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What Would Have Happened If There Was No Space Invaders?

What Would Have Happened If There Was No Space Invaders?

It’s been 45 years since Space Invaders first made its appearance in Japanese arcades — and within three years — it hit the market in America and Europe. There’s no doubt of the influence that it had on so many amazing creators.

On the 1st of April in 1978, Space Invaders ushered in the golden age of arcade games — It was the first game to include interactive enemies who were actually trying to stop you instead of simply crossing your path. There were no timers, and you could even utilise your environment to progress further into the game; many people competed to get the highest score, a feature not previously available. You even got lives, so you could continue to play after you died for the first time. Even though it wasn’t the first shooting game, there weren’t many shooting games that involved active targets who were able to react to you.


While none of this may seem particularly revolutionary now, back in 1978? This was one of the greatest games to exist. It was so popular that Space Invaders’ creator, Tomohiro Nishikado, couldn't keep up with demand. So many people loved the iconic designs, and the soundtrack was the first to actually affect the players’ psyche. As the music upped the ante, so did your own stress. There’s a reason this arcade game is so well-loved. Even now, you can find various copies of Space Invaders online, and you can still lose yourself in the game.

Honestly, I don’t think gaming would be the same if Space Invaders was never created. Sure, arcade and console games already existed, but the industry wasn’t doing well. 1977 was the year of the video game crash, and consoles were not selling nearly as well as before. In fact, many people have credited the introduction of Space Invaders on the Atari VCS for ushering in the golden age of video arcade games. Ironically, I would also say that Space Invaders also paved the path towards videogame consoles, as the Atari VCS became so successful thanks to releasing the most popular arcade game of the time.

I mean, do you know how many creators fell in love with video games thanks to Space Invaders? Forget the fact that the shoot ‘em up genre would not be the same; we wouldn’t have so many games that introduced other generations. In fact, let’s take a look at the games we wouldn’t have if Space Invaders hadn’t existed.

The Legend of Zelda Title Screen

If Space Invaders had not inspired Shigeru Miyamoto, he would never have been inspired to enter the world of videogames. He would have most likely stuck to his original love of manga and become a professional manga artist. He would never have worked on Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros., or The Legend of Zelda. Nintendo would still have succeeded with the Colour TV-Game series, but the NES would probably not have had the same success.

Satoshi Tajiri might have dabbled in videogames, but it was Space Invaders which ignited his passion; It’s likely that he would have focused on his original love of entomology. Game Freak would not have been born as a fanzine, as he wouldn’t be as invested in arcade games. He wouldn’t have met Ken Sugimori, and the two of them would never have worked on the Pokémon franchise.


Hideo Kojima would probably continue to focus on studying economics and work on making his own films and short stories. Arguably, he would have most likely still been quite a successful filmmaker as he was already filming Super 8 mm films as a child. However, he would never have made Metal Gear if he never joined the industry, as Kojima took over this product. It’s likely that if Metal Gear did exist, it would not be the stealth game that it is today, but it would probably have been shelved.

John Romero would not have been introduced to video games through Space Invaders but may have still been introduced through Pac-Man. However, considering Pac-Man was made as a response to shooting games like Space Invaders, John Romero would probably not have been influenced by Pac-Man. Without this passion, he likely wouldn’t have begun programming games on his Apple II. So, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and QUAKE wouldn’t have existed anyway. Of course, most of these games wouldn’t have been made since John Carmack would not have become the lead programmer of them, as he wouldn’t have found Space Invaders. So, without John Carmack and John Romero, id Software likely would not have been founded.


I’ll be honest; these are only a few of the key developers who were introduced to gaming by Space Invaders. These are only a few of the games that wouldn’t exist. Let’s not talk about the absence of sci-fi, shoot ‘em ups, and so much more. After all, we can’t name all of them, or this would be a very long article. Just know, if Space Invaders didn’t exist, we would all be out of the job.

Bex Prouse

Bex Prouse

Staff Writer

Writing about all sorts like a liquorice allsort

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