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Space Invaders!

Space Invaders

That's it. I'm making space invaders. Enemy blips locked in an inevitable march toward one lone protagonist.

I think I come by it honestly. An awful lot of video games are space invaders. Think about all the video games you have ever played... now really think... how many of those are the spawn of space invaders. Galaxian and Galaga are direct descendants of space invaders, but so is tempest, albeit oriented in a ring rather than vertically. Xevious1942, also space invaders... but now the background scrolls. Robotron 2084 is space invaders with no constraints on axis for the player or the enemies. I think the simple reason is, space invaders only works as a video game. Sure there are video games that predate space invaders, even other shooting gallery video games, and space invaders itself has roots in the electromechanical shooting galleries popular decades before. Space invaders added a level of randomization, engagement, and asymmetry that didn't exist before then. Most video games before then were either two player affairs, or very repetitious and predictable games like breakout. While having another player definitely adds the randomization and engagement, it almost by definition requires a level of symmetry.

Randomization, engagement, and asymmetry. I have whittled it down in my brain to these three elements. These are, what I believe, the elements that make Space Invaders the starting point for the modern video game. They are also central tenets of video games that differentiate them from most other types of games (board games, sports, etc).

I was in the process of writing one epic post all about what I think makes a video game different from other forms of games. Instead I'll offer a reprieve from my long winded nerdformation. I'm gonna break this description into a bunch of parts and post them one at a time. Eventually I'll probably stumble over what this has to do with the game I'm making.

next time on games by mistake

This post is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 by the author.
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