Diary-of-an-Arcade-Employee-Ep-028-Space Invaders

Diary Of An Arcade Employee Podcast 028 (Space Invaders)

Two Diary podcasts in one month, have I gone insane? Some of you listeners might think that is indeed the case but today sees the release of Ready Player One. Judging by the trailers it appears that the classic 1978 Space Invaders makes an appearance. Which is of course why I decided to release this latest Diary podcast today. Because what better way to spend your time in line for the new Spielberg film than listening to the history of Space Invaders?
Space Invaders - Ready Player One

In this show, I naturally give you info on the origins of Space Invaders. As well as what I hope is a fascinating look at the intent of it’s creator, Tomohiro Nishikado. In addition, this episode is a bit longer than the usual Diary podcast. The reason being of course that such a monumental and groundbreaking arcade title has a lot to discuss.

I do share my first encounter with the legendary game in my youth. Furthermore I share the shocking night we received the game at the arcade. I have also managed to find a few audible treats for your listening pleasure as well.
Space Invaders - Arkadia Retrocade

In all honesty, my friends. I probably could have gone an entire hour with this episode. Interviews with Nishikado in USA Today, merchandising, home ports, and the legacy of Space Invaders. The game simply helped to change the landscape for video games as much as the likes of Pong or Pac-Man. This episode, unlike any other I found myself having too much information on the game!
Space Invaders - Arcade Game

If you have any suggestions for future games to cover or comments on the show itself you may email them to me at VicSage@Retroist.com. You can also contact me on Twitter and of course on Facebook. You can also keep up to date on what is going down at the Arkadia Retrocade by making sure to “Like” their Facebook Page. If you need a daily fix you can check out the Official Diary of an Arcade Employee Facebook page too.

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Now since Ready Player One motivated me to record this podcast covering Space Invaders. Why not watch the latest trailer?

[Via] Warner Bros. Pictures

Chack'n Pop - Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Chack’n Pop (1984)

Have you ever heard of Taito’s Chack’n Pop? Until Christopher Tupa chose it for his latest Retro Arcade Art project, I certainly had not. Right off the bat, Chack’n Pop has some interesting history. While the title screen reads it was a 1983 title, it has been reported that it actually was released in 1984. A cross between Bomber Man and Arabian, Chack’n Pop certainly stands out!
Chack'n Pop - Title Screen

Interestingly enough while no sequels to the game would be released. Taito did actually keep some elements of the title, namely the characters. For example two of the characters appear in 1995’s Bubble Memories – The Story of Bubble Bobble III, namely the Monstas and Mightas. In addition Mr. Chack’n has joined the bad guys in that sequel! As well as nods in Bubble Bobble with Level 29 being based on the stage design of Chack’n Pop, and this is only naming just a few of the references.
Chack'N Pop - Bubble Bobble - Level 29

Now then, the premise of the game is that Mr. Chack’n must regain the hearts of Miss Chack’n. Stolen by the Monstas and secreted away to an underground maze.

Thankfully for the players, you have bombs at your disposal to take out the enemies. However you can only use two, hurling them in separate directions at any time. You have to be careful though as the bombs can take you out as well. Of course making contact with a Monsta will result in a loss of life as well.
Chack'n Pop - Bombs Away

Those very bombs must also be used to break open the cages the Mighta’s have used to trap the hearts. If the Player frees all the hearts, they can escape through the upper right exit, assuming it hasn’t taken too long and the Mightas have sealed the maze.

In Chack’n Pop our main protagonist can get around the maze in unique ways. For one thing he can walk on both the floor and ceilings of the outcroppings.
Chack'n Pop - Ceiling

For climbing up to and over said outcroppings in a stage, Mr. Chack’n is able to extend his legs. It in fact effectively replaces the need for a jump button.
Chack'n Pop - New Heights

Not only does the Player have to worry about the Mighta attempting to seal the maze. If they take to long, eggs hatch more Monstas which easily will swarm the player. It appears however that there is a power-up that occasionally appears. Picking it up with allow you to run into your foes and defeat them, similar of course to power pellets in Pac-Man.
Chack'n Pop - Power Up

I have already mentioned that I didn’t even know this game existed. Just one of the many joys of having CTupa doing these art projects. I will definitely be adding Chack’n Pop to my list of games to cover on the Diary podcast.

You know some of the game mechanics of Chack’n Pop now. Ready to see it in action?

[Via] Old Classic Retro Gaming

As always with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s Official Site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

I hope you won’t forget to check out CTupa’s previous entries in his Retro Arcade Art project as well!

