space invaders arcade machine

The first Space Invaders arcade machine was first released to the Japanese public in 1978, no one was suspecting this would herald a new age of gaming, consequently affirming the foundations of a mainstream medium which we all love today (besides which you wouldn’t be reading this right now 🙂 You will be delighted to hear you too can play variants of your favourite titles on any of the retro arcade machines below which would befit any games room (prices include free delivery).

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  • Apex Arcade Cabinets

    Apex Arcade Cabinets

    The best-regarded, award winning classic compact 20” square-screen 2 player upright arcade machine. Fits anywhere.

    • Fits Anywhere
    • T3 Group Test Winner
    • 4:3 Authentic Screen Size
    • Great in any Living Space/Office
    • Full 2-Player Panel
    • Light Gun Compatible
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  • Evo Arcade Cabinets

    Evo Arcade Cabinets

    Where past meets modern in the largest, most comfortable 28” widescreen 2 player upright arcade cab.

    • Huge 28 " Widescreen
    • Great for Classic and Modern Gaming
    • Add Spinner & Trackball
    • Awesome For Light-Gun Games
    • As used by Capcom
    • 4 Player Panel version available
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  • Synergy Arcade Cabinets

    Synergy Arcade Cabinets

    The ultimate 20” square screen classic compact tabletop.

    • The Original Tabletop 20"
    • 4:3 Ratio Screen
    • Both Vertical & Horizontal panels
    • Perfect for the living room
    • Sleek, Elegant Design
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  • Synergy X Arcade Cabinets

    Synergy X Arcade Cabinets

    The ultimate 28” widescreen modern larger tabletop.

    • 28' Widescreen Display
    • Easily Fit Trackballs & Spinners
    • The Best Tabletop Money Can Buy
    • Perfect for Modern & Classic Gaming
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  • Nu-Gen Arcade Cabinets

    Nu-Gen Arcade Cabinets

    Our modern Japanese-style 32” widescreen 2PL/4PL arcade machine with its smart curves and elegant design.

    • Available in Sit-down and Stand-up models
    • Massive 32" 4k Screen
    • Perfect for 4 Player Gaming
    • Huge 95cm Control Panel
    • As Used For MK 10 & 11 Tournaments
    • Often copied- never bettered
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  • Apex Racing Cabinet

    Apex Racer Cabinet

    The only Genuine arcade racer on the market with Real Arcade Controls!

    • Real Happ Suzo Arcade Controls
    • Meant for Arcade Racing
    • Play All Your Favourites
    • No Compromise In Quality
    • Add A Light Gun For Extra Fun!
    • Available in Play, Media & Elite
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  • GT Arcade Cabinets

    GT Arcade Cabinets

    The most versatile and budget-friendly cabinets on the market today.

    • Available in stand-up, cocktail & coffee table styles
    • 19” 4:3 HD MVA Screen + Arcade Game System
    • Handmade in the UK to Highest Standard
    • So Simple to Use – Just Plug and Play
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Space Invaders arcade machine creator Tomohiro Nishikado

Space Invaders was developed by Tomohiro Nishikado who was born in March 1944 in Osaka, Japan and consequently graduated from Tokyo Denki University in 1968 with a degree in engineering.

Prior to developing Space Invaders, he previously produced 10 games. However he’s also credited for a few later games which are firm favourites. Such as Chase HQ II (Special Criminal Investigation), Darius II and Darius Twin.

He eventually left Taito in 1996 to start his own company but has since returned to Taito in an advisory capacity

Why aliens for Space Invaders arcade machine?

Originally the aliens were going to be planes- but they were hard to animate with the limited hardware. Then human soldiers, however it wasn’t deemed proper the player shoots soldiers, finally aliens marched forth in their place with the player taking the guise of a laser cannon.

Meanwhile Star Wars was in full flow along with other films such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Trek The Original Motion Picture, one might as well jump on the bandwagon. Games at the time prior to Space Invaders generally consisted of various iterations of Pong so this was a much needed breath of fresh air. Although Mr Nishikado states: “I wasn’t influenced by any social phenomenon or issues, my aim was purely to create a game that was interesting and fun to play.”

The 100 Yen Myth

To say the original space invaders arcade machine was a hit is certainly an understatement. Imagine a single arcade game which was to cause a 100 yen coin shortage due to its popularity. However, despite it’s mega hit status- i’m sorry to say- this is a myth. Without a doubt it’s just not possible to be true. But it only served to make Space Invaders more popular so the urban legend was never debunked by Taito.
Think about it- the arcade owners would take the coins to the bank- simple as that and the coinage would go back into circulation. According to Japanese residents there was no noticeable change during the Space Invaders invasion of ’78.

Click here for the original article- it's a great read:

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The First Killer App?

Like Sonic The Hedgehog on the Megadrive, Tekken on the Playstation and Street Fighter II on the Super Nintendo- for the Atari VCS Space Invaders was that killer app spurring sales to quadruple.

Space Invaders was incidentally also the first ever official licensing for an arcade game on a home console. For the first time ever- an arcade title could be played in the comfort of your own home. Over 2 million units were sold in the first year of release.

Space Invaders was moreover one of the seminal titles which propelled the arcade machine from the bars and arcade venues to the department store and more mainstream locale. With games like Pac-Man soon to follow, this pastime was markedly picked up by a more mature audience. The average person began to take notice, changing the arcade game from beyond a novelty into a serious global industry.

