THE MODERN VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY STARTED WITH SPACE INVADERS
On June 5th 1978, Taito unleashed Space Invaders to the world. It promptly chewed up 8 billion quarters within 3 years and popularized the video game industry worldwide! Before Space Invaders, video games = Pong. After Space Invaders, people realized that video games could do much more.
Martin Amis puts it best:
"If it hadn’t been for Space Invaders, none of us would be where we are today. After Space Invaders, we were defending Earth, against monsters, in sublunar skies. Here they come again..."
- Martin Amis, Invasion of the Space Invaders (1982)
What makes Space Invaders so important is that it inspired so many other people to make video games.
After Space Invaders came out, companies like Nintendo, SEGA, Konami, Romstar, Namco, Midway, Atari, and dozens of others started making and releasing video games. And they weren’t just video games...they were great video games like Pac-man and Galaga that took the industry to a whole new level (pun intended).
Plus, these video games drove technology to all new heights. A typical home computer of the time had very poor graphics and a single CPU. A typical PCB in an arcade game had several dedicated graphics chips (usually a whole board full of them) and multiple CPUs! The U.S. Military even contracted Atari to build a version of their Battlezone arcade game for tank simulation, citing that video arcade games had more technology than a missile defense system!
That all started with Space Invaders. Not only did Space Invaders popularize video games worldwide, it jumpstarted the industry in 1978 and ushered in “The Golden Age” of video games!
So cheers to Space Invaders - the father of modern video games. I still have a 1978 Space Invaders cocktail table in my rec room - not only is it still fun to play, it symbolizes the beginning of the video game industry. After all, back then we were all saving the world one quarter at a time.
Written by: Jason Eckert
Dean of Technology
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aside from being a programmer, published author, and an IT guru, Jason Eckert is the Dean of Technology at triOS College, where he continues to develop and refine the IT, developer and video game programs. You can find out more about Jason at: http://jasoneckert.net