Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Today's Trivia - Space Invaders

This is a new theme that will be posted every Tuesday. For now. Weekly posts will include a tidbit of information that will increase your knowledge base. Or not. Fascinate you. Or not. Entertain you. Or not. Or shock you. Or not. In any case, it’ll include something you may not know. And if you’re an information junkie like me, you’re always on the lookout for something new to fill that insatiable trivia appetite.

Here is today’s tidbit...

Do you remember Space Invaders? If you’re my age, you do. But in case you don’t:

Space invaders is an arcade video game that was huge in popularity when I was ‘plowing through life’ with a lot less wrinkles (late 70s / early 80s). It was designed and programmed by Toshihiro Nishikado for Taito Corporation. It remains one of the most popular arcade games ever made.

And just how popular was it? A lot. Even more so than I thought...

According to Wikipedia:

After the first few months following its release in Japan, the game became very popular. Specialty arcades opened with nothing but Space Invaders cabinets, and within two years by 1980, Taito had sold over 300,000 Space Invaders arcade machines in Japan and 60,000 machines in the United States, where prices ranged from $2000 to $3000 for each machine. The arcade cabinets have since become collector's items with the cocktail and cabaret versions being the rarest. A shortage of 100-yen coins - and subsequent production increase - in Japan is attributed to the game.

By mid-1981, more than four billion quarters, or $1 billion, had been grossed from Space Invaders machines, and it would continue to gross an average of $600 million a year through to 1982, by which time it had grossed $2 billion in quarters (equivalent to $4.6 billion in 2011), with a net profit of $450 million (equivalent to $1 billion in 2011). This made it the best-selling video game and highest-grossing entertainment product of its time, with comparisons made to the then highest-grossing film Star Wars, which had grossed $486 million in movie tickets (costing $2.25 each on average) with a net profit of $175 million. By 2007, Space Invaders had earned Taito profits of over $.5 billion. The 1980 Atari 2600 version was the first official licensing of an arcade game and became the first "killer app" for video game consoles by quadrupling the system's sales, with the game selling over a million units on the console.

That’s how popular it was. Amazing...

Here’s a YouTube clip about it.

Did I ever play this game? I sure did. But I wasn’t very good at it.


  1. LOL!!! How lame does this game seem when compared today's games and graphics?!!! It's almost embarrassing!! That being said, we sure loved it :)
    Very interesting statistics.

  2. I can remember the year my cousin got an Atari and we did nothing but play SPace Invaders the entire time we were there for Christmas!I can remember thinking about how rich my cousin was, those things were waay out of our price range,lol

  3. @Jane: I know! But we had nothing to compare it to back then, so it was amazing.


    @LaelShine: Electronic 'modern' inventions were so expensive back then. So it stands to reason you'd think someone was rich for having them. They were waaaay out of our price range, too!

  4. I spent many hours in the hot sun mowing lawns so I could have quarters for a few minutes enjoyment. Not a very fair trade but boy was it fun! Loved Spaced Invaders! I still play it now and then.

  5. @WebDebris: I think a lot of lawns got mowed for a few quarters back then :)