Video Game Thoughts: Space Invaders

Space Invaders was a 1978 arcade shooter game by Taito that I played on the Game Boy. It was one of the first top-down shooter games made. The top of the screen was filled with a bunch of small aliens that could fire projectiles down at the player’s gun. If the player’s gun was hit, they would lose a life. Each game started with a few lives and more could be gained if the player shot down enough aliens.

The aliens went side to side but also slowly made their way down the screen. The player also lost a life if any aliens reached the bottom of the screen. The game was difficult because the player could only fire one laser at a time with the gun. Only when the laser had hit a target or went off the screen could another shot be fired. As the player destroyed aliens, the remaining ones would move faster. The higher level the player got, the faster the aliens started, making it even harder. There was no end to the game. It went until the player could no longer keep up.

I never got to play this game in the arcade because it was before my time, but I did get to enjoy it on Game Boy. One day we were at the local Toys R Us. I was looking for a game but didn’t really know what to get. My mom happened to see Space Invaders and told me how she had fun with it in the arcade. Over time, I developed my preferences for video games but not then. I took her advice and bought Space Invaders. It was really a good game for handheld. On the go, players are looking for simple, easy to pick-up gameplay. That’s Space Invaders. The game got difficult quickly but started out easy enough. I always enjoyed trying another game to see if I could get further.

This focused gameplay was also Space Invaders’ only negative aspect. After a few times playing, I usually got bored and was ready to play another game. It was perfect for just thirty minutes or less a day, but I had so much free time as a kid, I was looking for games that would fill up four or more hours a day. I probably played the game off and on for five years. I had pretty much reached my limit in how far I could get. There was no reason to play more. Space Invaders is the kind of game I would appreciate these days, but not back then when I had so much free time.

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