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Space Invaders

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The classic arcade shooter Space Invaders was released in Japan in 1978. Designer Tomohiro Nishikado was in charge of planning, graphic design, and programming for the game. The development cycle lasted 18 months for the design phase, and then another six to develop the technology.

Space Invaders Arcade Machine
Space Invaders Arcade Machine

Nishikado was inspired by Breakout and was planned to have tanks, planes, and battleships, but he was not happy with the enemies' movement. He considered making the enemies human, but scrapped that idea since he thought it would be immoral to shoot human beings. After he saw a magazine featuring Star Wars, he decided to use a space theme, and was inspired by the aliens in H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds for the design of his invaders. Space Invaders was originally manufactured by Taito in Japan, and later was licensed to Midway for US release.

The well-known gameplay in Space Invaders is extremely simple: the player controls a small ship that can only move laterally and fires straight up. Several rows of aliens slowly progress toward the ship at the bottom of the screen, and the player has to shoot them all before they reach and destroy the ship. As the game goes on, the enemies get faster and more difficult to hit. Space Invaders is still popular today, with rereleases on numerous consoles since its release. Space Invaders Anniversary was released in 2003, and the game was featured in Taito Legends 2 as Space Invaders '95 and Space Invaders DX. A new remake of the game called Space Invaders Extreme is now available for the PSP and Nintendo DS. A version of Space Invaders was released for the iPhone and iPod Touch on Feb. 27, 2009.