(Atari/Taito, 1980)

This retro GOTM is none other then the legendary classic shoot em up by Taito made famous in the late 1970's (yes, we're going WAY back here, folks). This Space Invaders game was based on the very successful 2600 game that came home for the first time with over a hundred types of options available for you lucky Atari VCS owners still out there. Don't forget the incredible shooter itself with it's stylist graphics, eerie sound effects, plus the unique offensive and defensive action that made Space Invaders sure a arcade and home hit to begin with.

Video gaming after Pong

If you're not sure what Space Invaders is, the game is about a huge group of aliens that plan to conquer your planet and your anti-air tank is the only thing that can stop em before they reach the surface. Your enemies aren’t just mindless targets either because they can shoot back too and even increase in speed as their numbers decrease and therefore become harder to hit. It should also be noted that Space Invaders introduced us to the scoring system in video games by showing the person's score as well as the high score too to add better competition between players; I even called Space Invaders one of my Top Ten most influential games of all time.

Your only line of defence is the three air blockers (there are four in the original but who's counting?) that can absorb both enemy and friendly fire but beware, because it is still possible for shots to come through if they take too many hits. Using these blockers may be key to your survival especially during the start of a level when you are greatly outnumbered. The aliens are lined up 6 X 6 meaning that there are 36 of them to kill if you hope to be successful. The ones on the bottom are worth the least amount of points while the ones on top are worth the most. You can even get a chance to score some bonus points by destroying a mother ship that fly’s across the top on occasion.

They may be blocky but that's not gonna stop em!

The graphics, I guess, would have been state of the art back then. Each row of aliens has a different look and two frames of animations each as they move left and right. Your high powered tank looks like a tree and the background is completely flat but that's fairly good considering it was made in 1980, a time when video games were still new to people.


Moving on to the sound.......... well, you can forget about any type of background music because it's all sound effects here (I kind of think we're spoiled now anyways with today's video games and their music). You'll hear a continuous marching sound reminding you that the aliens are coming down and the faster the marching the faster the aliens. It's impressive sounding enough too build up some tension for the gamer as these guys are coming down if you don't act quickly.

Welcome the invasion!

This game helped to make the Atari 2600 VCS famous after a rough first two years and with good reason. Although there isn't too much deep game play here because you can only move your tank left to right and basically just shoot but the Atari 2600 version has so many game variations for the players like invisible aliens, no blockers, insane difficulties, and even two players can fight the invaders at once. Boredom was rare. The Difficulty switches selects the size of the tank (A for fat and B for skinny) so you never really complain that the game is too easy. Space Invaders with its arcade feel and loads of play modes demands to be every body’s retro collection and the best news about this retro game is that it's still going fairly cheap too; a new copy should go for $1-5 dollars.
Model #2632



overall rating: 80/100

Find Space Invaders on eBay here!

For 1 or 2 players
graphics: 4/10
sound: 4/10
gameplay: 6/10
replay: 8/10

(Ryan Genno) 2002