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Galaxian is a shoot 'em up in which the player is at the bottom of the screen, with an arrangement of aliens at the top. The player moves left and right to aim at an alien, then shoots a bullet up the screen, and the alien it hits is killed. The aliens are classed as Drones, Emissaries, Hornets and Commanders, with those higher up the screen scoring more points when destroyed. At set intervals an enemy will move down the screen towards you, escorting a bomber, which is a moment of high danger. Clear a wave and another is generated.


Galaxian Atari 2600 Title screen / the game screen
Galaxian Atari 2600 A game in progress
Galaxian Atari 2600 Watch out for dive bombing Galaxians!

Promo Images

Galaxian Magazine Advertisement


Alternate Titles

  • "Zero Time" -- Spanish Petaco release
  • "ギャラクシアン" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

There are no reviews for the Atari 2600 release of this game. You can use the links below to write your own review or read reviews for the other platforms of this game.

Critic Reviews

The Video Game Critic Nov 17, 2009 A- 91
Woodgrain Wonderland Feb 23, 2017 A- 91
The Atari Times Apr 08, 2002 90 out of 100 90
neXGam Jun 27, 2013 8.5 out of 10 85
Computer Games Sep, 1983 B+ 83
VideoGame Aug, 1991 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
8-bit Central Retro Gaming 2011 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Dec, 1983 15 out of 20 75
Game Freaks 365 2002 7.1 out of 10 71
Tilt Sep, 1983 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 50


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1001 Video Games

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


Atari 2600 programmer Mark Ackerman, at the time working in Atari's "think-tank" GCC, was granted a patent for his technique invented for the 2600 port of Galaxian, allowing eight sprites to be displayed in one row.


Atari's 2600 release of Galaxian came with the comic book Atari Force #5. Here is that comic at


Galaxian (and its clone, Cosmic Crusader) get away with relatively high framerates on the original 4.77MHz PC because they don't use the entire screen for a playfield; the right fifth of the screen (64 pixels) is unused. Another side-effect of shortening the playfield to a width of 256 pixels is the optimization of game calculations, stemming from the fact that horizontal coordinates fit in a single byte instead of two.


Was later re-released under the Thunder Mountain label. What makes this trivia? Usually only Mindscape games were released under Thunder Mountain... Galaxian was originally licensed to Atari.


  • Retro Gamer
    • October 2004 (Issue #9) – #49 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
Information also contributed by Игги Друге, LepricahnsGold and FatherJack

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PCGamer77 (3225) added Galaxian (Atari 2600) on Apr 05, 2003
Other platforms contributed by Trixter (9115), PCGamer77 (3225), Michael Cassidy (21110), Infernos (36943), RKL (5734), Kabushi (257603), Martin Smith (78737), Pseudo_Intellectual (64350), vermilion1 (4241), Terok Nor (32358) and Servo (57355)
atari mania