Taito has released an official iPhone version of Tomohiro Nishikado's 1978 arcade classic Space Invaders [link] through the iTunes App Store.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the game, we recommend that you close your browser window and go find a different website to read.  Actually, that was a joke.  Sort of...

Rated the top video game of all time by Guinness World Records, Space Invaders is the father of all 2D shooters.  It was released in Japan by Taito in 1978 to such success that it caused a temporary national shortage of 100-yen coins.  It was later licensed by Bally Midway and released in the United States.  By 2007 the game had earned Taito $500 million in revenue.  Space Invaders is the classic of classics.

As Wikipedia describes the game,

Space Invaders is a two-dimensional, fixed shooter game in which the player controls a laser cannon by moving it horizontally across the bottom of the screen and firing at aliens. The aim is to defeat five rows of eleven aliens—some versions feature different numbers—that move horizontally back and forth across the screen as they descend towards the bottom of the screen. The player defeats an alien, and earns points, by shooting it with the laser cannon. As more aliens are defeated, the aliens' movement and the game's heartbeat sound both speed up. Defeating the aliens brings another wave that is more difficult; a cycle which can continue indefinitely.

The aliens attempt to destroy the cannon by firing at it while they are approaching the bottom of the screen. If they reach the bottom, the alien invasion is successful and the game ends. A special "mystery ship" will sometimes move across the top of the screen and will award bonus points if destroyed. The laser cannon is partially protected by several stationary defense bunkers—the number varies by version—that are gradually destroyed by alien fire.

The iPhone version exactly duplicates the gameplay of the arcade original.  Originally a monochrome game, Space Invaders received a number of mild graphical upgrades through its life--all are represented in this version: true monochrome, "color" by way of a simulation of the cellophane overlay that first brought color to the game in the arcades, actual color, and a planetscape background (that in the arcade was achieved via mirrored display and cardboard backsheet).  The game board is a pixel perfect representation of the arcade display and, being of a lower resolution than the iPhone's screen, is surrounded by a dark frame with a control board at the bottom of the screen.  Graphics can be magnified to 120% and 140% for easier viewing.

The game features an on-screen fire button with three options for controlling the laser cannon: left / right buttons that can be tapped, a control stick that can be "dragged," and tilt control utilizing the iPhone's accelerometers.

Several additional touches have been rolled into the iPhone version.  A Help section discusses the controls, how to play, and various tips and techniques used by the pros.  A Secret Files section contains photos of early promotional fliers, original character pencil sketches, even sections of the game's assembly language source listing.

It's great to see an official version of this classic come to the iPhone--but readers should be aware: this is Space Invaders.  From 1978.  It is in every way a retro title for the retro afficionado or for the gamer interested in experiencing an exact replica of a game that played so major a role in turning video games from a curiosity into a global industry.  Gamers not meeting this description will likely find Space Invaders to be overly simplistic and outdone by most of its clones in the App Store such as Space Out [link], Monsties [link], Alien Swarm [link], etc.

Game Details
Name: Space Invaders (v1.0) Price: $4.99 [Buy]
Developer: Taito
Size: 2.8 MB
Device: Tested on iPhone 3G
Taito's official Space Invaders for the iPhone featuring touch and tilt control options.  This retro classic exactly duplicates the gameplay of the 1978 classic.  While retro fans may love it, the casual gamer need be aware: this is a 1978 video game that is about as basic as they come.

TouchArcade Rating

  • arn

    notably, this appears to be taito's first entry into the iPhone market.

    Taito also owns a large number of other IP including Arkanoid
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Taito_games

  • arn

    notably, this appears to be taito's first entry into the iPhone market.

    Taito also owns a large number of other IP including Arkanoid
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Taito_games

  • GDSage

    Space Invaders, but not the more compelling Space Invaders Extreme? Oh well...

  • GDSage

    Space Invaders, but not the more compelling Space Invaders Extreme? Oh well...

  • Hell_Gamer98

    Whaaaaat??? 4.99$ for space invaders???? May it's the original, but 4.99$ is way too much. Definitely you can get the Pc version for free! Better get Rolando than this...

