Space Invaders

Arcade Video game published 45 years ago by Taito Corp.

Listed in MAME

Space Invaders screenshot

Space Invaders © 1978 Taito.

Space Invaders is quite simply the most influential video-game of all time. A single player moves an armed 'laser base' left or right along the bottom of the screen and shoots the endless waves of aliens marching relentlessly down the screen towards earth.

There are four buildings (shields) at the bottom of the screen that the player can hide behind, but these will eventually be destroyed by either enemy missiles or by direct contact with the invaders themselves. The player's shots will also destroy the shields.

The aliens' descent quickens as they are eliminated, making them harder to hit. A flying saucer will fly across the top of the screen at regular intervals and can be shot to earn extra points.

Goodies for Space Invaders
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Main CPU : Intel 8080 (@ 1.9968 Mhz)
Sound Chips : SN76477 (@ 1.9968 Mhz)

Players : 2

Control : 2-way Joystick
Buttons : 1 (FIRE)


Space Invaders was released on June 16, 1978 in Japan. It was also available as a cocktail model known as "T.T Space Invaders".

The development of Space Invaders only took three months, but developing the programming environment alone took almost six months.

Space Invaders was so popular in Japan that it caused a yen shortage and more coins had to be minted. Many regular produce and goods stores in Japan removed their products and converted into Space Invaders parlors overnight, complete with giant speakers broadcasting the 'thump-thump-thump' of the marching invaders. A true classic in every sense of the word.

As one of the earliest shoot'em ups, Space Invaders set precedents and helped pave the way for future titles and for the shoot'en up genre. Space Invaders popularized a more interactive style of gameplay with the enemies responding to the player controlled cannon's movement, and was the first video game to popularize the concept of achieving a high score, being the first to save the player's score. While earlier shooting games allowed the player to shoot at targets, Space Invaders was the first in which targets could fire back at the player. It was also the first game where players were given multiple lives, had to repel hordes of enemies, could take cover from enemy fire, and use destructible barriers, in addition to being the first game to use a continuous background soundtrack, with four simple diatonic descending bass notes repeating in a loop, which was dynamic and changed pace during stages, like a heartbeat sound that increases pace as enemies approached.

Space Invaders contains the first attract mode with a sense of humor. It would first display 'PLAY SPACE INVADERS' with the 'Y' in 'PLAY' upside-down, and an invader would come along taking the offending upside-down 'Y' and carrying it off the screen, and then coming back with the 'Y' right side up and putting it back in place. The invader would then disappear from the screen. The attract mode would also display 'INSERT CCOIN' and an invader would come along and bomb the offending extra 'C'.

There are exactly 55 invaders per screen and exactly 11 different in-game sounds.

Space Invaders was the first arcade game to work its way out of seedy arcades and into pizza parlors and ice cream shops.

An upright unit of the Taito release of Space Invaders appears in the Nazareth music video 'Holiday'.

Export (Licensed) releases:
"Space Invaders [Model 739]"
"Space Invaders [Model 775]"


Clone "CV Version" uses the same color monitor and color generator board as "Space Invaders Part II", where anything not black will turn red during the explosion of the player's laser base once the player has been hit by enemy fire (during actual gameplay only, not during attract mode).

Large Invader 10 points.
Medium Invader 20 points.
Small Invader 30 points.
UFO 50 to 300 points.

* When you start the game, your laser base will be in the bottom left corner of the screen, below the buildings. Your goal is to blast the invaders into dust. Keep in mind that once the invaders make it to either the right or left edge of the screen, they will drop down a row and head in the opposite direction. You should plan your strategy to prevent them from making it to an edge.

* A good strategy is to start blasting out the columns on the opposite edge of movement. This is if the invaders are moving right, they start blasting out the leftmost columns first. This way, their return trip is longer and you have more time to deal with them.

* Do not attempt to hit the invaders dead center. They fire their laser bombs from dead center and your shots will collide, wasting your shot and letting them move closer to an edge.

* Speaking of shots, you can only have one shot out at a time so make it count.

* Use your buildings to your advantage. 'Peek' around buildings to get shots and blast a hole in the middle of your buildings to give you protection while you knock out columns of invaders. Keep in mind, this protection will only last about two columns before the invaders blow open a hole wide enough to destroy your laser base.

* Every other wave of invaders starts one row lower. Eventually, the waves will start one row above your buildings. Be prepared to do some fast shooting to keep them from getting any lower because once they reach your level, the game is over.

* When you are down to taking out the last invader on a wave, that invader will zip across the screen. The strange thing is that the invader travels faster going left to right than going right to left. Keep this in mind when trying to shoot it.

