The world's introduction to digital xenocide, space invaders had a impact like no game before it. Using a monochrome screen, but with a transparent overlay on the screen for color, it is the game that made Taito what they are today.

In 1993, Taito released space invaders dx, which was a JAMMA version of the same thing, but with a twist - there was several different display modes to choose from, including upright and cocktail versions of the original, but also special color overlay modes.

The neat thing about the color overlay mode is that the color strips are purposefully out of alignment, since anyone who remembers playing the original knows that the overlays were almost never in line with each other. This sloppiness adds immensly to the feel and realism of this version.

It, however, sadly lacks a version of one of the best followups, Super Space Invaders '91.

Space Invaders was programmed and designed by Toshihiro Nishikado for Taito in 1978, but was actually licensed and released in the US by Midway.

At the time of its release SI was the cause of a yen shortage in Japan due to its immense and insane popularity. Many stores liquidated their stock and converted into SI arcades, containing little except the games and huge sound systems to broadcast the ominous thumping of the invaders.

Space Invaders was also the first arcade game to move out of seedy arcades and pool halls, and into pizza parlors and other "family" establishments. It was not always well received, however, and residents of Mesquite, Texas actually fought all the way to the Supreme Court attempting to ban the machines from their town.

SI was often bootlegged, re-vamped, or re-named by other manufacturers or distributors, and can be found going by the following names:

Alien Invasion II
Super Earth Invasion
Cosmic Monsters
Jatre Spectre
Space Attack II
Space War part III
Space King
Moon Base

Space Invaders

By Bally

Model No: 1178-E
Released: May 8, 1979

Designed By: Jim Patla
Art By: Paul Farris

Space Invaders was the first pinball machine to be based on a video game. Bally's video game division, Midway, had licensed Space Invaders from Taito in Japan, and decided to capitalize on the machine's incredible success by using it as a theme for a pinball.

It was a wide-body game, with the cabinet being as wide as the backbox. The artwork on the machine was highly inspired by H.R. Giger's design for the "Alien" from the movie with the same name. In fact, they ended up stopping production of the game early due to pending lawsuits, the artwork was so similar, though 11,400 machines were produced.

The backglass was actually two seperate pieces. The back piece had the game's name, a very large alien (as stated, looking incredibly similar to Giger's alien), and was mirrored. Around the edge was a set of 32 lights that would light in sequential patterns around the edge of the backbox. In front of the lights was another backglass, designed to reflect the image back upon itself while still being seen from the outside. The end result was that the moving lights would seem to head off into infinity.

The sound effects also attempt to recreate the feeling of the Space Invaders video game. A repetetive "thump-thump" plays, speeding up as you hit more targets. It can get annoying after a while...

The Playfield:

The plunger lane heads to the top, where the ball is trapped by two gates in a section with three rollover lanes below it. The rollovers lead to a set of three pop bumpers. A path to the right leads back into the rollovers from down below. To the upper left is the 'clone chamber', where a captive ball is stored, and when hit, rolls up to a target.

In the center, directly below the bumpers, is a small horseshoe, and the center of the horseshoe has a single target at the bottom. On the middle left side is a set of three drop targets, with more drop targets on the right side.

There are four flippers at the bottom. A regular set of two flippers, with a set of two mini-flippers above them, and toward the sides. There is one outlane on each side, and two inlanes, with the inner inlanes going to the small flippers.

The Rules:

I cannot find the rules or scoring at this point. I shall sit down with Visual Pinball and see if I can iron out the workings of this game. They shall appear here as I figure things out. If anyone knows any information, it would be appreciated.

The Internet Pinball Database,
Space Invaders Pinball,

A cultural phenomenon originating in Paris, France. Essentially, mosaics created which resemble characters from the original Space Invaders coin-op game are spackled on to walls. This is an extension of the usual graffiti gesture, as it implies a far more palpable updating of the urban scape. In Paris alone 384 of these mosaics have been affixed to bridges, walls, next to placards on statues, and on the sides of benches. They range in size from 6 square inches to 6 square feet.

Other cities which have been successfully invaded include

Aix en Provence
Los Angeles
New York
Hong Kong

The beauty of this new graffiti is that anyone can purchase a Space Invader kit, or create their own. I found one in a shop called alife in New York City.

More information at <>

Space Invaders was an old arcade game released by Taito way back in 1978. Midway licensed this title for release in the United States.

