Galaxian is a 1979 fixed shooter arcade game developed by Namco. The player assumes control of the Galaxip starfighter in its mission to protect Earth from waves of aliens. Gameplay involves destroying each formation of aliens, who dive down towards the player in an attempt to hit them. Galaxian was Namco’s answer to Space Invaders, a similar space shooter released the previous year by rival developer Taito. Space Invaders was a sensation in Japan, and Namco wanted a game that could compete against it. Galaxian is one of the first video games to feature RGB color graphics.
Galaxian was Namco’s first major arcade hit. It is one of the best-selling arcade games of all time in North America, with over 40,000 arcade units sold by 1982. The game was celebrated for its gameplay and usage of true color graphics. In retrospect, it has gained fame for its historical importance and technological accomplishments. Its success led to several sequels and reimaginings; most notable of these is Galaga, which usurped the original in popularity.
Galaxian is a fixed shooter video game. The player controls a starship called the “Galaxip”, the objective being to clear each round of aliens. The enemies appear in formation towards the top of the screen, with two escort ships, labeled the “Galaxian Flagship” or “Galboss”. Enemies will make a divebomb towards the bottom of the screen while shooting projectiles in an attempt to hit the player. The Galaxip can only fire a single shot on-screen, and must wait for it to hit the top before being able to fire another, due to limitations of the hardware.
Flagships will make a divebomb with two red escort ships – shooting all three of these will award the player bonus points, with extra points awarded to the destruction of the flagship. Enemy movement will increase as the game progresses alongside the number of shots that the enemies fire. Rounds are indicated by small flags at the bottom of the screen. The game’s attract mode featured a slim scenario, reading “WE ARE THE GALAXIANS. MISSION: DESTROY ALIENS” which could be read either and the enemies as the “Galaxians” and the player as the ‘aliens” or vice versa..