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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 ColecoVision Galaxians attacking!
Galaxian ZX Spectrum I'm currently defenseless since my one shot missed and is still on screen
Galaxian Atari 5200 Look out, here come the Galaxians!
Galaxian Atari 8-bit Gameplay on the first level

Promo Images

There are no promo images for this game

Alternate Titles

  • "ギャラクシアン" -- Japanese spelling

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User Reviews

Much better than its PC counterpart NES Katakis | カタキス (39652)
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 (9123)
A solid Space Invaders clone. PC Booter Tomer Gabel (4646)

Critic Reviews

Woodgrain Wonderland Atari 2600 Feb 23, 2017 A- 91
The Atari Times Atari 2600 Apr 08, 2002 90 out of 100 90 (UK) Arcade Oct 25, 2007 9 out of 10 90
8-bit Central Retro Gaming ColecoVision 2012 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars 90
neXGam Atari 2600 Jun 27, 2013 8.5 out of 10 85
8-bit Central Retro Gaming Atari 2600 2011 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
VideoGame Atari 2600 Aug, 1991 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Game Freaks 365 Atari 2600 2002 7.1 out of 10 71
Tilt Atari 2600 Sep, 1983 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 50
The Atari Times Atari 5200 Dec 05, 2006 23 out of 100 23


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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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Contributed to by Trixter (9123), PCGamer77 (3233), Michael Cassidy (20959), Infernos (19218), RKL (5736), Kabushi (211598), Martin Smith (66869), Pseudo_Intellectual (60787), Terok Nor (27025) and Servo (57398)