Game of the Week (5/7/17) – Space Invaders

What more can be said about Space Invaders that hasn’t already been written? Not sure I can emphasize enough how important this game was in drawing people towards arcade gaming in the late 70’s and again when it sold consoles for Atari upon its home release in 1980. Arguably the very first “killer app” in the history of home console gaming, Space Invaders not only gave fans of the arcade title a means to play this phenomenon at home, but also provided the home gamer 112 different variations to keep them interested upon repeat plays.

I have very few memories of playing Space Invaders in the arcades as I was too young when it was at its peak. By the time I was playing arcade games in the mid 80’s, technology had passed this Taito/Midway classic by and it was hard to even find an arcade that still had a Space Invaders cabinet. The Atari VCS version is the definitive version in my mind because of its ability to switch up the gameplay and also because of its importance to home console history. If not for Atari securing the rights to Space Invaders for their VCS and showing off what they could do, there’s no telling if they could have survived the Pac-Man home port debacle (something tells me they could have). The VCS was already selling at a pretty decent rate by 1979 but the sales numbers indicate a significant spike occurred once Space Invaders was released. The game itself is super addictive but tough to master. Space Invaders mastered the art of tension by speeding up the music and movements of the aliens the closer they got to land and the more of them you destroyed. I still get nervous trying to hit that last solo alien as it speeds back and forth across the screen getting closer and closer. The simple concept of shooting up from the bottom of the screen at aliens as they systematically move down in a pattern towards land has been done to death by imitators but the original Space Invaders holds up. This is a classic and rightfully so.

Rating: A

Currently in my collection: game only

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