They have returned, but somehow they look less scary than you remember. Find out below more about the Space Invaders Story
Standard-cut T-shirt for men, 100% cotton
A timeless classic. The world’s favourite garment in its purest shape. An essential basic for every day.
High quality fashioning with double-stitched seems
The manufacturer offers the following colours in 3XL and 4XL: White, black, navy, red and heather grey
Rugged fabrics 185g/m²
Material: 100% cotton (except for heather grey: 85% cotton, 15% rayon)
Space Invaders are Back!
They have returned, but somehow they look less scary than you remember! That’s if you do remember back this far (back in your geeky days) when these evil aliens were king of the arcade. Space Invaders was created by Tomohiro Nishikado and released in 1978 and really gave video games the push into the mainstream and ensured they were more than just a fad as many people suspected at the time.
Up until this time most games were created essentially from the hardware, it was built to play whatever game had been dreamt up by plotting out circuitry and electronic components on an arcade board. It was Nishikado’s idea to, instead of physically creating specific circuits for it, it so the game was software that was programmed, and not just control by the hardware, so each time you made a new game you wouldn’t need to create custom hardware for it. With the advent of the microprocessor the era of software would begin, you could use the same hardware to play multiple versions of software, i.e. games. He couldn’t actually do this due to the lack of processing power of microprocessors at the time, but the idea was there, the idea that games were software developed for existing hardware.
In the current day it’s unusual to see a particularly original game, but back then you could create something new which people had not seen before, even though a lot of early games developers copied ideas from each other and made clones of the most successful games. Space Invaders was a mix of the two, you can clearly see the influence of Breakout, which itself took some inspiration from Pong. In breakout the player must move a bar along the bottom of the screen to bat a ball which bounces up to the top and hits blocks at the top, there are eight rows of blocks which disappear when hit, the aim is to clear them all. If the player is skillful enough they can break through a section of the eight rows to create a gap and the ball will bounce above the blocks destroying them from the other side.
Space Invaders follows the same route of having the player moving side to side at the bottom but in Space Invaders they shoot upwards instead of batting a ball. And they aren’t just shooting at blocks… Nishikado wanted to create an enemy, and an enemy that is recognisable (not just blocks!), so he took inspiration from War or the Worlds and created a relentless army of aliens who gradually move down the screen getting closer and closer, creating a foreboding invading presence which at first seems easy to survive but the panic builds as they get closer and closer to the player. They may be relatively easy to destroy but they come in waves and they fire back! The player gets some refuge behind bunkers which are gradually eaten away by enemy fire until the situation becomes untenable and the alien invasion lands despite the frantic efforts of the player to save the world.
While the game may look crude by today’s standards there was a lot of innovation, the game went beyond what Breakout did, and introduced a moving enemy which was some technical achievement, with five rows of eleven enemies moving closer to the player, but from the player perspective this created something new, an evil enemy and a sense of pursuit, not just a fun game of tennis this time!
The real star of the game is the aliens themselves. With a limited number of pixels to work with was able to make enemies with a personality, and even animated them as they moved towards the player!
Not only had the first Alien invasion been simulated but a huge technical achievement of multiple animated enemies moving smoothly created the sense that there was a story behind it, not just a simple game of bat and ball, players could imagine they were stopping the Aliens from War of the Worlds or the Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
One other key innovation that is often forgotten is the concept of high scores. As with games of this era the design was simple, they was one mode of activity but it was possible to create levels, progressively getting harder without requiring more resources, so players could go through levels and create a high score to show their kill. Players were able to save these scores which would stay visible on the cabinet for other players to try and defeat. This game the game something much more than just the fun of save world, there was now a competitive element and a pride in having your score at the top. This lead to persistent interest in games with players battling to get the top score on their game of choice and coming back again and again!