Category Archives: graphics

Excerpt from the ad flyer for Galaxian, an arcade video game by Taito/Midway.

Galaxian: A Video Game Formation

Out of Namco in 1979 came soaring Galaxian, a take on the Space Invaders formula where the little alien critters are not content to shuffle left and right across the screen, but break formation and come tearing down at the player, shooting at them all the way.

Gameplay snap of Galaxian, an arcade video game by Namco/Midway 1979

They’re coming for you in Galaxian

 

Galaxian not only helped usher in full RGB colour to arcade games, but also pioneered the use of sprites as graphical objects, allowing for the furious action that made the game so popular. It was as influential to video game design as its own invading inspiration, and spawned a set of sequels, such as 1981′s Galaga, as well as a plethora of remakes and ports. A particularly awesome port was made of Galaxian for the VCS/2600 in 1983, so good that it seems almost impossible to have been done within the stringent programming confines of Atari’s warhorse video game system. Of course, we can’t forget the game’s treatment at the hands of Coleco, featured as one of the company’s popular tabletop LED mini-arcade games.

Coleco TableTop version of Galaxian, 1981

Bring the arcade home with you!

 

Down another path of sequels was handheld LED game Galaxian 2 by Entex, as well as the monstrous Galaxian 3 theatre games constructed by Namco in the 90′s. These giants, starting as 28-player motion ride experiences and eventually tapered down to 6-player walk-in arcade games, give the Galaxian player a suitably epic experience.

Galaxian set the mold for the shoot-em-ups that followed in its colourful wake. For a full history on the game, please consult your local Dot Eaters entry.

Atari’s Groove Tube

Smack dab between the release of home PONG in 1975 and the VCS in 1977 came the Atari Video Music in 1976.  The brainchild of home PONG creator Bob Brown, you would plug your stereo via RCA jacks into this piece of ordinance, and output to your TV via a RF connector.  Thusly, the Atari Video Music would display trippy graphical patterns on your TV, in time to your music.  The box is hard-wired analog, with nary a processor in sight.  Think of it as an early version of today’s mp3 player visualizers.  You can grok the effect in this YouTube video:

Read more about the device here at Technabob.  What would your choice of “mind-enhancer” be when watching this thing?