That is to say people actually stood in line for hours to patiently wait to have a game. And people watched other people play, perhaps a precursor to the massive LAN parties and multi million dollar competitions we see today driven by blockbuster titles such as Fortnite and Starcraft.

Interesting Space Invaders Arcade Machine Facts

Even though a Space invaders arcade machine wasn’t the first shooting game with Space War coming out years earlier in 1961- it’s definitely the most cloned with over 100 variants in production.
An owner of one of these machines could pay off the initial cost within a month which made it a no-brainer.

Space Invaders was the first arcade game to employ a high score leaderboard, a staple of any arcade game thereafter.

The first youth corrupting retro arcade game?

With a new craze catching teenagers’ pocket money, parents and the public cooked up a storm. The Japanese Parents Teacher Association cited the game as promoting truancy.
On North American shores, a new condition was identified called “Space Invaders Elbow”. Here in Britain- Labour MP George Foulkes deemed Space Invaders “deviant” with addictive properties.

Conservative MP jumped to Space Invaders’ defence saying it was “Innocent and harmless pleasure” as he played it at the time. I guess nothing changes- the same argument rages now, although it’s hard to imagine the few pixels causing such an uproar compared to today’s high fidelity loot box ridden carnage.

The game was also seen by some as an invasion of Japanese culture upon the US audience. With Americans priding themselves on being the best and in conjunction with the automotive market’s sales and production of Japanese cars on Western shores, the Japanese economic growth was threatening.

The new age of the consoles is coming

The VCS release of Space Invaders was to prop up the home console sales until the crash of ’83 thanks to a dearth of bad or uninteresting games and consumers simply lost faith (the final straw being the unplayable and landfilled E.T. The Extra Terrestrial).

This was until the Nintendo Entertainment System came out to bring a new era of blockbuster multi games running home consoles which has perpetuated ever since. This cemented the Japanese as the nation which created the best arcade games which also threatened the American identity.

A Space Invaders arcade machine and Popular culture- when does a game cross boundaries?

The aliens are so iconic, they are as well known as the Coca Cola brand and as such are used in mainstream and subversive media alike.

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    Don’t Be A Space Invader

    As used by Highways England to warn drivers to keep back. This works on a lot of levels aside from the obvious text.

  • IMG 1017 150x150 by Bespoke Arcades


    A guerilla artist who creates a Space Invaders alien mosaic in various cities in the world.

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    The Museum Of Modern Art is to include a Space Invaders arcade machine as part of its permanent collection.

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    The Guinness World Of Records entitled the most popular game of all time thanks to its artistic merit and technological advancements.

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    Heinz Invaders

    Heinz released a series of Space Invaders themed foods. We bet they taste out of this world!

The most obscure Space Invaders arcade machines

There have been over 100 different versions of Space Invaders machines, making it Taito’s most profitable piece of Intellectual Property to date earning the company millions from not only games but also from merchandise. But here’s a look at the lesser known Space Invaders games.

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    Space Invaders The Beat Attacker

    Marking the 30th anniversary of Space Invaders- one to three players can partake in shooting aliens by stomping on big buttons on the floor to fire a bullet up the massive screen. There were only around 500 machines made

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    Space Invaders Frenzy

    Primarily another redemption game but it can be played without spewing tickets. Imagine Space Invaders on a big screen with a fixed light gun and a twisted take on the Space Invaders we know and love. It certainly has the wow factor and screen size to draw people in

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    Space Invaders Get Even

    This is a relatively inexpensive title costing 500 points on the Wii where you take the role of an invading force and as the title says- you get even! Good fun- quite a departure from the usual gameplay but is a good take on a beloved franchise.

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    Space Invaders Virtual Collection

    This is a relatively inexpensive title costing 500 points on the Wii where you take the role of an invading force and as the title says- you get even! Good fun- quite a departure from the usual gameplay but is a good take on a beloved franchise.

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    Pepsi Invaders (Coke-Wins)

    This is a strange one- Coca Cola commissioned a special version of the game for executives where they couldn’t lose. Apparently only 125 are in existence. Instead of the usual aliens, players shoot lines spelling Pepsi. This would be the first instance of advertising used in video games.

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    Space Invaders X Pac-Man

    This game was only available for approximately 1 month on Japan’s NTT DoComo service. This was also made to celebrate Namco’s 50th birthday as well as Pac-Man’s 25th. This game is a crossover which featured the games’ characters in the other games.

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  • space invaders 1 by Bespoke Arcades

    Space Invaders Pinball

    This is a relatively inexpensive title costing 500 points on the Wii where you take the role of an invading force and as the title says- you get even! Good fun- quite a departure from the usual gameplay but is a good take on a beloved franchise.

  • space invaders arcade graffiti 600x450 by Bespoke Arcades

    Space Invaders World War

    This is also somewhat of a curiosity. This was a Flash-based worldwide multiplayer title created as a competition between countries to see which would get the high score. The game was live for just over a year and was created as a 30 year anniversary of Taito’s most well known IP.

  • arkanoid vs space invaders gif

    Arkanoid vs Space Invaders

    This game was only available for approximately 1 month on Japan’s NTT DoComo service. This was also made to celebrate Namco’s 50th birthday as well as Pac-Man’s 25th. This game is a crossover which featured the games’ characters in the other games.

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