The story

Space Invaders is the single most popular black and white arcade game ever made. Taito was officially the maker of this title, but it was so widely bootlegged, cloned, and ripped off, that you can find it under nearly 100 different titles on dozens of distinct platforms. I am not even going to attempt to list all of them here, but a few of the more common alternate titles are Jatre Specter, Cosmic Monsters, and Space King. Some of the alternates were exactly the same game as the original, while others were clones that were basically the exact same game implemented slightly differently. A few of the clones added new features like two player simultaneous action, while others (like Yosaku), were so different that you might not even realize that they are just another Space Invaders rip off.

This game has had six official sequels to date. They are, Space Invaders Part II, Space Invaders II, Return Of The Invaders, Super Space Invaders '91, Space Invaders DX, and Space Invaders '95. Americans also got Space Invaders Deluxe, which was simply Space Invaders Part II with a different title screen and a slightly different dedicated cabinet.

The game

Chances are good that you already know how to play this game. But here it is anyway, just in case your local arcade never had a Space Invaders, and none of your friends ever had the best selling Atari 2600 version.

You control a little gun platform that can move left and right at the bottom of the screen. Your enemies are aliens who are aligned in 5 rows of 11 invaders each. The invaders move back and forth while dropping shots at you. They descend one rank each time they hit the side of the screen. You have to shoot them all, it is game over if they reach the bottom. There are 4 shields that you can hide behind, but they can be damaged by shots from you or the invaders, so you can't count on them for very long. Every once in a while you will see a UFO fly across the top of the screen, shoot it for a nice bonus to your score. A few of these details vary among clones, specifically the exact number of invaders and the shape and positions of the shields.

The last few invaders noticably speed up, and are rather difficult to hit. The game is endless, shooting the last invader simply brings on another screen full of them, with each screen starting closer to the ground than the last one. Well, they start closer up until a certain point, after that the game stops getting harder. Many people can actually play this game continually. Getting a truly remarkable Space Invaders score involves playing for hours and hours on end.

The Machine

The various versions of Space Invaders came in a lot of different cabinets. I couldn't even begin to describe all of them, but I will at least talk about a few of them.

The upright version was blue and white and had painted sideart of several "werewolf" looking aliens, the "Deluxe" version had similar art, but in red and blue instead of blue and white. The control panel used a metal overlay and had buttons for movement and firing. Most non-US versions of the game had a 2-Way joystick instead of movement buttons. The monitor bezel and marquee were a single piece of glass with a nice detailed planetary scene. The monitors were supposed to have a set color overlays, but I haven't actually seen one that had them in many years.

The cabaret (or mini), version had woodgrain sides, and was almost completely unadorned.

There were many different cocktail versions made. I have seen Space Invaders in almost every type of cocktail table imaginable. Most of them used small 2-Way joysticks, and did not have a lot of decoration.

Clones and bootlegs were usually cocktails. Most 1970s era cocktails were simple rectangles with small control panels that were almost straight up and down. The exact designs varied a bit from manufacturer to manufacturer, but they all looked very similar. Upright clones and bootlegs were often conversions of earlier monochrome games such as Boot Hill and Shark JAWS.

Some versions of this game were actually in color, but most used plastic overlays to simulate color. These overlays were often misaligned on the machines, if not missing altogether.

Where to play

You can play Space Invaders almost anywhere. It has been widely ported, cloned, and emulated. There are many computer versions available, and the Atari 2600 port comes highly recommended. You may still see one of these out in the real world from time to time, but only at places that have "classic" games in addition to all their fighting games and redemption machines.

Space Invaders is a decent title to add to your arcade game collection. Prices seem to vary wildly on this one. My personal suggestion is to either get an original Taito/Midway one, or get one of the clones that used a color monitor. Getting one of the B&W clones will only make for future repair headaches, as you will be dealing with a strange boardset and a strange monitor. While getting an original only gives you the strange monitor to worry about, and getting a color one only leaves you with strange gameboards.

The top scorer on Space Invaders to date was done by a guy called Eric Furrer who to this day holds the Stratford Record for non-stop Space Invaders play -- 38 hours and 37 minutes and an accumulation of 1,114,000 points (111 roll overs, averaging three rolls an hour). Eric was allowed to have bathroom breaks every 3 hrs. The Space Invaders Machine was rigged with a pausing mechanism. He did not sleep during this event, but did collapse at the very end with three ships remaining. He was awarded the Statford Trophy for gaming excellence. It is rumoured he owns an original Space Invaders this very day but will not play it out of fear of collapse and convultions. When the competition was over and he regained conciousness, he was asked: "Now that you've mastered Space Invaders, will you tackle next?" - The tired 12 year old responded with "Space Invaders Deluxe!"

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