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definition - Galaga

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Galaga flyer.jpg
North American arcade flyer
Developer(s) Namco
Publisher(s) Namco, Midway
Platform(s) Arcade
Release date(s) 1981
Genre(s) Fixed shooter
Mode(s) Up to two players, alternating turns
Cabinet Upright, cocktail, cabaret
Arcade system Namco Galaga
CPU 3x ZiLOG Z80 @ 3.072 MHz
Sound 1 × Namco WSG (3-channel mono) @ 3.072 MHz
1 × Namco 54xx @ 1.536 MHz
Display RGB raster, vertical orientation (19-inch diagonal)

Galaga (ギャラガ Gyaraga?) is a fixed shooter arcade game developed and published by Namco in Japan and published by Midway in North America in 1981. It is the sequel to Galaxian, released in 1979. The gameplay of Galaga puts the player in control of a space ship which is situated on the bottom of the screen. At the beginning of each stage, the area is empty, but over time, enemy aliens fly in formation, and once all of the enemies arrive on screen, they will come down at the player's ship in formations of one or more and may either shoot it or collide with it. During the entire stage, the player may fire upon the enemies, and once all enemies are vanquished, the player moves onto the next stage.

Galaga has proven very successful. The arcade version of it has been ported to many consoles, and it has had several sequels, most recently Galaga Legions for the Xbox Live Arcade service.



  Gameplay screenshot

The objective of Galaga is to score as many points as possible by destroying insect-like enemies. The player controls a starfighter that can move left and right along the bottom of the playfield. Enemies swarm in groups in a formation near the top of the screen, and then begin flying down toward the player, firing bombs at the fighter. The game ends when the player's last fighter is lost, either by colliding with an enemy or one of its bullets, or by being captured.

Galaga introduces a number of new features over its predecessor, Galaxian. Among these is the ability to fire more than one bullet at a time, a count of the player's "hit/miss ratio" at the end of the game, and a bonus "Challenging Stage" that occurs every few levels, in which a series of enemies fly onto and out of the screen in set patterns without firing at the player's ship or trying to crash into it.[1] These stages award a 10,000-point bonus if the player manages to destroy every enemy.

Another gameplay feature new to Galaga is the ability for enemies to capture the player's fighter. While the player is in control of just one fighter, a "boss Galaga" (which takes two shots to kill) periodically attempts to capture the fighter using a tractor beam. If successful, the fighter joins the enemy formation. If the player has more lives remaining, play resumes with a new fighter. The captured fighter flies down with the enemy that captured it, firing upon the player just like normal enemies, and can be shot and destroyed. The player can free the fighter by destroying the boss Galaga while in flight, causing the captured fighter to link up with the player's current fighter, doubling his or her firepower but also making a target twice as large. Research suggests that a strategy based on double shooters dominates single shooter any day.[2]

Galaga has an exploitable bug that can cause the attackers to stop firing bullets at the player, due to a coding error.[3] In addition, similar to the famous "Split-Screen bug" in Pac-Man, a bug exists in Galaga in which the game "rolls over" from Level 255 to Level 0. Depending on the difficulty setting of the machine, this can cause the game to stall, requiring that the machine be reset or power-cycled in order to start a new game.

  Release history

  Galaxian series

  1. Galaxian (1979)
  2. Galaga (1981)
  3. Gaplus/Galaga 3 (1984)
  4. Galaga '88 (1987)
  5. Galaga Legions (2008)
  6. Galaga Legions DX (2011)
  7. Galaga 3D Impact (2011)

  Ports and re-releases

  Galaga on the Atari 7800

The original arcade version of Galaga has been ported to several systems. These include:

The game has been re-released on the following systems:

Galaga has also been released as part of the Namco Museum series of collections across several platforms:

Galaga was used as a side game during the loading stage of the PlayStation port of Tekken in 1995. This version consisted entirely of challenging stages. In Point Blank 2, there are a few Galaga challenging stages where the player must shoot a certain amount of enemies to complete the stage. In 2001, Namco released a "20 Year Reunion / Class of 1981" arcade unit which contained the original Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga games. Some of the original game's bugs are still present in this version, including the ability to stop all enemies from firing at the player. This version added a continue feature, once the player's lives are exhausted, the player can choose to continue or start over. The game was later released as part of the Pac-Man's Arcade Party arcade machine in 2010.

Namco most recently released Galaga on mobile platforms, starting in 2004. The game is available for play on most game-enabled cell phones, Palm devices and Pocket PCs.[4] In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the game, Sprint is also offering their wireless subscribers the chance to start the game in Dual Fighter Mode.[5]

Galaga is also one of the bonus arcade games included in the Wii and Nintendo 3DS versions of Pac-Man Party.


