For those of us old enough to remember or consider as a modern day classics enthusiast, playing retro arcade games at your favorite restaurant was considered the ultimate in entertainment. Some of the early titles of the 80s local arcade included: Ms. Pacman, Asteroids, Centipede, Space Invaders and Galaxian. Did you know that Galaga is a sequel to Galaxian? I always thought Galaga was the first. But, Galaxian was introduced in 1979 by Namco. One of my favorites was Gaplus. The game itself has a somewhat complicated lineage.
Galaxian took the popular style of Space Invaders and gained a great deal of attention in it’s own right by being among the first video games ever to include a full color monitor and dive bombing enemy aliens. Slower paced and more challenging than Galaga, Galaxian contains no dual ship abilities nor challenge stages. The big challenge of the game was nailing the enemy flagship escorts, then the flagship itself to gain big points.
All these decades later, Galaga has clearly gained a stronger grip in pop culture history than Galaxian, but failed to sell as many coin-op units in North America as it’s 1979 counterpart. Galaxian sold 50,000 legal units stateside to Galaga’s 40,000.
The third in the series, Gaplus was brought over in 1984 by Midway. A very tough and challenging title, there was hope for Gaplus to help slumping video arcade game earnings at the time, but it was not meant to be.
After it’s initial release, Midway altered the title of Gaplus to the confusing Galaga 3, hoping the name recognition of the previous hit game would help sales and earnings. This move forever confused the lineage of the series, as Galpus was really Galaxian 3 or perhaps Galaga 2.
Seemingly in an attempt to further confuse arcade patrons, Galaga ’88 came out in 1987. While named for the year, some thought the number to be of other significance, even when renamed Galaga ’90 for a home release and later back to Galaga ’88 for later home collection reissues.
Even so, it was a favorite of mine. And after a much long and determined quest, we finally have obtained a Gaplus for our classic arcade lineup. So now I can play anytime I want to and on free play too! #throwbackthursday