11 Plus


Space Invaders is a 1978 shoot ’em up arcade game developed by Tomohiro Nishikado. It was manufactured and sold by Taito in Japan, and licensed to the Midway division of Bally for overseas distribution. Space Invaders was the first ‘fixed shooter’ game and set the template for the shoot ’em up genre. The goal is to defeat wave after wave of descending aliens, with a horizontally moving laser, to earn as many points as possible.

Designer Nishikado drew inspiration from North American target shooting games like Breakout (1976) and Gun Fight (1975), as well as science fiction narratives such as the novel The War of the Worlds (1897), the anime Space Battleship Yamato (1974), and the film Star Wars (1977). To complete development of the game, he had to design custom hardware and development tools. Upon release, Space Invaders was an immediate commercial success; by 1982, it had earned $3.8 billion, with a net profit of $450 million. This made it the best-selling video game and highest-earning entertainment product at the time, and the highest-earning video game of all time.

Space Invaders is considered one of the most influential video games of all time. It ushered in the golden age of arcade video games. It was the inspiration for numerous video games and game designers, and has been changed and re-released in various forms. The pixelated enemy alien has become a pop culture icon, often representing video games as a whole.

Space Invaders is a fixed shooter in which the player moves a laser cannon horizontally across the bottom of the screen and fires at aliens overhead. The aliens begin as five rows of eleven that move as a group, shifting downward each time they reach a screen edge. The goal is to eliminate all of the aliens by shooting them. While the player has three lives, the game ends immediately if the invaders reach the bottom of the screen. The aliens attempt to destroy the player’s cannon by firing projectiles. The laser cannon is partially protected by stationary defence bunkers which are gradually destroyed from the top by the aliens and, if the player fires when beneath one, the bottom gets destroyed.

As aliens are defeated, their movement and the game’s music both speed up. Defeating all the aliens brings another wave which starts lower, a loop which can continue endlessly. A special “mystery ship” will occasionally move across the top of the screen and award bonus points if destroyed.


Text adapted from Wikipedia, which is in the public domain.


What does the text say the ‘alien’ from Space Invaders is now seen as?