GalaxianGalaxian wass a 1979 arcade game by Namco and released by Midway Mfg. in the US. Galaxian expanded on the formula pioneered by Space Invaders. As in the earlier game, Galaxian featured a horde of attacking aliens that exchanged shots with the player. In contrast to Space Invaders, Galaxian added an element of drama by having the aliens periodically make kamikaze-like dives at the player's ship.
The gameplay was relatively simple. Swarm after swarm of alien armies attacked the player's ship that moved left and right at the bottom of the screen. The ship could only fire sparingly by default, but rearmed instantly when an enemy was hit. The player would defeat one swarm, only to have it replaced by another more aggressive and challenging army in the next screen. A plain and repetitive starfield scrolled in the background.
Galaxian was very successful for Namco and introduced several "firsts". Although true color (as opposed to a color overlay for a game that was otherwise black and white) began appearing as early as 1975, Galaxian took graphics a step further with multi-colored animated sprites and explosions, a crude theme song, different colored fonts for the score and high score, more prominent background "music" and the scrolling starfield, and graphic icons that showed the number of ships left and how many rounds the player had completed. These elements combined to create a look/feel that would set the standard for many other 1980s arcade games such as Pac-Man.
Galaxian has spawned several follow-up games. The most popular of these was its immediate successor, Galaga, which largely eclipsed its predecessor in popularity, introducing aliens attacking in intricate formations, multiple guns, and bonus rounds. A third official sequel, Gaplus, was released in 1984. Like Galaga, this was a bottom shooter, with some limited up/down movement (like Centipede). However, by 1984 the novelty of the Space Invader formula had faded, and it was no longer successful.