Space Invaders Wiki

Space Invaders is an arcade game released in 1978 and designed by Tomohiro Nishikado. Originally sold and manufactured by Taito in Japan. In North America, it was licensed by Midway. Space Invaders is one of the earliest shooters and has spawned several sequels and remakes.


The plot of the game is simple. Aliens from outer space are invading Earth, it is the player's heroic duty to pilot a Core Cannon that fires lasers used against the ones to defend the home planet from, which the targets are several squadrons of 55 black furry monsters inside of lander-spacecrafts that resembles three types of multi-legged sea-creatures, their obstacles are to either zap the tank or land in front of it, so the player must make sure they won't survive at both.


In Space Invaders, you control the Core Cannon, which moves horizontally across the screen firing at aliens. The aim is to shoot all of the aliens in 5 rows of 11. They move back and forth and every time they complete and get back to where they started they move down one row. Their goal is to reach the ground (Earth) and invade, for which then the player loses.



  • The arcade cabinet had made appearances in US films such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), and Pixels (2015).
  • Space Invaders was originally created to as a table-top game, but when it was released in the US, they were all converted to the arcade cabinet format to appear more like an Atari machine to Western gamers.
  • Nishikado himself has cited Atari's arcade game Breakout (1976) as his original inspiration behind the game's concept, wanting to adapt the same sense of achievement and tension from destroying targets one at a time, combining it with elements of target shooting games like his previous electro-mechanical precursor game Space Monster (1972). The game uses a similar layout to that of Breakout but with different game mechanics; rather than bounce a ball to attack static objects, players are given the ability to fire projectiles at moving enemies.
  • The game was also originally titled Space Monsters after a popular song in Japan at the time, "Monster", but was changed to "Invaders" by the designer's superiors.
  • Originally, the titular space invaders were meant to be naval soldiers, the aquatic-spacecrafts were meant to be battle-ships, the U.F.O.s were meant to be combat-planes, and the player's laser-cannon was meant to be a main battle tank (MBT) to shoot down one ocean adversary each before they reach land. But they were redesigned into aliens taken from Taito's mechanical arcade game Space Monsters (1972) and mainly the aquatic lander-spacecrafts from H.G. Wells's sci-fi classic novel The War of the Worlds (1898), just to avoid any real-world, war-related controversies in which the bosses of Taito called shooting humans as "immoral". Ironically, Tetsuya Sasaki would later take this idea and develop and release another arcade blockbuster titled Front Line (1982), a human war-based, run-and-gun shooter by Taito that even Nintendo had surprisingly allowed to be ported onto their Famicom/NES.
  • The game was the first video game to be called a blockbuster, the first game possible to save scores and achieve high scores, the first game where the BGM influences the player's emotions, the first shooting game where enemies fire back at the player, the game was the first to be sold as cartridges that made more sells than one million copies, the first game to have different books about the game since 1982, the first game that went to market and is believed to have contributed to paving the way for more games of its kind, and it's the first game in history to win a Game of the Year Award back in 1978.
  • Although players are trying to defend Earth, in the original 1978 arcade game with the colored background the planet appears to look more like Mars (or the moon) because of its golden ground surface with craters, this was due to the fact that Tomohiro Nishikado originally wanted the game to take place in outer-space after watching the release of the 1974 anime Space Battleship Yamato in Japan, and seeing a magazine feature about Star Wars (1977).
  • TIL the aliens moving faster as you kill them in Space Invaders was a byproduct of the processor freeing up more memory as they could be rendered more quickly the fewer there were on screen, it was left in to provide more challenge.
  • Space Invaders along with its arcade console appears in Disney's 2012 animated film Wreck-It Ralph where it can be seen in Litwaks Arcade beside Fix-it Felix Jr. Although there are some differences with the cabinet shown in the film as the one in real life, such as having different artwork and lacking Taito logos for some reason etc, although its cabinet design appears to be the same save for the smaller black trim underneath.