As seen on the Atari 2600

Galaxian is a Fixed Shooter released in 1979 by Namco. Based heavily on Taito's Space Invaders, it was one of the first games to feature RGB sprites. It also began Namco's lucrative partnership with Bally Midway.

Galaxian was followed by Galaga and the resulting series is referred to alternately as the Galaga Series or the Galaxian series.


In Galaxian, you play as the Galaxip, a starfighter that is on a mission to destroy the Galaxian army. The Galaxian army is arranged in a format similar to that of the Space Invaders, but rather than slowing inching their way down the screen, one to three of them will dive down the screen, attempting to crash into your ship. During this time, they will fire more projectiles than usual and if they fail to hit, they will return to the formation from the top of the screen. The player can only fire a single projectile at a time, and cannot fire another until it leaves the screen, either through the top or by hitting an enemy. Players are awarded more points depending on when the enemy is hit, with the lowest value being when they are in formation, and steadily rising based on how far they get down the screen during their charge. The highest value target is the Galboss, the red, yellow and blue ship, which is escorted by two red and blue Galaxians.

Galaxian's primary innovations are in its presentation. The game features a scrolling starfield in the background and multicolored sprites. It also features early video game music, with a short jingle starting the game and a droning soundtrack during gameplay.

Versions and Ports Edit

There are five known arcade versions of Galaxian: Two by Namco, two by Bally Midway and one by Taito. The first Namco version and the Taito version are essentially identical, other than a change in logo. The initial Midway release lowers the default number of lives, though eases the score requirements to earn additional lives. The second Namco version increases the number of shots that diving ships can fire and raises the score requirements higher than previous versions. The second Midway version is based on this version and only adds a Midway copyright.

Galaxian has been ported to multiple systems, including the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit computers, Commodore VIC-20, PC-8801, Bally Astrocade (Renamed Galactic Invasion after Midway lost the license), IBM PC, ColecoVision, Fujitsu FM-7, Sharp X1, Intellivision, MSX, Famicom, Apple II and Commodore 64. These versions play similarly to the arcade version with the requisite downgrades in presentation. The Famicom release is notable for containing a hidden sound test. To unlock it, either reset 44 times, hold A & B on the 2nd controller, and reset a 45th time, or reset 10 times and shout 4 times into the 2nd controller microphone. Most of the songs here are not played in-game, and some are 8-bit renditions of other songs, including Michel Laurent's La Reine de Saba and the Nausicaä Requiem from the anime film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

The game has been released in multiple compilations

  • Galaga and Galaxian for Game Boy
  • Namco Museum Vol. 3 for PlayStation
  • Namco History Vol. 4 for Windows
  • Namco Museum for Dreamcast
  • Namco Museum 64 for Nintendo 64
  • Namco Museum for PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and Game Boy Advance
  • Namco Museum Battle Collection for PlayStation Portable
  • Namco Museum 50th Anniversary for PlayStation 2, Xbox, Windows and GameCube
  • Namco Museum DS for Nintendo DS
  • Namco Museum Remix for Wii
  • Namco Museum Virtual Arcade for Xbox 360
  • Namco Museum Megamix for Wii

It has also been featured on multiple plug-and-play and dedicated portable consoles

  • Jakks Pacific Pac-Man (2003)
  • Jakks Pacific Pac-Man Arcade Gold
  • Jakks Pacific Retro Arcade
  • Bandai Pac-Man Connect and Play
  • AtGames Atari Flashback Portable (2017 Edition, Atari 2600 version)
  • AtGames Bandai Namco Flashback Blast (Famicom version)
  • My Arcade Galaga Pocket Player (Famicom version)
  • My Arcade Namco Museum Mini Player

The game was also released on the Wii Virtual Console and featured on GameTap.

An officially sanctioned clone called Moon Alien was released the same year by Nichibutsu.

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