Year Of Release: 1981
Released in 1981 by Namco, Galaga was actually a sequel to the 1979 smash hit Galaxian also produced by Namco. Galaga would be another huge hit for the guys at Namco and would go on to be one of the highest grossing games of its era. Its popularity was so high that even as gaming moved into the 90’s. Many arcades all over the world would still have a Galaga arcade machine in them.
While you can clearly tell that this is a sequel to Galaxian. Galaga made just a ton of improvements. The idea of the game is that you play as a star ship who needs to shoot down these insect type aliens. These aliens will fill up the screen as you play and it’s up to you to shoot them down. It’s pretty cool who the aliens will attack in unisons and seem like a swarm of insects. You move your ship from left to right and need to have your finger in the trigger. Once they are all killed you move onto the next stage.
Now the improvements that Galaga made over its predecessor are pretty impressive. You now are not limited to firing just one shot at a time, but the catch here is that at the end of the level you will be told how many of your shots connected. So you will still want to make sure you are being accurate and not just firing blindly. Also as well as shooting at you, enemies will break away from the pack and try to crash into your ship. Also at points in the game a Boss Galaga will appear and try to capture your ship with its tractor beam. What is really cool here is that you can save the ship if you are skilled enough. Another fun new feature was a bonus stage which was just great for getting even more points.
In all, Galaga was a very ambitious game for its time. It was far more than what games like Galaxian, Space Invaders and even Asteroids offered gamers at the time. And while those three games are fantastic and are regarded as three of the greatest arcade games of all time. The fact is back in 1981, Galaga did make those guys playing, Space Invaders, Galaxian and Asteroids turn their heads and take notice of the new shooter on the block, Galaga.
Current High Score: 15,999,990 by Stephen Krogman
Being a huge hit, Galaga was ported to all the major home computers and video game systems of the 1980’s even now it has been re-released on things such as the Nintendo Virtual Console and the Xbox Live Arcade.
A vast amount of sequels would be released over the years. 1984 would see the release of Galpus or as some people call it, Galaga 3. Galaga 88 would be released in arcades and Galaga 90 an updated version would be released for the TurboGrafx. Namco would go back to the Galaxian name in 1990 with a very ambitious laserdisc style game that would be ported to the Playstation, five years later.
Galaga has always been a popular game, but its popularity was expanded in the recent years thanks to titles like Galaga Remix on the iOS and the Galaga Legions series.