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.
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.
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.