Chup-chup-chup-chup-boop-boop! — call it the mono-analog pulse of arcade gold. Released in 1978, Space Invaders jammed gnarled, bug-like aliens into columns and rows, then set them two-stepping to a simple heartbeat rhythm.
Your job? Lobbing wire-thin missiles from a movable ground-based turret and chipping away as they slowly descended like a parade of hellish line dancers. What’s more, it ran on a then-state-of-the-art Intel 8080 microprocessor.
In just four years, Space Invaders hauled in $2 billion in quarter-based profits in the U.S. alone. But what you probably didn’t know is that the original version of the game, designed by Tomohiro Nishikado, involved shooting humans. Publisher Taito’s response? No thanks, prompting Nishikado to conjure flocks of pseudo-crustacean E.T.s instead.