Namco's third in-house arcade game, released in 1979. Notable for being the first full color raster game ever. Before Galaxian, color overlays were used on arcade screens. It was also Namco's first big hit. Using the space invaders formula and speeding play up by having the bug-like enemies throw themselves at the player, Galaxian spawned a ton of rip-offs, clones, and homages, most of the earlier ones using the same hardware. In North America the machine was distributed, like many of the early Namco games, by Bally/Midway.

There were a few sequels to the game, including Galaga, Gaplus, and the laserdisc-based Galaxian3. The game has popped up all over the place in other Namco games too, such as the Pac-Man series, Dig-Dug, Ridge Racer series, and most recently in Gun Balina (known in the US and Europe as Point Blank 3).

The game has been ported to home videogame and computer systems everywhere, including the Atari 800, Commodore 64, Colecovision, Nintendo Entertainment System, MSX, GameBoy, the Sony Playstation (as part of the great Namco Museum series) and the IBM PC for Windows 95. Of course for the PC there's tons of shareware and freeware clones. And for the most accurate arcade experience MAME would be a good bet on multiple computer platforms. (Insert random arcade ROM legality disclaimer here.)

Bomb Bee --- Cutie Q

Galaxian was an old arcade game released by Namco way back in 1979 (it was licensed to Midway in the United States).

The story

Namco designed Galaxian to be a better "Space Invaders" than Space Invaders was. In many ways they succeeded, producing a game with much more detail, and more varied gameplay as well.

This game holds the honor of being the first game ever to use true RGB color. This is not the first game ever to be in color (a distinction it is often given incorrectly), just the first game ever to be in RGB color (which means it could have technically used any shade of any color on any object, although they only really used this well on the stars).

Galaxian was an instant hit, due to its great gameplay, and colorful graphics. Unfortunately it was overshadowed by its own sequel (Galaga), shortly after release.

The game

You already know how to play this game, at least if you care enough about video games to have read this far, then you will already know how to play Galaxian. But if you don't know, here it is for you (should I use short words?).

You control a space ship (which is called a "Galaxip") that can move left and right along the bottom of the screen. The top area is filled with several rows of invading alien ships. Your goal is to blast them all. Individual aliens will break off from the formation, and attempt to ram you ship (while firing at the same time). Simply shoot all of the alien ships to advance to the next level. You can shoot ships out of the formation, or while they are attacking (they are worth about five times as many points if you shoot them while they are attacking).

Or another way to describe the game is to say that it is Space Invaders in color, with enemies that come down to attack you. Although being good a Space Invaders does not mean you will be good at Galaxian. The two games have a very different feel, despite their similarities.

The Machine

This was the first title to use the now familiar "Namco Cabinet", which was used for Galaxian, Galaga, Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, and the new Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga reunion machine. Several other titles used nearly identical cabinets as well (all in all nearly a half million of these cabinets were produced worldwide, I have two of them myself).

These machines are white, with painted sideart of a green dragonfly alien (done up in blue, green. and black). The marquee is rather large and displays a blue and green "Galaxian" logo (which is painted on a sheet of glass, they don't make them like that anymore). The control panel and monitor bezel are not highly decorated, but do feature some game instructions. Finally this machine uses neon green t-molding (edge trim), it is difficult to find replacement trim in that same exact shade.

This title uses an Electrohome G07 open frame monitor, although any normal arcade monitor should work as a replacement. You can plug in a set of Galaga boards, and play them with no modifications at all. Several other early Namco titles will also work, but require a 4-Way Joystick, instead of the 2-Way model that Galaxian normally has.

Where to play

Galaxian has been ported to several of the old school consoles (I grew up playing the Atari 2600 version myself), and several PC clones have been made under various names. You can also play this title under either the MAME or Vantage emulators (both of them support this game perfectly).

If you are thinking about adding this to your arcade game collection, then you should consider carefully how much you are willing to spend on a shooter. This game is a bit overpriced due to popularity (but not as overpriced as Galaga). Most people will not want to buy more than one shooter, and yes, this title is fun, but for the price you could by a similar (but less popular) shooter (I recommend Galaga '88 myself), and still have some money left over to buy another game.

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