  • Hell_Gamer98

    Whaaaaat??? 4.99$ for space invaders???? May it's the original, but 4.99$ is way too much. Definitely you can get the Pc version for free! Better get Rolando than this...

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    Looks like StarByte's Space Invasion was pulled some time ago.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    Looks like StarByte's Space Invasion was pulled some time ago.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    @GDSage: I have high hopes that Space Invaders Extreme makes it to the App Store. It's great fun.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    @GDSage: I have high hopes that Space Invaders Extreme makes it to the App Store. It's great fun.

  • ponagathos

    $4.99!? They can not be serious. Too many superior clones for free already out there despite the "official" and "retro" monikers. Now if they were to release an official Galaga, I would buy that before Alien Swarm. I spent so many quarters on that game. When I take my niece and nephew to amusement parks, I still search for the Galaga game in the arcade.

    Speaking of so many quarters spent, where is the Spy Hunter game I am craving?

  • ponagathos

    $4.99!? They can not be serious. Too many superior clones for free already out there despite the "official" and "retro" monikers. Now if they were to release an official Galaga, I would buy that before Alien Swarm. I spent so many quarters on that game. When I take my niece and nephew to amusement parks, I still search for the Galaga game in the arcade.

    Speaking of so many quarters spent, where is the Spy Hunter game I am craving?

  • http://www.f1archives.co.uk/mobile.htm Gregz0r

    This is how retro games should be - as they were originally.
    A modernized version of any retro game is also welcome, but why can't devs of these authentic official retro games include both versions(I'm looking at you Tetris and Pole Position Remix)? After all, it's nostalgia which draws us in the first place.
    A tad too pricey for me, as it's not one of the retro games I'm after.

  • http://www.f1archives.co.uk/mobile.htm Gregz0r

    This is how retro games should be - as they were originally.
    A modernized version of any retro game is also welcome, but why can't devs of these authentic official retro games include both versions(I'm looking at you Tetris and Pole Position Remix)? After all, it's nostalgia which draws us in the first place.
    A tad too pricey for me, as it's not one of the retro games I'm after.

  • Marc

    Top video game of all time? That really surprised me, I would have expected Pac Man to hold that title. Guess cartoons and pop songs a top video game don't make.

  • Marc

    Top video game of all time? That really surprised me, I would have expected Pac Man to hold that title. Guess cartoons and pop songs a top video game don't make.

  • TRIPLE BEAM DREAM

    Great to see another true "Classic" hit the touch. Not sure why the people that aren't interested in buying always complain about the price. It has many great features that truely makes this a must buy for all us Generation X'ers. Lets hope these gems make there way to the touch.

  • http://toucharcade TRIPLE BEAM DREAM

    Great to see another true "Classic" hit the touch. Not sure why the people that aren't interested in buying always complain about the price. It has many great features that truely makes this a must buy for all us Generation X'ers. Lets hope these gems make there way to the touch.

  • ZeroCorpse

    I have to add my cries to the "What? $4.99 for Space Invaders?!?!" crowd. It seems VERY overpriced, considering great, complex, more modern games like Payback and iShoot are the same price (or less).

    Space Invaders is not worth $4.99 anymore. I would consider paying 99¢ for it, but even that is pushing it considering some of the great space shooters available for free in the App Store. Space Invaders is over 30 years old now! How can anyone justify $5 for a game that has no level changes, 30-year-old graphics and gameplay, and primitive sounds?

    I was there when it came out originally, but the nostalgia factor alone isn't enough to make me pay that much for an antique, obsolete game when there's so much out there that has improved upon the formula since then.

  • ZeroCorpse

    I have to add my cries to the "What? $4.99 for Space Invaders?!?!" crowd. It seems VERY overpriced, considering great, complex, more modern games like Payback and iShoot are the same price (or less).

    Space Invaders is not worth $4.99 anymore. I would consider paying 99¢ for it, but even that is pushing it considering some of the great space shooters available for free in the App Store. Space Invaders is over 30 years old now! How can anyone justify $5 for a game that has no level changes, 30-year-old graphics and gameplay, and primitive sounds?

    I was there when it came out originally, but the nostalgia factor alone isn't enough to make me pay that much for an antique, obsolete game when there's so much out there that has improved upon the formula since then.

