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40 Years of Space Invaders Descends Upon Roppongi

posted on by Kim Morrissy

Is Space Invaders art? The Mori Art Museum evidently considers it art, since it has been holding an interactive exhibition for Space Invaders this month to celebrate the game's 40th anniversary. The intent of the event is to share the history behind the game, as well as to engage new players with modern spins on the game.

The biggest attraction is the 10-player version of the game, which uses a projection mapping against the museum's large windows. This can only be played at night, but there are still plenty of other things to do during the day.

The Designs of the Space Invaders

The designs of the space invaders are based off the aliens of H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds. Here are the original sketches and how they translate to pixels:

The Motherboard

Flyers of the Original Game

Tricks and Gimmicks

The exhibit even explains the tricks for getting a high score in Space Invaders. There's also an early strategy guide.

The Games

But the exhibit isn't just a history lesson. There are games to be played as well. A variation on Space Invaders called Noborinvaders (literally “climbing invaders”) involves climbing a wall and touching as many invaders as possible. This game uses projection mapping and is equipped with sensors that can tell whenever you've hit the floor.

There's also a game called Arkinvaders, where you kick a ball over a virtual field to shoot at the invaders for a few minutes (although just tapping the ball with your foot is fine). This game is pretty fun since you play it as a big team of eight people, although it is nothing like Space Invaders by that stage.

My favorite game was called Space Invaders Frenzy. This was more like classic Space Invaders, except the aliens move like ninjas. Two people team up with automatic guns to massacre as many aliens as possible before they can reach you. This gives the game a fast and enjoyable pace.

Space Invaders around the World

The final section of the exhibit showed various games and merchandise produced around the world.

The Café and Lounge

Not only can you buy Space Invaders-­themed food and drinks at the limited café, you can also curl up and play the classic Space Invaders arcade game in the lounge.

All in all, the Space Invaders exhibit is a fun day out, especially for the family. This classic game has enduring appeal, even forty years later!

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