Space Invaders: The Original Game is exactly what the title says—an almost exact recreation of the original Space Invaders arcade game. No fancy gimmicks. No crazy AI. No absurdly written, tacked-on story line about a cold-as-ice space marine sent as the Earth’s last stand against the alien threat. Just the classic, 1978 action of fending off waves upon waves of space bugs as they slowly descend upon the planet surface in a zig-zag fashion, with only a laser cannon and your cat-like reflexes to assist you.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. Space Invaders was indeed an amazing and revolutionary game when it originally came out, and still remains to this day as one of the greatest video games of all time. Over the years, the game has managed to embed itself almost universally in our popular culture, a feat that not many video games can claim. It would be difficult to find someone of just about any age today that doesn’t recognize the iconic alien creatures or the rhythmic, low-frequency pulses emitted as the invaders descend upon your lone ship. Space Invaders and its simple yet addictive stylings helped pave the way for the entire video game industry to reach the state where it is today.
You might think that now is where I would start to delve into the counter-point, where I begin to talk about how Space Invaders would quickly get left in the dust by the bigger and better games to come out over the later years as the capabilities of computers, arcade machines, and home consoles improved, but that really isn’t the case. While it’s true that many games have surpassed the bar set by Space Invaders, we’ve also had to deal with a bevy of horribly punishing and cheap platformers, half-assed merchandising tie-ins, clones of clones of clones of some random game from the 1980’s that no one knows about any more, and E.T. for the Atari 2600. You can even find a plethora of examples of completely awful games for the Super Nintendo on this site alone!
Further still, we have seen the target audience of video games make a shift over the years, from games with simple mechanics that one could pick up on somewhat easily using only two buttons and a directional pad, to more in-depth titles using significantly more complicated controls, dominated by angry 12-year-old boys screaming into Xbox 360 headsets with some of the most racist, sexist, and obscene language one could imagine. Much of this has started to come full-circle though, with companies like PopCap a handful of mobile phone developers making a decent profit on much more simple and accessible games that have arguably reached a larger fanbase than even some of the most popular, big-budget titles today.
But still, it’s kind of annoying that all we get is a fairly simple copy of some old arcade game Taito had lying around in its back catalog.