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Galaga Vs Galaxian: Are They The Same?

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Have you ever wondered if the Galaga and Galaxia games were basically the same game but with two separate manufacturers? Maybe you remember playing them but are unsure if they were the same game with different names.

So are Galaga and Galaxian the same?

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

Some of the main differences between Galaxian and Galaga are:

  • Graphics are considerably better on Galaga.
  • The gameplay of Galaga is much more intricate. In Galaga, you have many enemy ships shooting at you while flying in erratic patterns while Galaxian is a single alien falling down toward you while the others bounce across the screen.
  • The movement of the aliens in Galaxian is very similar to Space Invaders while the alien ships in Galaga make the game much more intense (and difficult) to beat because of their movements.

In both Galaga & Galaxian, you are a fighter jet that can shoot a single shot at a time. The major difference between the two games is how the attacking aliens move in each mission.

You can check out the videos below of each of these classic arcade titles to see the differences between the games. The first video shows the Galaga gameplay and the second shows Galaxian.

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Galaga Vs Space Invaders

So you now know that Galaga and Galaxian aren’t the same game. But what about Space Invaders and Galaga? Are they the same game? What are the differences between the games?

Galaga and Space Invaders are not the same game as Space Invaders was released in 1978 by Taito while Galaga was released by Namco in 1981. Although the games are similar in how they are played there are a few differences between them.

Some of the major differences between Galaga and Space Invaders are:

  • Galaga has much more in-depth gameplay than Space Invaders. Space Invaders has all of the alien forces on the screen at the start of each level while in Galaga the ships come in different waves.
  • Space Invaders has far worse graphics than Galaga does.
  • In Space Invaders, you shoot at the aliens as they slowly move down the screen. In Galaga, you will be shooting at the alien ships instead as they fly around the screen.
  • Another big difference between the games is that in Space Invaders you start off with barricades that you can hide behind. In Galaga, you have to down all of the shots from the alien ships.
  • In Space Invaders there are no swooping creatures that try and take you out. Just aliens that slowly move down the screen. In Galaga, you have to fight a horde of colorful zig-zagging alien ships.
  • Galaga has many different bonus rounds that you can play as you advance through the game while Space Invaders doesn’t have that gameplay.

In both of these games, you will have a single laser cannon to try and take out the evil aliens but with Galaga, you can upgrade that cannon to defeat the relentless aliens. Galaga also requires you to consider the different angles that the tractor beam could come from while Space Invaders always have the full attack coming from above as the alien shooters slowly move down the screen.

Both of these games are fun for players of all ages but Galaga is considerably better than both Space Invaders and its predecessor Galaxian.

If you are interested in seeing the differences between Space Invaders and Galaga yourself you can actually play them both online. Space Invaders can be played here while Galaga can be played here.

Where Did Galaga and Galaxian 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 enemies’ ships as you can 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. In Space Invaders, you have a guard/defense that you can hide behind to keep the aliens from hitting your ship.

However, when the aliens 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!

Space Invaders Vs Galaxian & Galaga Colors

The first main difference between Galaxian and Galaga when compared 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, 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 brought 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.

Space Invaders Vs Galaxian & Galaga Action

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 to 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 Differences

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 different 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 faster-paced gameplay. The challenging stages allowed people to reach a high score faster.


 Space Invaders, Galaxian, and Galaga are all now considered classics and are available on all types of platforms. I personally think the best way to play these games is on arcade machines!

With the excitement of the original arcade games played on an arcade machine you really can’t go wrong!

Since most people cannot afford the original arcade machines, most people tend to purchase the ¾ scale brand new ones. 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!