  • wizard

    Space Invaders Extreme would be awesome. It'd be one of the only games I don't play my own music over. This is overpriced, but hopefully this is just the beginning of Taito's support.

  • wizard

    Space Invaders Extreme would be awesome. It'd be one of the only games I don't play my own music over. This is overpriced, but hopefully this is just the beginning of Taito's support.

  • arn

    The people complaining that this is an "old" game and not worth the price are not the intended audince. This is for the people who have an emotional attachment to the game.

    arn

  • arn

    The people complaining that this is an "old" game and not worth the price are not the intended audince. This is for the people who have an emotional attachment to the game.

    arn

  • njchris

    I *never* complain about price. But I would be interested, but not at $4.99. I love the retro stuff, but this is too much.

    @arn - then who is the intended audience? I'm a retro-lover, but not at this price.

  • njchris

    I *never* complain about price. But I would be interested, but not at $4.99. I love the retro stuff, but this is too much.

    @arn - then who is the intended audience? I'm a retro-lover, but not at this price.

  • mrWalrus

    Is there a lite version? ;)

  • mrWalrus

    Is there a lite version? ;)

  • thenewconfession

    who else has a "No Complaining Noob" clause i love it! "While retro fans may love it, the casual gamer need be aware: this is a 1978 video game that is about as basic as they come." - TA

  • thenewconfession

    who else has a "No Complaining Noob" clause i love it! "While retro fans may love it, the casual gamer need be aware: this is a 1978 video game that is about as basic as they come." - TA

  • http://www.f1archives.co.uk/mobile.htm Gregz0r

    MEMO TO TAITO:

    Now that you're off and running, how about an authentic Final Blow & Chase HQ for the iPhone?

  • http://www.f1archives.co.uk/mobile.htm Gregz0r

    MEMO TO TAITO:

    Now that you're off and running, how about an authentic Final Blow & Chase HQ for the iPhone?

  • Ataru

    As others have said, Space Invaders Extreme would have made for an easy sale, but this is too simple to be worth paying for these days. Try again Taito!

  • Ataru

    As others have said, Space Invaders Extreme would have made for an easy sale, but this is too simple to be worth paying for these days. Try again Taito!

  • spiffyone

    Why are people complaining about the price? If it's too much for you, then you are not the intended audience of early adopters that Taito wishes to initially target. It's a business. Remember that. They'll make better gains over a longer period of time by setting price comparatively higher to indy dev games. We've discussed this several times already. For the bigger devs longevity is more important than instantaneous gains needed by the indy devs.

    Besides, look at the extras available in the game. It's not like this is just Space Invaders. It's Space Invaders injected with even more nostalgic goodness.

  • spiffyone

    Why are people complaining about the price? If it's too much for you, then you are not the intended audience of early adopters that Taito wishes to initially target. It's a business. Remember that. They'll make better gains over a longer period of time by setting price comparatively higher to indy dev games. We've discussed this several times already. For the bigger devs longevity is more important than instantaneous gains needed by the indy devs.

    Besides, look at the extras available in the game. It's not like this is just Space Invaders. It's Space Invaders injected with even more nostalgic goodness.

  • http://www.myspace.com/moonsofjupitermusic RM imagery

    i hope this steers the way for Arkanoid and Arkanoid, the revenge of doh!

    no other breakout style games ever cam close.

    and Taito, please use the whole screen for those.

  • http://www.myspace.com/moonsofjupitermusic RM imagery

    i hope this steers the way for Arkanoid and Arkanoid, the revenge of doh!

    no other breakout style games ever cam close.

    and Taito, please use the whole screen for those.

  • Pingback: Community Guy, Jake McKee - Feed Reader Highlights - February 23, 2009

  • Ace

    I like this port - 4.99 does seem a bit much, but its still worth it to own the original. Accelerometer controls and sounds are great.

  • Ace

    I like this port - 4.99 does seem a bit much, but its still worth it to own the original. Accelerometer controls and sounds are great.

  • Ckspin88

    hey can i get some help with down load of space invaders i paid the 4.99 twice thinking it was my iphone but i dont that it is . the game did not give me any controls at all . options yes but no controls what can i do remember i spent 9.98 on this just becauce i love this game