Galaxian is a 1979 fixed shooter arcade video game developed and published by Namco. The player assumes control of the Galaxip starfighter in its mission to protect Earth from waves of aliens. Gameplay involves destroying each formation of aliens, who dive down towards the player in an attempt to hit them.
Designed by company engineer Kazunori Sawano, Galaxian was Namco's answer to Space Invaders, a similar space shooter released the previous year by rival developer Taito. Space Invaders was a sensation in Japan, and Namco wanted a game that could compete against it. Sawano strove to make the game simplistic and easy to understand.
He was inspired by the cinematic space combat scenes in Star Wars, with enemies originally being in the shape of the film's TIE Fighters. Galaxian is one of the first video games to feature RGB color graphics and the first ever to use a tile-based hardware system, which was capable of animated multi-color sprites as well as scrolling, though the latter was limited to the starfield background while the game itself remained a fixed shooter.
Galaxian was Namco's first major arcade video game hit. It was the second highest-grossing arcade video game of 1979 and 1980 in Japan and the second highest-grossing of 1980 in the United States, where it became one of the best-selling arcade games of all time with 50,000 arcade units sold by 1982. The game was celebrated for its gameplay and usage of true color graphics. In retrospect, it has gained fame for its historical importance and technological accomplishments. Its success led to several sequels and reimaginings; most notable of these is Galaga, which usurped the original in popularity. Galaxian has also been ported to many home systems and is included in numerous Namco compilations.
Galaxian is a space-themed fixed shooter. The player controls a starship called the 'Galaxip', the objective being to clear each round of aliens. The enemies appear in formation towards the top of the screen, with two escort ships, labeled the 'Galaxian Flagship' or 'Galboss'. Enemies will make a divebomb towards the bottom of the screen while shooting projectiles in an attempt to hit the player. The Galaxip can only fire a single shot at a time, and the player must wait for it to either hit an enemy or the top of the screen before being able to fire another, due to limitations of the hardware.
Flagships will make a divebomb with two red escort ships - shooting all three of these will award the player bonus points, with extra points awarded to the destruction of the flagship. Enemy movement will increase as the game progresses alongside the number of shots that the enemies fire. Rounds are indicated by small flags at the bottom of the screen. The game's attract mode featured a slim scenario, reading 'WE ARE THE GALAXIANS. MISSION: DESTROY ALIENS'.
How to play:
Click on the joystick icon in the Galaxian online emulator to see how to control the Galaxian game