Game: Galaga 30th Collection
Rating: 3 out 5 stars
Price: $7.99 for the collection, $2.99 per game
1981. Prince Charles marries Lady Diana…the first Space Shuttle (Columbia) takes flight…and Cabbage Patch Kids dolls are all the rage in toy stores. On July 23 of that same year, Namco shakes up the game world by introducing Galaga in arcades. The game goes on to become one of most beloved shooters of all time.
To mark the game’s 30-year anniversary, Namco has released Galaga 30th Collection for iOS. The game collection brings together Galaxian, Galaga, Gaplus (aka Galaga 3) and of course, the first updated version of the classic shooter, Galaga ’88.
Playable on both the iPhone and iPad the Galaga 30th Collection features reworked graphics that lean more toward a modern remixed feel than their retro cousins – the games also feature (oddly) an optional scan-line filter and score-tracking HUD.
As far as gameplay goes, not much has changed in 30 years. Players still blast away at insect-like aliens that attack from the top of the screen, while trying to make it to the challenging bonus stages and collect extra ships. The game still delivers solid shooter thrills with two modes of controls that are similar to the arcade version. The “virtual joystick” mode moves your ship left and right across the screen at a speed similar to the arcade originals, while a “slider” mode moves your ship as fast as you can swipe your finger back and forth across the screen.
The History of a Classic
Galaga (pronounced as “gyaraga” in Japanese) was released in Japan by Namco and released to arcades in the U.S. by Midway. The game was part of the shooter craze that tried to capitalize on the success of Space Invaders, which was released in 1978.
Galaga was actually a sequel. It was based on Galaxian which was released in 1979. Galaxian took the invader concept and expanded on it, with insect-like aliens breaking off from the main formation and attacking the player independently. Galaga also spawned sequels of its own, like Gaplus (1984) and Galaga ’88 (released at the end of 1987).
Since its release in 1981, the game has been remade countless times. In 1995, Namco’s PlayStation version of the arcade game Tekken featured a side game consisting entirely of challenging stages. The game developed such a following that it has been paid homage to frequently in pop culture: on the ABC TV series Lost (in which a submarine is named “Galaga”), the show’s writers were such fans of the game that they played it between writing sessions; and in the 1982 film WarGames, the game machine makes an appearance alongside star Matthew Broderick. The greeting-card company Hallmark even released a Christmas tree ornament shaped like a Galaga arcade machine – complete with sound clips from the game.
The original arcade game was available in two versions, a standing upright cabinet and a sit-down cocktail table. Original Galaga cocktail tables are highly collectible now and command prices of up to $4,000.
Making Your Own Video Game
Today, a simple shooter like Galaga can be developed easily. Learning to make video games isn’t as hard as you think, provided you receive the right training. Plus, in the casual games age we live in, simple addictive games like Galaga have regained popularity. Who knows? Thirty years from now, we could be celebrating your videogame creation.
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