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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 ZX Spectrum The galaxian formation...
Galaxian Atari 5200 Look out, here come the Galaxians!
Galaxian Arcade Enemies attack!
Galaxian Arcade Push start button

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

Much better than its PC counterpart NES Katakis | カタキス (42933)
Easy to pick up and play but difficult to master. Quite addicting! NES Ivan Obretenov (33)
An extremely faithful conversion of the original arcade game. PC Booter Trixter (9115)
A solid Space Invaders clone. PC Booter Tomer Gabel (4634)

Critic Reviews

The Video Game Critic ColecoVision Mar 03, 2001 A 100
Computer Games Atari 2600 Sep, 1983 B+ 83
VideoGame Atari 2600 Aug, 1991 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
8-bit Central Retro Gaming Atari 5200 2011 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60
Retro Archives NES Aug 04, 2021 12 out of 20 60
Retro Archives MSX Aug 04, 2021 11.5 out of 20 58
Retro Archives ColecoVision Aug 04, 2021 11.5 out of 20 58
Retro Archives ZX Spectrum Aug 04, 2021 11 out of 20 55
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) MSX Feb, 1988 5.2 out of 12 43
Retro Archives VIC-20 Aug 04, 2021 8.5 out of 20 42


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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 AtariAge.com


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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Contributed to by Trixter (9115), PCGamer77 (3225), Michael Cassidy (21109), Infernos (37984), RKL (5734), Kabushi (257705), Martin Smith (79909), Pseudo_Intellectual (64556), vermilion1 (4241), Terok Nor (32574) and Servo (57355)
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