If you trace video gaming back to its early origins, Space Invaders is recognized as one of the arcade genre’s biggest and most enduring successes — but it’s also a game that only just made it to the market. The game’s creator Tomohiro Nishikado, recounts his days getting hooked on Breakout, which ultimately inspired him “to come up with something that was even better.” Despite the fact that the game received high marks from Nishikado’s colleagues, his superiors weren’t sure such a challenging game could be successful. “When I showed a work-in-progress to the upper-level sales management, they weren’t impressed,” he said.
The game has since become an inspiration for other video games, re-released on numerous platforms, and led to several sequels. The 1980 Atari 2600 version quadrupled the system’s sales and became the first “killer app” for video game consoles. Space Invaders has been referenced and parodied in multiple television shows, and been a part of several video game and cultural exhibitions. The pixelated enemy alien has become a pop culture icon, often used as a synecdoche representing video games as a whole.