Are Galaga And Galaxian The Same?

Are Galaga And Galaxian The Same?

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Have you ever wondered if two games were basically the same game but with two seperate manufacturers? Maybe you recently found out a bunch of stuff you learned as a kid was a lie, and you wonder if this could be a lie too!

So are Galaga and Galaxian the same?

Although both Galaga and Galaxian are games based upon the original Space Invaders, they are not the same game. Instead, Galaga is actually a sequel to Galaxian.

You can check out the videos below to see the differences in the games. The first video shows the Galaga gameplay and the second shows Galaxian.

Where did the games come from?

Back in 1978, the video game industry experienced a small revolution when Taito, one of the

leading video game publishers in Japan, released Space Invaders. In front of the commercial

success of this video game, another Japanese leading company in video games named Namco released Galaxian in 1979 and soon after Galaga in 1981. 

Both games were definitely inspired by the original Space Invaders but both games brought technical and gameplay innovations which really differentiated them from Space Invaders. Even with these differences from space invaders, Galaxian and Galaga were only released a few years apart. These two games are quite different in many ways, and both bring a lot of new ideas and technicalities  from the original Space Invaders. But what about the two games? Are they the same game with different names? Although they are the same in a lot of ways, they are also different. 

Space invaders

When Taito released Space Invaders in 1978 they created the standards for the Shoot them up video games industry and turned video games into a gold mine. The concept was simple, try to kill as many enemie’s ships before they kill you. Along the way you would gain points so you could get a high score and keep track of who was better at the game. 

Space Invaders was a very simple black and white game with waves of alien ships slowly coming down the screen. When they would reach the bottom of the screen you would lose the game. Because the game was super simple, and the game was very innovative for its time,  it quickly gained a lot of success. Because of all of its quick success, the game became extremely popular as more and more people heard of the game and began to play it. 

Arcade Machines

It was the golden age of video gaming and arcades started to pop up everywhere in Japan and the United States of America. In 1979, the Japanese game publisher Namco came out with Galaxian and in 1981 they released Galaga. Even though both games were directly inspired by Space Invaders, they were different. Galaxian and Galaga brought  new gameplay, and new graphics that would really make them stand apart from the original Space Invaders. Namco was also hoping this would make them the leading video game publisher Worldwide!

The introduction of colors in video games

The first main difference in Galaxian and Galaga compare to Space Invaders was the

introduction of RGB graphics. The introduction of color was a huge step forward in 1979.

Because Space Invaders was released back in 1978 before there were any colored video games or tvs, it could not compete with the newer versions.

To bring colors to the Galaga, the designers of the arcade cabinet used transparent colored films that were applied on the screen in order to create the illusion of colors.For a while it worked pretty well as the bright black and white graphics associated with the different colored cellophane brought colors to the player. The problem became that the cellophane film did not hold up so well after a few weeks of being on the machine.  

Galaxian was very different as it came with full RGB colors, a mix of Red, Green and Blue pixels that allowed the game to bring bright and vivid colors to life. These colors brough extra stimulus to the players as well as better readability of the ongoing actions. From now on, gamers were demanding colors and the industry boosted new technologies to respond to the need of game developers.

More action-packed gaming

The second main innovation Namco brought to the shooting video game genre was more action with far more enemies. Space Invaders was simply a wave of fifty-five ships slowly coming down the screen while shooting at you. 

On the other hand you have Galaxian which introduced a new challenge with alien ships now able to leave the group and shoot at you as they fly down the screen. They would try to hit your ship with their bullets, or simply collide with you to make you lose a precious life. Not only did you have to destroy the wave of attacking ships, but now you also had to avoid a collision with alien ships while they were shooting at you. Gamers never experienced anything quite like this before. This took shooting games to a whole new level for everyone! 

Galaxian was definitely more action-packed and challenging than Space Invaders, and this made the game very successful. Two years later,  Namco released Galaga. Galaga brought more new innovations and action-packed gameplay to the game with its release. Galaga was not just a sequel of Galaxian, it created the actual standards of modern shooting games with new features that had never been seen before. 

For the first time in video game history the gameplay allowed two players to play at one time! Galaga allowed you to play with two ships side by side so you could double your firepower. The downside was that every four levels the players found themselves facing more challenging advanced stages where you needed to kill all the alien ships quickly in a fast-paced action-packed level.

How Galaxian and Galaga differs

Even though  the graphics in both games are very similar, Galaxian and Galaga are definitely two different evolutions in shooting  games. The difference between the two games allowed

Namco to become a very successful video game publisher worldwide. Galaxian was clearly inspired by Space Invaders with the same type of gameplay and game mechanics. The difference was that Galaxian had colors and individually attacking alien ships that made it really differentiate from Space Invaders. 

Galaga on the other hand brought major changes and created a really different type of game. The possibility to have two ships fighting side by side and the introduction of more challenging stages were two new features in shooting games that would become the new standards in the video gaming industry and are still prevailing today in most shooting games. Galaga gave the player more strategic options and a faster-paced gameplay. The challenging stages allowed people to reach a high score faster.


 Both games are now considered as classic and are available on all types of platforms. We think the best way to play these games are on arcade machines! Since most people cannot afford the original arcade machines, most people tend to purchase the ¾ scale brand new one. This arcade machine is available here, and the best part is that the one arcade machine includes both Galaga and Galaxian arcade games in the exact same place! You will not want to let this deal pass you by as this game will not last long! 

Matt Robbs

There is nothing quite so enjoyable as bringing back memories from your childhood. We used to spend hours playing pinball in my friends basement and that really got me involved in everything retro!

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