Name: Space Invader
Debut: Space Invaders
Can you believe it? We have covered so many iconic enemies on this blog, but perhaps not the most iconic video-game enemy of them all! Sure, the Pac-Man Ghosts, the Minecraft Creeper, Plugg, they’re all pretty high up there, but when you think about it the Space Invader has to take the cake! How many video-game enemies have their own emoji? 👾
Heck, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say this creature is synonymous with the very concept of Video-Games! This is the kind of little guy who would flash on your television screen as you play a computer game with a little joystick with one big red button on it. This is the kind of little guy who I would print on a T-Shirt and Beanie to prove to the world that, yes I game! I can press buttons! I know that Super Mario Bros. 2 was originally called Doki Doki Panic because the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 was deemed too difficult for America!
The Space Invader’s sprites are so ingrained in our memories that we don’t often think about the aliens on the actual arcade game’s art, huh? Well this is a perfectly good Alien Monster! A furry man like the Wookiees from Star Trek, but dark and ominous with harsh red lighting! This guy definitely looks like he’s got some invading to do!
I say this design isn’t too well-known, but apparently it is iconic enough to get its own figma! Wow! You can really see the fur in this one- without a doubt, this is a mammal! I bet it has six teats under there.
But if you ask me, there is just no beating the look of the sprite! It’s vague enough to leave a lot to the imagination, but there’s plenty here to love! The little dot eyes and the insectoid antennae! the little arms/mandibles/alien tentacles (if you’re feeling spicy)- a mammal this certainly is not! This is an absolutely ideal Little Guy, a computer creature to blow up on your screen. We’re so accustomed to seeing it that I think we all forget how Awesome this is! And look at how it jumps for joy!
Do you know what we aren’t accustomed enough to, in my opinion? It’s the other aliens from Space Invaders! The middle alien is quintessential of course, but they can’t Space Invade alone! They need the help of their friends! The Squid invader hangs out at the top of the screen, perhaps because they are the smallest and most vulnerable of the three. How thoughtful!
And the Octopus invader! This image is smaller than the last one but trust me when I say they are wider! And they have two, count ‘em, two, pixels for their eyes, so I interpret them as having closed eyes and being dozy or a little sleepy because that is cute. They hang out at the bottom because they are the best defense!
Now hold on! If the big and little invaders are confirmed to be Squids and Octopuses, what the heck is the medium invader? The answer is: Crab! It was a crab hiding under our noses all along! This was all apparently confirmed through a 40th anniversary interview revealing original concept art, but do you know what? I’m not a fan! And you know we love any and all crabs here, but I think the sprite is quite fun in its mystery, plus it is very un-crablike! Only four limbs, without distinct claws? And don’t get me even get me started on the lack of eyestalks! This isn’t amateur hour! So I continue to headcanon the medium invader as something not-crab. You can’t control my life, Toshihiro Nishikado!
Also, this concept art for Octopus really looks like a jellyfish, which got me thinking: there are a lot of Japanese aliens that are just vague jellyfish/cephalapod monsters huh?
It’s almost the default there compared to the typical gray alien, and if you ask me it is way better! Meeting another sentient race and finding out they are like humans but grey and with big eyes? Snore! Meeting another sentient race and finding out they are talking jellyfish people? Awooga! This is also the second time we have used Pretty Cure and Rhythm Heaven as examples in the same paragraph, but probably not the last? There’s definitely more examples of this trope I can’t think of, so Please send us any funny jellyfish aliens you have. I’m begging you.
Er... anyway! The last member of the Invader Crew is the UFO, and I wasn’t sure to count them but why the heck not? They are presumably just a flying saucer, which don’t get me wrong is always fun, but what if they are also a creature with many eyes? You can’t say for sure!
Actually, when I said they were the last member two sentences ago, I lied! This is Shapeshifting Cuttlefish, from Space Invaders Part II! First of all, what a name! Second of all, this doesn’t look like a cuttlefish in the slightest! But it is very funny and looks like an emoji with feet, so I forgive it. Plus, they have the special property of splitting into a smaller guy when you shoot them! Cool!
The Cuttlefish’s concept art is even weirder! This DEFINITELY isn’t a cuttlefish! It is more like... a little man with hair. I mean, I love it! But what the heck?
While Space Invaders (1978), was definitely “groundbreaking” or “influential” or whatever, let’s not kid ourselves- their most important role was in Pixels (2015), also known as The Movie Where Josh Gad Breeds With Q*Bert! What do they do in this movie? I assume they invade! I will no longer discuss Pixels (2015).
In conclusion: all the Invaders are great friends, and they love to hang out in rows of eleven and move slowly downwards and sideways, while doing their little dances. Don’t interrupt them! They’re having a good time!
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