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Space Invaders is a 1978 shoot 'em up arcade video game developed by Tomohiro Nishikado. It was manufactured and sold by Taito in Japan, and licensed to the Midway division of Bally for overseas distribution. Space Invaders was the first fixed shooter and set the template for the genre. The goal is to defeat wave after wave of descending aliens with a horizontally moving laser to earn as many points as possible.
|Publisher(s)||Atari, Inc. (home)|
|Platform(s)||Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit, MSX, handheld, tabletop, watch, calculator, NES, SG-1000, WonderSwan, VG Pocket, mobile, iOS|
|Mode(s)||1-2 players alternating turns|
|Arcade system||Taito 8080 |
Designer Nishikado drew inspiration from North American target shooting games like Breakout (1976) and Gun Fight (1975), as well as science fiction narratives such as the novel The War of the Worlds (1897), the anime Space Battleship Yamato (1974), and the film Star Wars (1977). To complete development of the game, he had to design custom hardware and development tools. Upon release, Space Invaders was an immediate commercial success; by 1982, it had grossed $3.8 billion ($13 billion in 2021-adjusted terms), with a net profit of $450 million ($1.5 billion in 2021 terms). This made it the best-selling video game and highest-grossing entertainment product at the time, and the highest-grossing video game of all time.
Space Invaders is considered one of the most influential video games of all time. It ushered in the golden age of arcade video games. It was the inspiration for numerous video games and game designers across different genres, and has been ported and re-released in various forms. The 1980 Atari VCS version quadrupled sales of the VCS, thereby becoming the first killer app for video game consoles. More broadly, the pixelated enemy alien has become a pop culture icon, often representing video games as a whole.