Happy birthday Space Invaders, the video game turns forty

Space Invaders was the first video game capable of creating a mass phenomenon. Launched in Japan, in the U.S. managed to earn more than Star Wars

Space Invaders turns forty. Many of the teenagers who spend their afternoons in front of their consoles have probably only heard of it and don't even know what Space Invaders is. If consoles and video games have all this success, the merit is also and above all Space Invaders.

Launched for the first time on the market in 1978, Space Invaders is the first video game to have had a planetary success. Not only in Japan where it made its first appearance, but also in the United States and Europe. The success was so overwhelming that for the first time newspapers began to talk about video game addiction and doctors discovered a new disease: Space Invaders elbow. The game was developed by Japanese game designer Tomohiro Nishikado that in the initial projects wanted to make a completely different game. But due to the limited means available, he decided to develop a video game where the protagonists were aliens ready to conquer the Earth.

The success of Space Invaders

If online shooters have great success (Battlefield, Call of Duty, just to name the two most famous), much of the credit is Space Invaders. The video game was the first successful "shooter" and cleared the way for the genre. According to the initial ideas, the video game should not be called Space Invaders and should not have as protagonists aliens (in reality are stylized crabs). Tomohiro Nishikado wanted to make a game where soldiers (U.S.) went to attack Japan. It was 1978 and the Cold War was still very much felt. But because of a very limited hardware and software available, the game designer was forced to abandon the idea and to concentrate on the development of a video game that saw the aliens as protagonists.

The success of Space Invaders was immediate. And not only in Japan. The video game was also imported to the USA and Europe. The video game also arrived on the Atari 2600 (one of the first consoles in history) and in two years it doubled its sales.

Space Invaders had the merit of making the world of video games reach the general public, until then confined to a niche market. In 2016, a new version of Space Invaders was launched, available for Facebook instant games. Happy birthday Space Invaders!