I have found no evidence of it but I assume Chack’n Pop influenced Lionel Ritchie’s Dancing on the Ceiling

[Via] Lionel Richie Vevo

Bubble Bobble - Christoper Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Bubble Bobble (1986)

Bubble Bobble is an arcade game that I’m certain many of you will remember fondly. This marks the latest classic arcade title that Christopher Tupa has chosen for his Retro Arcade Art project. In fact I can vividly remember where I first experienced Bubble Bobble. It wasn’t at the fabled Showbiz Pizza of my youth or any local arcade. It was actually in the lobby of a movie theater. I enjoyed the game so much I excused myself from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. As the film let out I was still pumping quarters into Bubble Bobble as my Father came to collect me.
Bubble Bobble - Arcade Marquee

Bubble Bobble allows one or two Players to take on the roles of two dinosaurs. Simply named Bob and Bub. The duo are tasked with entering the Cave of Monsters. Which just so happens to be 100 levels of monster filled mayhem. Both Bub and Bob aren’t doing this for the sense of adventure. They are in fact on a quest to rescue their girlfriends who have been kidnapped!
Bubble Bobble - Intro

I should add as well the Players only have the ability to produce bubbles to protect themselves! Furthermore besides using those bubbles to trap various foes and dispatching them. Players are able to create bubbles and use them as stepping stones. To reach higher spots of course as well as navigating the maze-like stages.

When using your weapon against your foes. You let those bubbles fly which envelops the enemies. Then the Player needs to touch said bubbles to burst them – which in turn reveals food products.
Bubble Bobble - Food

Picking these up provides extra points and a skilled player will rack up even greater points by dispatching multiple enemies at the same time.
Bubble Bobble - Shooting Bubbles

It should go without saying that our heroes will lose a life if they make contact with an enemy that hasn’t been trapped. Not to mention the various projectiles that enemies can fire at Bub and Bob. Also of note is the Player only has a limited amount of time to bust those bubble trapped foes. If the enemy breaks free of its bubble prison it becomes red and moves much faster. You should think of how the bad guys behave in 1983’s Mario Bros. by Nintendo for a good example.
Bubble Bobble - Mario Bros

In Bubble Bobble there are a few more elements to help out Bob and Bud. There are types of power-ups that will grant the Player special abilities. Such as the Fire bubble which will cause a section of the nearest platform to ignite. Obliterating any enemies it might come in contact with. While our heroes won’t suffer damage they will be stunned if they are caught in the flames, until the effect wears off. Then there is the bubble housing the element of water. When struck by the Player it will cause a waterfall to pour down across the platforms to the bottom of the stage. Killing all foes it catches in the wrath of its tidal wave. Last but certainly not least is the Lightning bubble. Hitting this power-up unleashes a lightning bolt that travels horizontally across the screen slaying the enemies it touches.
Bubble Bobble - Lightning

There are certain bubbles that appear during a stage that have letters within. If a Player manages to spell Extend they will of course gain an extra life. To clear each stage, Bob and Bud must defeat all enemies.
Bubble Bobble - Extend

In closing, perhaps the duo of Bubble Bobble‘s greatest weapon is they are just so darned cute. Their charming design certainly is one of the reasons I kept pumping quarters into the game when I first discovered it!

Did you know that Bubble Bobble was so popular that a limited edition soundtrack was released in 1987?


It’s totally true. The soundtrack was released back on January 25, 1987. Featuring the music which was composed by Tadashi Kimijima and Zuntata.

[Via] Otouto72


As always with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s Official Site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

Don’t forget to check out CTupa’s previous entries in his Retro Arcade Art Project as well!

Space Invaders

Celebrate Atari Day With Space Invaders!

Being the 26th of the month once again it is time to celebrate Atari Day. There is so very much to love and celebrate as well when talking about Atari of course. Although as usual I am focusing on a particular game for the Atari 2600. A port of the massively popular as well as legendary Space Invaders from 1978!
Space Invaders - Flyer

When Tomohiro Nishikado set out to create Space Invaders I certainly doubt he realized how popular it would become. In Japan there were arcades that offered nothing but the “fixed shooter”. Just rows and rows of Space Invaders for gamers to spend their money on. As a matter of fact it’s been reported that by the end of 1978, Taito, who produced the game had manufactured over 100,000 arcade cabinets.
Space Invaders

To say nothing of the amount of money that the success ofSpace Invaders earned for the company. I ask you, how does 600 million dollars sound? Having said that, bear in mind that was only for Japan in its first year alone.

Now as you might imagine when Atari announced they were going to be producing a home port for their Atari 2600. It was kind of a big deal. Not only did it mark the first arcade title to be licensed for home use. It smashed sales records for the 2600 as well. Steven L. Kent’s 2001 book The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon has in fact said that it helped to quadruple the sales of the Atari 2600.

Were you aware the Atari 2600 port was part of the How To Beat Video Games Series?

Which leads us to why in particular Atari made sure to mention their home version of Space Invaders in print. As much as possible. As well as producing rather charming television ads like in the case of the one below entitled Uncle Frank.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSfeAtJKB7w
[Via] Dig That Box RETRO

Far smarter people than myself have pointed out that the Space Invader themselves have become almost an iconic symbol. Representative of video games itself – more well known than even the likes of Mario!

Listen to Uncle Vic’s hit novelty song inspired by Space Invaders!

Now the great news is you can easily join the Atari Day celebration and play Space Invaders right this second.


By and large it’s available online in one form or another, I would recommend the online services of the Internet Archive.

Image courtesy of Atari I/O’s Facebook page.

To learn even more about the fun of Atari Day be sure to hop on over and check out fellow Retroist writer Atari I/O’s site by following the link here!