North American arcade flyer
|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.
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 shot 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. 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 capturing alien will fly down with the captured fighter in tow 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 with the disadvantage of a target twice as large.
Galaga has an exploitable bug that can cause the attackers to stop firing bullets at the player, due to a coding error. 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.
- Galaxian (1979)
- Galaga (1981)
- Gaplus/Galaga 3 (1984)
- Galaga '88 (1987)
- Galaga Legions (2008)
- Galaga Legions DX (2011)
- Galaga 3D Impact (2011)
Ports and re-releases
The original arcade version of Galaga has been ported to several systems. These include:
- Atari 7800
- Famicom Disk System (developed by Namco)
- Game Boy (bundled with its direct predecessor, Galaxian)
- Famicom/NES (as Galaga: Demons of Death in North America, distributed by Bandai America)
- SG-1000 (as Sega-Galaga)
- TRS-80 Color Computer (as a clone named Galagon by Spectral Associates)
The game has been re-released on the following systems:
- Virtual Console: Famicom/NES port released in North America on April 9, 2007 for the Wii and on August 15, 2013 for the Wii U; In Japan, the arcade version released on November 24, 2009 for the Wii while the Famicom/NES port released on May 22, 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS.
- Xbox Live Arcade—released July 26, 2006
- iOS (Galaga Remix, includes original)—released March 31, 2009
- Nintendo 3DS: As part of the retail title Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions; Released in Japan on June 23, 2011; North America on July 26, 2011; Europe on August 26, 2011.
- Roku—released October 24, 2011
Galaga has also been released as part of the Namco Museum series of collections across several platforms:
- Nintendo 64 (Namco Museum 64)
- Nintendo DS (Namco Museum DS)
- PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance (Namco Museum)
- PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance and Microsoft Windows (Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary Arcade Collection)
- PlayStation Portable (Namco Museum Battle Collection)
- PlayStation (as part of Namco Museum Volume 1)
- Dreamcast (Namco Museum)
- Xbox 360 (Namco Museum Virtual Arcade)
- PlayStation 3 (Namco Museum Essentials)
- Wii (Namco Museum Megamix)
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 began releasing Galaga on mobile platforms in 2004. The game is available for play on most game-enabled cell phones, Palm devices and Pocket PCs. 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.
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 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." 
Galaga, along with Galaxian, Galpus, and Galaga '88, was "redesigned and modernized" for an iPhone app compilation called the Galaga 30th Collection, released in commemoration of the event by Namco Bandai.
Critical reception and legacy
|This section requires expansion. (September 2012)|
On release, Famicom Tsūshin scored the Game Boy version of the game a 24 out of 40. In an article on MAME-based arcade game emulation, Games magazine's Eric Berlin placed Galaga among his top 7 best holding-up titles from the past, and he described the game as one of the few titles of the era to add new twists to the Space Invaders formula by allowing the aliens to capture your ship.
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. On January 1, 2011 Andrew Laidlaw of Kirkland, WA claimed the Tournament setting world record (five ships only, set to greatest difficulty) with a score of 4,525,150 points. 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
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.
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.
In the 2013 novel University, set in the 1980s, one segment focuses on a marathon Galaga session, with wheelchair-bound freshman Dwight Manning making a run at the then-existing world record.
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- "2009 News Releases". Sprint. Retrieved 2009-05-01.
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- Berlin, Eric. "Rediscover the Classics - As Good As Ever". Games. Issue 158 (Vol 24, #1). Pg.11. February 2000.
- "Galaga Marathon High Scores". TwinGalaxies.com. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
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- Matthew Broderick - Fact File
- Official Lost Podcast/April 16, 2007
- Clark, Cody (24 May 2012). "Don't go tugging on Iron Man's, um, whatever". Daily Herald (Provo, Utah: Lee Enterprises).
- "2009 Galaga, Magic". HallmarkOrnaments.com. The Ornament Factory. Retrieved 2012-04-30.
- Grisham, John William (2013). University. Aloha Lounge Press. ISBN 0-9889-6040-0.
- Sellers, John (2001). Arcade Fever: The Fan's Guide to the Golden Age of Video Games. Running Press. ISBN 0-7624-0937-1.
- Galaga at the Killer List of Videogames
- Galaga at the Arcade History database
- Galaga at MobyGames
- Galaga guide at StrategyWiki
- Galaga on Mobile at NamcoGames.com