The enduring popularity of Space Invaders

May 25, 2022

The original Space Invaders arcade game was released in 1978. 44 years later, the game remains highly popular thanks to a series of reboots and innovative products. Taito’s alien shoot-’em-up appeared in arcades across the US in 1979 and on the Atari 2600 in 1980.

Many view Space Invaders as one of the most influential video games of all time as it paved the way for modern games. In 2008, the Guinness Book of World Records named it the top-rated arcade game for its technical, creative, and cultural impact.

The popularity of Space Invaders

The lasting popularity of the classic video game, created by the Japanese developer Tomohiro Nishikado, is exemplified by the Space Invaders Invincible Collection, released in 2020 for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. The game compilation, developed by Taito and Gotch Technology, consists of eleven versions including the original 1978 arcade game in color and in black and white, and more recent iterations such as Space Invaders Extreme.

Retro products associated with Space Invaders are also highly popular, with the original game developer and publisher Taito continuing to earn from the lucrative merch licensing business. Popular products include innovations such as Space Invaders LED lamps, branded t-shirts, and mugs. It is even possible to buy restored Space Invaders arcade machines from vintage stores, but if the prohibitive cost of many thousands of dollars is too much, there is also the opportunity for fans to buy a mini version for a fraction of the cost.

Space Invaders innovations

The classic video game Space Invaders is not only prevalent in reboots and product merchandise. It is also associated with innovations in the iGaming industry. The officially branded Space Invaders slot game has been launched by BetMGM and can be played at WV online casinos. The slot features the aliens and iconic sounds from the original arcade game along with rockets and UFOs as the slot game hopes to capitalize on the popularity of the classic arcade game.

Oliver Bartlett, Director of Gaming at BetMGM, explained the thinking behind the decision to launch a slot version of the hugely popular classic video game: “Since 1978, gamers have loved Space Invaders in arcades and through home consoles. Inspired has produced a phenomenal slot game here, and BetMGM is excited to bring this legendary title to its players in New Jersey, then on to more states in the near future.”

How Space Invaders keeps fans enthralled

Space Invaders always kept fans coming back for more. It gave players the opportunity to enter their initials on the leaderboard and, if they achieved the best score, they would take the number one spot for everyone to see. As the game progressed, the aliens and the music became faster, creating an exciting atmosphere. Space Invaders has also continued to re-invent itself, for example, in Space Invaders Infinity Gene, players can also move vertically and the game features new weapons.

The type of point-scoring and competition we are familiar with in Space Invaders, a concept also known as gamification, is now a feature of many websites and apps. The Nike Run Club app, for example, sets point-scoring challenges for its users, creates competition through the use of leaderboards, and provides a personalized experience to boost participation.

So why is Space Invaders still relevant 44 years after its release? The iconic video game features simple but compelling gameplay. However, another explanation could be that it’s really our love of nostalgia that keeps Space Invaders relevant. Many people associate the classic video game with the loud, flashing arcades of the past, which also explains the popularity of retro products. And, of course, in those days there was always the chance to top the Space Invaders’ leaderboard and impress all of your friends!  


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