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Atari 2600 Game of the Week - Space Invaders CX2632

by Atari, programmed by Rick Maurer, released 1980

When you ask anyone about classic video games, there is a short list of names that will always come to that persons mind - these are the true classics, recognized by young and old, male and female.

Pac-Man, Asteroids, Pong, Space Invaders. I don't think that there a man, woman, or child in developed nations that don't know of these games.

Why are they synonymous with video games? Because they are great games. Simple graphics, simple gameplay, simple sounds, but all are very addicting - even today.

The Atari Video Computer System wasn't doing as well as it should have been, what it needed was, in today's lingo, was a killer app.

A game so good, so fun, so addictive, that people would buy the versatile VCS to play that single game.

Say hello to the Atari 2600 version of Space Invaders - At the time, one of the most popular games in the arcades, and bowling alleys, and superettes, and grocery stores, and...

Now the home.

Space Invaders cleverly made use of a quirk of the 2600 which allowed multiple sprites on the screen at the same time without filckering, which happened to nicely fall in line with the multiple rows of invaders in Space Invaders.

The invaders are a little redesigned - six types instead of three, and in a six by six grid instead of the arcade's eleven by five.

The base and UFO have been redesigned a little as well, the base looks more like a laser cannon, and the UFO is more like a ball than a saucer.

While not a completely accurate translation of the arcade, it certainly a faithful one, and the people loved it.

People bought VCSs just to play Space Invaders - it was the Atari VCS's Killer App.

My first exposure to 2600 Space Invaders was playing it in the hospital - I rolled it over several times (which was a big thing for an eleven year old stuck in a hospital bed).

As for many other people, Space Invaders cemented my love for the Atari 2600.

Space Invaders had one of the largest numbers of variations ever (112) - yet another reason for its popularity: replay value. You just couldn't play Space Invaders like this in the arcade!

Invisible invaders, zig-zagging shots, moving shields, and two players at the same time playing cooperatively - not to mention the difficulty switch which doubled the width of your base - added to the fun that was Space Invaders.

This game is another of my top ten 2600 games - I don't play it for long periods anymore, but I do play it rather often.

This is a cartridge that every Atari owner should have, and probably do!

You can get the ROM and 2600 Emulators at the Classic Gaming Game Vault.

Comments? Questions? Answers? Email me!