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Space Invaders

aka: Invasion, Invasores do Espaço, Space Monsters
Moby ID: 8806
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Description official descriptions

Earth is under attack from rows of bomb-dropping aliens, and you need to defend it! The rows of aliens begin at the top of the screen, and you control a laser cannon at the bottom of the screen. Your goal is to earn points by shooting the aliens before they can land. The aliens march back and forth, and each time the end of the screen is reached they will drop one row closer to the bottom. Shoot them all, and you move on to the next (tougher) level, but if even one of them lands the game is over. From time to time a flying saucer will pass by along the top of the screen; shoot this to earn extra points. Just above your laser cannon are four (or three, depending on the platform played on) shields; these can be used to hide from the alien's bombs, but will also block your own shots. You begin the game with a limited number of laser cannons, and if all of them are bombed the game ends.


  • スペースインベーダーズ - Japanese spelling
  • 太空侵略者 - Chinese spelling (simplified)

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Credits (Arcade version)

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Average score: 71% (based on 25 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 158 ratings with 2 reviews)

One of the original shoot-em-ups, that proves to be much difficult than the rest

The Good
Those who haven't heard or played Space Invaders before, the main object is to slide your ship left and right, shooting all 55 invaders on screen, while dodging their lasers. To make matters worse, the invaders are moving down towards Earth. And just when you thought you killed all invaders, fresh new ones appear on screen. Four barriers are provided for your own protection, but the invaders will take a chuck out of them with their lasers if they happen to shoot anywhere near them. You will receive 20, 30, or 40 points for each invader you kill. A passing spaceship will also fly past, and by shooting this ship, who knows how many points you are awarded.

In the arcade version of space Invaders, all the invaders are white; but in the NES version, they are color-coded, with two rows of green and cyan invaders, and only one row of purple invaders. Each one of them turn to yellow and red once they get close to Earth. You have three lives, and you lose one of them if one of the invaders hit your ship. As usual, lose all your three lives and the current game ends.

Space Invaders must be one of the most difficult games ever. More often than not, the invaders will block your shots simply by shooting its lasers so it collides with yours, and both lasers disappear. Furthermore, if invaders turn yellow or red, it is much more difficult to shoot them, as you are directly underneath the invader, and you won't have the chance to slide away out of trouble.

The Bad
Too difficult for me. I can't quite get to the next round.

The Bottom Line
With repetitive levels and greater difficulty, this game might not be your cup of tea. For a greater experience, play Taito's Super Space Invaders or the remake.


NES · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2004

Lives up to the original Arcade game!

The Good
I guess Space Invaders is one of those games you just have to play at one point or another. The Atari 2600 version isn't a bad choice to play. It feels quite similar to the original arcade version. I actually thought the sound was better than the arcade version's. Or well, at least it is less mind-numbingly aggravating.

As far as graphics go: well it's the Atari 2600 so we can't expect much, but they get the job done. The aren't overshadowed by its big brother on the arcade, which is good.

The Bad
The game is rather hard, just like its arcade counterpart. The start of a level is alright, but once there are only a few invaders left they will fly around the screen like mad, which makes timing your bullets right quite difficult.

Quite frankly I couldn't say I had the dedication in me to try to master this game so that I could get really far. It might have been one of the best games ever when it was released, but as far as I'm concerned I'd say it was quickly surpassed by others of its genre like Galaxian, Galaga, Asteroids and Missile Command.

The Bottom Line
Space Invaders can be fun to kill some time with, but I doubt anyone these days will want to spend hours on it to become a real pro. There are just better games in this genre that have more depth and variation to them, which make them a lot more fun.

Space Invaders is definitely a game you should play at one point in your life, for its historical relevance. Though I would recommend the MAME version for that since it emulates the original Arcade game. Though the Atari-2600 version is a good second if you can get your hands on it.

Atari 2600 · by vedder (68292) · 2014


Subject By Date
Sound volume in arcade version Servo (57056) Aug 27th, 2014


1001 Video Games

The Arcade version of Space Invaders appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Atari 2600 version

Space Invaders for the Atari 2600 was the first home license of a coin-op video game. It is said that people were buying Atari 2600 just so they could play the game at home.


The "space" invaders are creatures from the sea-octopi, squid, and crabs. The resemblance is much easier to spot in the coin-op version.


It is rumored that the arcade version of this game was responsible for a coin shortage in Japan upon it's initial release.

Movie plans

In 2014, Warner Brothers secured the movie rights to Space Invaders and attached Akiva Goldsman, Joby Harold and Tory Tunnell to produce through Weed Road and Safehouse Pictures, respectively.

References to the game

  • Space Invaders is referenced in the Futurama episode Anthology of Interest II. The episode consists of three shorts; one of which involves Fry asking the "what-if" machine "what if life was more like a video game." The "Invaders" are actually alien spacecrafts. There is a scene that recreates the game; the scene even involves Fry shooting through his own shield.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons TVS show titled "Who Shot Mr. Burns? Part Two" there is a mention of Space Invaders in this exchange between Groundskeeper Willie and Chief Wiggum:
    Willie: It's impossible for me to fire a pistol. If you'll check me medical records, you'll see I have a cripplin' arthritis in me index fingerrrs. Look at 'em! [holds them up] I got it from "Space Invaders" in 1977. Wiggum: Aw, yeah. That was a pretty addictive video game. Willie: [surprised] Video game?
  • The arcade version of the game is referenced in Iain Banks 1984 novel The Wasp Factory.


  • EGM
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #4 (Titles That Revolutionized Console Gaming) (Arcade version)
  • Retro Gamer
    • October 2004 (Issue #9) – #6 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
    • Issue #46 - #14 in the "Top 25 Atari 2600 Games" poll
  • The Strong National Museum of Play
    • 2016 – Introduced into the World Video Game Hall of Fame

Information also contributed by Chris Chidester, gamewarrior, Marquerite Richardson, PCGamer77, Scaryfun and Sciere

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by wanax.

Wii added by Michael Cassidy. SG-1000 added by Daniel Johansson. PC-98 added by Infernos. Atari 5200 added by RKL. Sharp Zaurus, iPad, iPhone, Game Boy, Android, Arcade, Windows 3.x, J2ME added by Kabushi. Atari 8-bit added by Servo. Terminal added by R3dn3ck3r. MSX added by koffiepad. NES added by Katakis | カタキス.

Additional contributors: Servo, Unicorn Lynx, Guy Chapman, chirinea, Alaka, vedder, j.raido 【雷堂嬢太朗】, Thomas Helsing, Patrick Bregger, Rik Hideto, FatherJack, ZeTomes, SoMuchChaotix.

Game added April 5th, 2003. Last modified November 7th, 2023.