Games rooms not allowed for 15-year-old minors if not accompanied. Police on alert for increased coin theft, kids running away from home to hole up in the games room, fights for their turn to play. All this because of Space Invaders, one of the first, if not the first, real arcade video game.
Developed by the designer Tomohiro Nishikado and distributed in 1978 by Taito in Japan, Space Invaders became an incredible commercial success, with revenues that burned all the records of the gaming industry of the time.
Space Invaders draws inspiration from the sci-fi literature and cinematography of those years (from Star Wars to Battleship Yamato) with enemies mixing those of the War of the Worlds with sea monsters. Space Invaders was so complex that it required specially developed hardware and software.
The hypnotic sound of the game, the relentless rhythm of the invaders and a gameplay that provoked dependence and a desire for competition transformed the arcades, first in Japan and then in the whole of America, in crowded places with rows of kilometers to make a play. Home conversions, like the one for Atari 2600, became real “killer apps” capable of quadrupling console sales.
Space Invaders was not just a video game. Space Invaders represented the transformation and rebirth of the videogame industry, which from the Pong-style games, cold and linked to reality, was on its way to fantastic worlds that made people dream, with aliens, spaceships and starry skies.