One of the mainstays of any arcade in the 1980’s was the classic Galaga by Midway Games. I remember playing this game for hours pumping in quarter and after quarter trying to get the high score by destroying as many insect like aliens as possible as they dropped from the grid trying to crash into my ship. It was destroy or be destroyed. Even though I never got the number one spot on the high score screen I did get to put my initials in the high score a couple of times which gave me hope that someday I might be the high score.
One of the great things about this Galaga was the ability to shoot multiple shots, where in the past with other games you could only shoot one shot at a time and could not shoot again until the last blast was off the screen. This made for much more excitement and the action. As you moved your star fighter left and right as the aliens dropped down you could fire unlimited shots at the alien grid and destroy multiple aliens with your multiple blasts.
Another thing I enjoyed about Galaga was it was one of the first to give you a “hit/miss ratio” after each round so you could see how well your aim was. I always got a very low ratio as when I would start blasting I would not stop until the last alien was dead. Then it was off to the bonus “Challenging Stage” which is a free for all turkey shoot. Getting 100% was tough but if you knew the game it was common place and I could get the 10,000 bonus points almost every time. This was a great feature as it made you think you could win this game of never ending streams of bug like aliens trying to crash into your ship.
One of the greatest features of Galaga was the ability to capture ships, the aliens would send down a boss, which took two shots to destroy, and they would shoot a tractor beam and try to capture your ship. Then if you where good enough you could blast the boss recapturing your ship and have multiple ships in play offering double fire power. This was always a part of my strategy in the game, to get one ship captured so you could have the double fire power. This was a missed blessing as when you had two ships going you where definitely a bigger target. It was always just a matter of time before you would lose one to a free falling alien.
One thing I do remember the most about Galaga was that there was a bug in the system, no pun intended, that when played right the insects would stop firing and it was a free for all bug shoot for as long as you could play. Even though some called this cheating I called it fun and was able to rake up the points every time. What is the fun in knowing about a flaw if you don’t exploit it?
Over all Galaga was and still is one of the greatest arcade games of all time and when I see it in an arcade I always drop a few quarters in it for nostalgia sake.