In 1995, Namco re-released Galaga along with an enhanced remake titled Galaga Arrangement, which features a number of graphical enhancements and gameplay differences from the original. Galaga Arrangement has subsequently been published as part of the Namco Museum compilation on several home video game consoles. Another remake, Galaga: Destination Earth, was released in 1998 for Windows, the Sony PlayStation, and the Game Boy Color.

A Galaga Remix game was part of the 2007 Wii compilation Namco Museum Remix and its 2010 follow-up compilation, Namco Museum Megamix, but its gameplay completely unlike that of the original—the Wii remote is used as a gun, and players must "protect Pac-Man as he rolls through space, and quickly shoot down invading forces before they attack him." [6]

Galaga, along with Galaxian, Galpus, and Galaga '88, was "redesigned and modernized"[7] for an iPhone app compilation called the Galaga 30th Collection, released in commemoration of the event by Namco Bandai. The collection app comes with Galaxian as a free game, with the remaining three games available in-app for $3 each or the complete set for $8. The app also features "Galaga points", collected as the games are played and used to unlock various consumable power-ups and special arcade cabinet designs, including the original art for each game.[8]


The world record high score for Galaga was set in June 1989 by Stephen Krogman of Boca Raton, Florida. Krogman scored 15,999,990 points based on Marathon rules.[9] On January 1, 2011 Andrew Laidlaw of Kirkland, WA reclaimed the Tournament setting world record (five ships only, set to greatest difficulty) with a score of 4,525,150 points.[10] Also from Twin Galaxies, the Rapid Fire setting (depression of the fire button causes continuous shooting) world record and Ms. Pac-Man / Galaga: Class of 1981 Fast Shot setting world records are held by Jon Klinkel of Battle Creek, MI with scores of 3,210,590 and 2,913,720 respectively.

  Galaga in popular culture

  Galaga Christmas tree ornament

In 1982, shortly after Galaga was released in the United States, MGM sent a Galaga machine to Matthew Broderick for him to practice prior to shooting the movie WarGames. He practiced for two months and the Galaga arcade unit makes two appearances in the film.[11] In 2007, the ABC TV series Lost included a submarine named Galaga, in honor of the arcade game. Writers of the series would often play the game between writing sessions.[12]

Galaga appeared briefly in 2012's The Avengers. Upon entering S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Helicarrier, Tony Stark catches an agent playing Galaga and remarks, "That man is playing Galaga. Thought we wouldn't notice, but we did." After the Avengers' team meeting, the agent returns to his game.[13]

In 2009, the Hallmark greeting card company released a Christmas tree ornament shaped like a Galaga arcade machine, complete with sound clips from the game.[14]

  Further reading

  • Sellers, John (2001). Arcade Fever: The Fan's Guide to the Golden Age of Video Games. Running Press. ISBN 0-7624-0937-1. 


  1. ^ Galaga at MobyGames
  2. ^ http://g3.posterous.com/galaga-data-study-double-shooter-strategy-aff-0
  3. ^ "Computer Archeology analysis of the Galaga no-fire bug". http://computerarcheology.com/galaga/galaga.html. Retrieved 2010-04-20. 
  4. ^ "Galaga". Namco Games. https://www.namcogames.com/mobile/galaga_8.html. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  5. ^ "2009 News Releases". Sprint. http://www2.sprint.com/mr/news_dtl.do?id=11880. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  6. ^ Description of the game on the publisher's website
  7. ^ "Jesse David Hollington, "Namco releases Galaga 30th Anniversary Collection"". 2011-06-09. http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/news/comments/namco-releases-galaga-30th-anniversary-collection/. 
  8. ^ "Galaga 30th Anniversary Collection information from Apple iTunes". 2011-06-09. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/galaga-30th-collection/id413616338?mt=8#. 
  9. ^ "Galaga Marathon High Scores". TwinGalaxies.com. http://www.twingalaxies.com/index.aspx?c=22&pi=2&gi=3773&vi=1244. Retrieved 2010-06-21. 
  10. ^ "Andrew Laidlaw reclaims Galaga world record". http://twingalaxies.com/index.aspx?c=27&id=2335. 
  11. ^ Matthew Broderick - Fact File
  12. ^ Official Lost Podcast/April 16, 2007
  13. ^ Clark, Cody (24 May 2012). "Don't go tugging on Iron Man's, um, whatever". Daily Herald (Provo, Utah: Lee Enterprises). http://www.heraldextra.com/blogs/great-escape/don-t-go-tugging-on-iron-man-s-um-whatever/article_114c11a6-a088-59f1-8769-319fe799b942.html. 
  14. ^ "2009 Galaga, Magic". HallmarkOrnaments.com. The Ornament Factory. http://www.hallmarkornaments.com/hallmark-ornaments-by-year/2009/2009-galaga-magic. Retrieved 2012-04-30. 

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