Video Game Thoughts: Galaga & Galaxian

Galaga & Galaxian were 1981 and 1979 arcade shooter games by Namco that I played on the Game Boy. These were the next iteration of the Space Invaders-style game. Galaga was actually the sequel to Galaxian. They were originally released separately, but in later years they always came in one package because they were so similar in gameplay.

Galaxian played almost the same as Space Invaders, but the enemies were now insects. In addition to firing at the player’s gun, the insects could dive towards the gun to attempt a suicide bombing. The player didn’t lose if enemies reached the bottom of the screen. Instead, the enemies that weren’t destroyed reappeared at the top to do another diving round. Galaga was almost exactly the same except it featured more types of enemies for more varied gameplay and smoother animations.

Galaga & Galaxian was another game I got on recommendation from my mom. She played a lot of these arcade Game Boy games too. Like Space Invaders, I had a lot of fun with these two games on vacations, but at home I was always more interested in longer games. Well Galaga & Galaxian could be long if I was really good, but they didn’t have a lot of actual “content”. There was nothing really wrong with the gameplay. I would just quickly reach the limits of my abilities. Then it was time to move on. At home I wanted games that would fill up the whole evening.

Of course, I was spoiled as a kid. Many kids around the world never get to play games, let alone being able to choose which games they want to play. The ability to choose is a blessing that comes with money and freedom. I didn’t have tons of money myself — my allowance was around $20.00 per month — but I did have birthday and Christmas gifts where I could ask for almost anything I wanted and usually would get.

I did know I was lucky to some extent because my dad had told stories about the Christmas gifts they had gotten. They usually got one present for the whole family, eight kids. The kids could ask for things, but they weren’t going to get it. Their parents could only afford one present for the whole family. I wasn’t old enough to for this to sink in though. It was only years later that I could understand, which led to me learning to be happy with what I have.

This maturity with age reminds me of how older people sometimes get angry at younger people for not having their wisdom. I understand it would be frustrating having learned so much and not having a young body to take advantage of it, but that wisdom did help. It got the older person to where they are. They survived a long life, making mistakes, but learning all the time. Without that wisdom they never would have gotten to a ripe old age, so they really did get to take advantage of their wisdom. Otherwise, they would have already died. This is part of learning to be happy with what I have. I can’t complain about what could be or what should be. I just have to be happy with what is.

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