* The mystery saucer (or UFO) will appear at random times. If you have a good shot at it, try to hit it. Don't go out of your way, however, to go after it; it isn't worth the risk or time wasted.

* The Hidden Message Trick : To get the hidden message, you must do the following :
1) When the demo starts, you need to press the following keys at the same time on the machine : LEFT, RIGHT, FIRE, 1P START, 2P START.
2) Continue to press these keys rapidly as fast as you can.
3) If you are successful, the message ('TAITO CORP') will appear under the high score.

* Shot Counting Trick : To get 300 every time you hit the mystery saucer. It is named the 'Furrer Trick' named after Eric Furrer who perfected it. To do this trick, perform the following :
1) Once the new level begins, start counting the shots from your base.
2) When you have fired 22 shots, stop shooting and wait for the mystery saucer.
3) Use the 23rd shot to blast the mystery saucer.
4) After this, start counting shots again, this time count only to 14.
5) Use the 15th shot to hit the mystery saucer.
6) Continue using the 14 shot rule until the level is finished.
7) At the next wave, start with the 22 shot rule, then use the 14 shot rule to finish that wave.
8) Remember, all shots count regardless of hits or misses.

* Eric Furrer writes : Here's a variant of the Counting Trick that most people don't know and it's the exact trick I used to play that darn game for 36 hours over 20 years ago. The shot count trick works great for level 1,2,3 but you can't use 22-14-14 counts for mystery ships on the 4th wave because the invaders are too low. If you wait around for the ship after 22-14, then the invaders will be down too quick and you will surely die. Most players at this point do a 22 count and abandon the remaining 14 counts and just clear the board. This slows point accumulation.

My solution is simple and the shot count works in progressions as well : On the 4th wave count 22, wait, and clobber the 300. Now instead of counting 14, shoot the 29 invaders in the bottom rows and get the ship. Now the invaders are high enough to do two more 14's.

Here's the grid for rolling the machine's score in about 6 minutes by the forth wave using 29. Otherwise, you'd have to wait until the 5th wave. Seems minor, but it saves 30 seconds per roll, which could mean a 30 minute lead against a good player on a head to head speed match, a difference of about 50,000 points!

1st wave - 22, 14, 14, 14, 14, 14 (bonus = 3000 + 990 = 3990 first wave)
2nd wave - 22, 14, 14, 14 (bonus = 1200 + 990 = 2190 total score now = 6180)
3rd wave - 22, 14, 14, 14 (bonus = 1200 + 990 = 2190 total score now = 8370)
4th wave - 22, 29, 14 (bonus = 900 + 990 = 1890 total score now = 0260 or 10260) (if you counted 22, 14, you couldn't get the 3rd 14 without severe risk of death row)
5th wave - 22, 29, 14 (same as 4th wave)
6th wave - 22, 14
7th wave - 22 14
8th wave - 22
9th wave - 22

Then back to the first wave!!


1. Space Invaders (1978, ARC)
2. Space Invaders Part II (1979, ARC)
3. Return of the Invaders (1985, ARC)
4. Majestic Twelve - The Space Invaders Part IV (1990, ARC)
5. Space Invaders DX (1994, ARC)
6. Akkanvader (1995, ARC)
7. Space Invaders Virtual Collection (1995, Virtual Boy)
8. Space Invaders X (2000, PS)
9. Space Invaders Anniversary (2003, ARC)
10. Space Invaders DS (2005, DS)
11. Space Invaders - Galaxy Beat (2005, PSP)
12. Space Invaders Extreme (2008, DS/PSP)
13. Space Invaders Extreme 2 (2009, DS)
14. Space Invaders Frenzy (2017, ARC)


Designed & programmed by: Tomohiro Nishikado


NOTE: For ports released outside Japan, please see the Midway upright model entry.

japan Atari 2600 (1983)
japan Sega SG-1000 (1985) "Space Invaders [Model G-1045]"
japan Nintendo Famicom (apr.17, 1985) "Space Invaders [Model 01 TF-4500]"
japan Nintendo Virtual Boy (dec.1, 1995) "Space Invaders - Virtual Collection [Model VUE-VSPJ-JPN]"
japan Sony PS2 (jul.28, 2005) "Taito Memories Joukan [Model SLPM-66057]" : Color version
japan Sony PS2 (aug.25, 2005) "Taito Memories Gekan [Model SLPM-66092]"

japan Bandai WonderSwan (1999)
japan Sony PSP (may.12, 2005) "Space Invaders Pocket [Model ULJM-05015]"

japan MSX (1985)
japan Sharp X68000 (1989)
japan NEC PC-9801 (1992)

japan VFD handheld game (19??) by Gakken


Game's ROM.
Game's picture.
F.A.Q. by Kevin Butler A.K.A. War Doc