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Galaga - A True Classic


The year was 1981. Ronald Reagan takes his first term as President. Sandra Day O'Connor becomes the first female justice on the Supreme Court. Metallica forms as a band. On July 23rd, Namco releases Galaga, taking the game world by storm and packing kids and adults into arcades. It would go on to become one of the best selling and most beloved arcade games of all time.


History


Galaga was a released on January 23rd, 1981 as a sequel to Namco's 1979 space shooter, Galaxian. Galaxian was part of a shooting game trend that would try to mimic the overwhelming success of Space Invaders. Galaxian expanded upon the Space Invader concept. Aliens would break away from the main formation and attack players independently, adding a degree of difficulty.

The original arcade game was sold in two formats - a traditional upright cabinet machine, and a sit-down Galaga coffee table surface. Original machines are highly collectable and can sell for $4,000 or more to collectors.


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Gameplay


Gameplay is similar to other games of the genre and time. Insect-like alien crafts attack from the top of the screen. Players blast through the alien horde to advance to more challenging bonus stages and extend gameplay by collecting extra ships.


Sequels


In 1984, Namco released Gaplus (Galaga 3). It expanded on previous game play with more challenging levels, power-up bonuses and the ability to move your ship horizontally.

In Galaga '88, more enhancements to gameplay and graphics were added to the franchise. Enemies became more challenging and robust in their attacks.

The series would be laid to rest for the next two decades. In 2008, Galaga Leigons DX was released for XBox Live Arcade, and Galaga 3D Impact would be released for the Nintendo DS handheld systems.


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Ports


Ports of the original game have been released for PCs, tablets, smartphones, and other platforms, with Namco still holding the initial license. Versions can be downloaded for iOS and Android devices thorough their respective application stores. These ports have become very popular in the age of "casual gaming".


World Record


The Galaga world record was set in June of 1989 by Stephen Krogman of Floriday with a score of 15,999,990 points, based on Marathon rules. Other world records exist based upon speed of firing your in-game weapons and various tournament rulesets.


Impact


Since it's initial release, Galaga has become a cultural icon. Homage to the classic has been paid on television and film:

  • Television juggernaut Lost features a submarine bearing the name of the game. Writers were fans of the game and would play it during breaks in the writer's room.
  • The 1982 action classic War Games features multiple appearances alongside Matthew Broderick who was sent a free unit to train on prior to filming the movie.
  • Hallmark began selling a Galaga arcade cabinet Christmas ornament complete with sounds from the game.
  • In 2012's Marvel blockbuster, The Avengers, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) chastises a SHIELD agent for playing the classic.
  • Drake's 2013 hit, "All Me," samples the sounds of Galaga gameplay.

In 2001, Game Informer magazine ranked Galaga the 19th best video game ever, calling it, "the best game of it's type".




  

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