“Had it been left up to me, Space Invaders would have been a far easier game”
- Nishikado, 2013.
In 1978, Tomohiro Nishikado of Japan developed Space Invaders (Figure 1), one of the original action ‘Shoot ‘em up’ (referred to as ‘Shmup’) videogames. Although not the original game of its style, as it was preceded by Missile Radar (1974) and Guided Missile (1977) (Betters, 2013), the game was the first to ever include combat from both the player and enemy AI. The mechanics devised by Nishikado were built around the concept of a single, lone protagonist (the player) engaging multiple hostile opponents (the AI). Although initially, this would seem to put the player at a disadvantage, this would actually allow the player to experience immersion and emotional engagement, such as fear, resolve and ultimately achievement. This mechanic, coupled with its visual presentation brought Space Invaders to critical acclaim and global success, which it continues to profit from to this day. It is now heralded as the archetypal action videogame (Video Game Design/Archetypes, 2013) and has been listed as the highest rated arcade game in terms of technical, creative and cultural impact (Craig Glenday, Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition, 2008).