I’m just back from seeing the Expendables 2 (well worth a visit for action fun!) and throughout the film Jason Statham and Sylvester Stallone like to go back to the “classics” in favour of modern guns… so this got me thinking about going back to the “classics” for computer games! My immediate thought turned to Space Invaders – yeah I’ve taken it real old school!
It’s amazing how a simple arcade game turned into a phenomenon and played a massive part in the surge in popularity in computer games that led to the home gaming industry being what it is today – something awesome!
Shoot ‘em up video games owe a huge thanks to Space Invaders and its designer Tomohiro Nishikado – we all know the premise of shoot ‘em up… guide our character or vessel through an assault from enemies whether they are aliens, zombies, space crafts or rival soldiers… finely tune your reactions and blast your way to safety!
The basis of Space Invaders (if you need it explaining) was to pilot your spacecraft (left or right) to shoot enemy aliens as they descent upon you using a laser canon (“You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads!” – Dr Evil from Austin Powers – perhaps he was inspired by Space Invaders).
The skill factor steps up a notch as you kill more aliens as the speed of descent increases and you need to keep your reflexes sharp and your wits about you.
Space Invaders is famous as an arcade game, memories of hours hunched over the control panel of a giant cabinet with a screen in it and admirers (or mockers depending on your skill) surrounding you! As well as a number of arcade sequels the games have also crossed over to home gaming consoles such as the PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC. So if you can’t afford your own retro arcade game for your home then pick up some classic arcade games up for your console of choice and get some friends over for a “highest score challenge” – keep it classic!
Space Invaders lives on in the modern age of computer gaming not only through modern releases buy via nostalgia, memories, online versions of the game, retro arcades and of course accessories! From phone and iPad cases, arcade gaming cabinets for iPads (seriously these turn your iPad into mini arcade games) to wallet and video gaming t-shirts.
It’s amazing how a left-to-right flying spacecraft with a tiny laser impacted the gaming industry so much, but by creating a concept that was accessible to users of varying skills everybody wanted to play it and the “highest score” feature added competitiveness that saw the game’s popularity take off and never look back. So raise a mini laser canon to Space Invaders and watch your back from descending aliens!
Image credit – ellenarnison.com