaders

Space Invaders (arcade)   1978


First shoot 'em up, first proto music in games, highest grossing videogame ever


Monochrome game with color overlay

Arcade system: Taito 8080 Based

Space Invaders

Gameplay video

Review - New York Times, 1980, by Dudley Clendinen.
"Last year, it is said to have caused the Bank of Japan to triple its production of 100-yen coins to satisfy the demand. Yesterday, it moved Robert Stenzler, a fourth-grade teacher in New Rochelle, to get up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning to drive his son Andrew, 12 years old, to the Citicorp Center at 53d Avenue and Lexington.
In Branford, Conn., Armand Mauro, a restuarant owner, got up with his wife, Anne, and they both brought in their son Jeffrey, 10. Mary Anne Tetro, who works five days a week as a construction company's secretary, rose early in Yorktown Heights to bring in her son Frank, 14, and his sister Joy, who is 10.
They all joined a long line of people six bodies across that by mid-morning stretched up and out of the Citicorp plaza and around the corner and down the block.
From his place on the steps outside, Ed Migueles, a 16-year-old Plainfield, N.J., youth who has curly brown hair and every appearance of normal boyhood, explained why they all had come.
''It's aliens from outer space who've come to invade the earth,'' he said. ''The object is to destroy the aliens.'' 4,000 Volunteer for Battle
He was describing Space Invaders, the video game whose coinoperated version took Japan by popular storm when it was introduced there two years ago. It was brought to this country about 18 months ago, and yesterday, Atari Inc., which markets a home model of the amusement arcade version, held what it called the New York regional competition for Space Invaders fans.
Almost 4,000 entrants showed up. They were mostly male, mostly preadolescents or teen-agers, and mostly brought by their parents, some of whom play, too.
Ed Migueles explained that he played the space game on his home console, that his sister Denise, 8, played a learning game for younger children, that his father, 48, played with him on it sometimes, and that his grandfather, 69, played backgammon on it when he came last summer from Argentina. ''That's a South American country,'' he said politely. ''Not many people know.''
The Atari marketing staff commonly speak of the game as being ''addictive'' and, considering that Atari has been the most profitable subsidiary of the Warner Communications Company for the last two quarters, they do not seem disturbed
''It's very addictive,'' William F. Grubb, vice president of marketing and sales, said with a smile. Sense of Accomplishment
But Mr. Grubb, who has four children, likes to think that it is a healthy addiction for children. ''They can beat their parents,'' he said, ''and that gives a child a good sense of accomplishment and confidence in his ability to handle himself in an adult world.''
The competition lasted from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M. For a while, as the line dribbled slowly into the atrium of the Citicorp Center, where monitors watched the players at the controls of more than a score of sets and security guards shuffled people through as if some crown jewels were on display, 12-year-old Andrew Stenzler led the pack, with 26,050 aliens destroyed by laser cannon on the video screen. Andrew, who thinks he would someday like to be ''a businessman or a C.P.A.,'' looked satisfied with his performance.
But he was not going to hang around to see if anyone stole his lead, or try again to improve his score. ''I've got a soccer game coming up now at home,'' he said, ''and I'm not in the mood to wait another two hours in line.'' His father looked relieved. Armies Were Falling
It was just as well. At the far corner of the roped-off play area, Frank Tetro, the 14-year-old son of a New York City policeman, was destroying whole armies of aliens, troop after troop. He had been practicing four hours a day for a week, on the home console he got as a confirmation present. The score on the screen registers only 9,999, and he kept filling it up and starting all over again.
The previous record, set in the regional competition in Chicago two weeks ago, was 83,000 aliens downed. Yesterday, before Frank Tetro's defense finally succumbed to a severe case of sweaty palms on the hand controls, he destroyed 110,124 aliens. This appeared to guarantee him a place in the finals to be held at Warner headquarters in Rockefeller Center tomorrow. The grand prize, not surprisingly, is a $2,000 Asteroids Table-Top Video Game, and Frank, who played with impressive calm as the television lights interfered with his vision yesterday, said he would practice six hours a day this weekend.

space invaders
Earliest ARTICLE FROM "The Dispatch " 1980 (CLICK ON IT)
space invaders
Space Invaders
Magazine review- Electronic Games (1983)
Space Invaders
Magazine art- Vidiot (1982)
Space Invaders arcade
Magazine commercial - Vidiot (1981)

1) In designing the game, creator Nishikado drew inspiration from popular media: Breakout game, The War of the
Worlds (he had watched the 1953 film adaptation as a child and created initial bitmap images
after the octopus-like aliens), Star Wars, and a dream about Japanese school children who are waiting for Santa Claus and are attacked by invading aliens.
2) Early enemy designs included tanks, combat planes, and battleships. Nishikado, however, was
not satisfied with the enemy movements; technical limitations made it difficult to simulate
flying. humans would have been easier to simulate, but Nishikado considered shooting them immoral.
3) Game designer Shigeru Miyamoto (Donkey Kong) considered Space Invaders a game that revolutionized the video game industry; he was never interested in video games before seeing it. Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid 2) also described it as the first video game that impressed him and got him interested in video games.
4) Game's worldwide success created a demand for a wide variety of science fiction games, inspiring
the development of arcade games such as Defender, and  Galaxian, which were modeled after Space Invaders ' gameplay and design. This influence extends to most shooting games released to the present day, including first-person shooters such as Wolfenstein and Doom.
5) Many regular produce and goods stores in Japan removed their products and converted into Space Invaders parlors overnight, complete with giant speakers broadcasting the 'thump-thump-thump' of the marching invaders.
6) Space Invaders showed that video games could compete against the major entertainment media at the time: movies, music, and television.

7) First continuous proto-music in  a video game. For first music tune in video games, watch Gun Fight (1975), for first real electronic music watch Sheriff (1979).

8) Plot - "Defend earth from attacking invaders from space".

9) The Space Invaders Championship held by Atari in 1980 was the earliest large scale video game competition, attracting more than 10,000 participants across the United States, establishing competitive gaming as a mainstream hobby.

10) Highest grossing franchise -13.90 billion dollars (watch Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and  Gran Turismo 2 for more.

11) Shoot 'em up is a subgenre of the shooter genre of video games. In a shoot 'em up, the player character engages in a lone assault, often in a spacecraft or aircraft, shooting large numbers of enemies while dodging their attacks. There is no consensus as to which design elements compose a shoot 'em up. Some restrict the definition to games featuring spacecraft and certain types of character movement; others allow a broader definition including characters on foot and a variety of perspectives. Shoot 'em ups call for fast reactions and for the player to memorize levels and enemy attack patterns.

12) Emulated in: MAME

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