Send in the Space Squids 

Invaders! Possibly from space!

“Space Invaders” is one of the most iconic video games of all time. On the occasion of a new release (in a mini arcade cabinet format), its creator Tomohiro Nishikado has shared some fascinating trivia.

The technological limitations of the day were also responsible for a key gameplay component of Space Invaders—shooting enemies caused the remainder to move faster, palpably ramping up tension. “This was the result of the game board’s low processing power,” says Nishikado. “It was designed to draw one invader every 60th of a second, instead of all the invaders at once. At the start of the game, it takes about a second for all the invaders to take a step. As their number decreases, the time to draw them all becomes shorter, and so their speed of movement increases. This makes the game more interesting and effective—and compensated for the board’s lack of capacity.”

The ways that technical limitations can lead to innovation are often incredible.