Game Trivia

  • Space Invaders is generally attributed with the development of the concept of the difficulty curve: a concept wherein a game becomes more difficult over time. Interestingly enough, this actually resulted from a glitch in the game. During gameplay, as you'll notice, the enemies go across the screen at increasing speeds as others are eliminated. This is because the initial swarms of enemies actually overload the game's PPU, causing lag: as you destroy enemies, the PPU has less to deal with and can process closer to 100% efficiency, which is observed as an increase of speed, and coincidentally difficulty. In other words, the idea of difficulty curves, which we take for granted today, actually had its roots in a mere unintentional glitch!

    Contributed By: KeyBlade999.

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  • A notable technical achievement for the game is the music, which is a collection of "heartbeat-like" sounds looping continuously with just 4 different notes without interruption. The music increases in speed as the game increases in speed and in difficulty.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • The side artwork on the American arcade release of Space Invaders was illustrated in conjunction with the game's original title Space Monsters.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • While the game is frequently associated with the color green, the original release of Space Invaders did not contain any color.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • The Atari 2600 version of Space Invaders is considered the first "killer app" for a home video game console. Sales of Atari 2600 units increased dramatically simply for the home release of the game.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • Space Invaders was the game that got Shigeru Miyamoto and Hideo Kojima interested in video games. Miyamoto had no interest in video games until he saw Space Invaders for the first time.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • Space Invaders was the first video game where players were given multiple 'lives.'

    Contributed By: HyperIria.

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  • Many arcades opened up in Japan containing only Space Invaders machines during the game's popularity.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • Despite the game's overwhelming commercial success, Tomohiro Nishikado's name does not appear anywhere in the game and for years was contracted not to reveal his identity for years to come.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • There is a frequently repeated myth that the game's financial success caused shortage of the 100 yen coin in Japan, but was actually the result of a coin production shortage in 1978 and 1979. The only way the success of Space Invaders could cause such a shortage is if arcade operators never brought their earnings to the bank, which would put the coins back into rotation. Residents who were living in Japan during the game's popularity were asked about the coin shortage and none of them reported anything out of the ordinary at the time.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • The American arcade cabinet released by Midway uses strips of orange and green cellophane over the screen to simulate color graphics. The graphics are reflected onto a painted backdrop of a moon against a starry background.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • The original hardware for the game uses an Intel 8080 CPU, raster graphics on a CRT monitor and monaural sound hosted by a combination of analog circuitry, and a Texas Instruments SN76477 sound chip for sound effects

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • Early enemy designs included tanks, combat planes, and battleships. Tomohiro Nishikado removed these designs from the game due to techinical limitations that made it difficult for objects to simulate flying.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • The layout of Space Invaders is identical to Atari's Breakout but with altered game mechanics. Rather than catching and bouncing a ball, the player would shoot projectiles and avoid incoming hazards.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • Inspirations for the game include the mechanical game Space Monsters also released by Taito in 1972, and a dream about Japanese school children who are waiting for Santa Claus and are attacked by invading aliens. Tomohiro Nishikado called Atari's game Breakout as his inspiration.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • Tomohiro Nishikado spent a year designing the game and developing the necessary hardware to produce it.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • Tomohiro Nishikado did not want to make the enemy targets humans as he considered shooting humans immoral for a game design.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • Tomohiro Nishikado decided to use the space theme for the game after reading a magazine feature about the movie Star Wars.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • Tomohiro Nishikado had to design his own hardware an development tools for the game as Japan's microcomputers were not powerful enough at the time to perform complicated programming tasks required for Space Invaders.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • The game was originally titled Space Monsters, inspired by a popular song in Japan at the time "Monster", but was changed to Space Invaders by Nishikado's superiors.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • The inspiration for the alien designs was H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. Tomohiro Nishikado watched the 1953 film adaptation when he was a child.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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  • Tomohiro Nishikado was unable to program the game how he wanted since the hardware could not display graphics in color or move the enemies faster. During programming, he later learned that the enemies could scroll faster when fewer were on the screen at once, so Nishikado went with this design technique to make the game more challenging.

    Contributed By: noidentity.

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