Galaxian is an arcade game released in 1979. It was ported to the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, ColecoVision, Bally Astrocade, Nintendo Famicom, and home computers. It was followed by at least two sequels, Galaga and Gaplus.
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 (blue), Emissaries (purple), Hornets (red), and Commanders (flagships), 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.
Moon Alien Part 2
Nichibutsu released a modified version of this game for the arcades as Moon Alien Part 2. Besides the graphics, the only main difference between this and Galaxian is the inclusion of an energy meter that drains with every second you spend clearing a wave. If you don't clear the wave before you run out of energy, your ship is destroyed.
- Blue Galaxian (Drone) -- 30 points in formation, 60 when attacking
- Purple Galaxian (Emissary) -- 40 points in formation, 80 when attacking
- Red Galaxian (Escort) -- 50 points in formation, 100 when attacking
- Galaxian Flagship—60 points in formation, 150 when attacking alone, 200 when attacking with one Escort, 300 when attacking with two Escorts, 800 when both Escorts are destroyed first when attacking
Galaxian was one of the missions included in the Gorf arcade game, but was left out of all home versions of the game due to copyright issues.
The Bally Astrocade version was later renamed Galactic Invasion due to copyright issues. However, it still appears as Galaxian on the game menu select screen.
Namco Galaxian Hardware
The Namco Galaxian arcade system board used specialized graphics hardware supporting RGB color, multi-colored sprites and tilemap backgrounds. Its introduction of colorful tilemap graphics distinguished it from the Taito 8080 monochrome framebuffer system of Space Invaders. Namco Galaxian also introduced a sprite line buffer system, which was adopted by later arcade system boards such as the Namco Pac-Man, Midway's Tron hardware and Sega Z80. The Galaxian hardware was widely used by other game companies during the golden age of arcade video games, including Centuri, Gremlin, Irem, Konami, Midway, Nichibutsu, Sega, and Taito, as well as bootleg manufacturers.
Nintendo also credited the Namco Galaxian hardware as the basis for their own Nintendo Classic hardware used for the Radar Scope and Donkey Kong arcade games, and subsequently the Famicom (Nintendo Entertainment System) console. According to Famicom designer Masayuki Uemura, "despite Galaxian displaying many enemies on the screen at once, players were treated to a background of smoothly-animated glittering stardust. “This was a shock to engineers,” Uemura recalls. Galaxian used a sprite (object) system. It animated preloaded sprites by shifting the coordinates on the scrolling background. This function, now an integral part of modern-day game consoles, was pioneered by Galaxian.
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