Lost In Translation/Galaxian

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This page is a stub for arcade games that are part of the Lost In Translation series using information based on MAME (version 0.113u2).
For an example of preferred content and layout please refer to Out Run or The Ninja Warriors.

Galaxian marquee.
No screen shot.
Galaxian control panel.
Manufacturer Namco
Released 1979
2-way Joystick
1 Button(s)
Main CPU Z80 (@ 3.072 MHz)
Sound CPU Mono
Raster (Vertical)
256 x 224 pixels
60.61 Hz
98 Palette colours
Screens 1
ROM Info 8 ROMs
14,368 bytes (14.03 KiB)
MAME ID galaxian · galap1 · galap4 · galapx · galaxiaj · galmidw · galmidwo · galturbo · moonaln · starfght · superg · swarm · tst_galx · zerotime

About The Game

Galaxian is an arcade video game shoot-em-up.

This legendary single-screen shoot-em-up that took everything that made Taito's ground-breaking "Space Invaders" so good, and improved upon it on every level. Each screen starts with a wave of multi-coloured aliens moving left and right at the top of the screen; the aliens quickly break ranks and start dive-bombing the Galaxip (player's ship) - either in single units or in groups of 3 - dropping multiple missiles as they descend. All of the aliens need to be destroyed before the player can progress to the next wave.

Cast Of Characters

  • Galaxip : This is the name of the ship which you control at the bottom of the screen.
  • Galaxian : These attacking aliens come in 3 varieties, blue, purple, and red. They begin in formation at the top of the screen and will occasionally swoop down to attack you before returning to their position in the formation.
  • Flagship : At least two of these appear at the top of the formation at the start of each stage. They will swoop down to attack with one or two red Galaxians if any are nearby. If a flagship is one of the last enemies left of the screen, it will run away and appear as a third Flagship at the start of the next stage.


Released in October 1979.

Licensed to Midway for US manufacture and distribution (December 1979).

The Nichibutsu version is known as "Moon Alien".

Space battles of all kinds played a major role during the golden age of video games. With the introduction of Galaxian in 1979, players were transported to the most colorful and challenging space battle yet.

This was the first video game released with 100 percent of its graphics displayed in true R.G.B. color.

A Place In Video Game History

"Galaxian captivated the minds of quite a few arcade enthusiasts," said Chris Lindsey, director of the National Video Game and Coin-Op Museum in St. Louis. "It was a relatively early entry in the golden age of video games, and it capitalized on the enthusiasm created by the earlier video game classic, "Space Invaders", while providing a more colorful, enjoyable, and demanding gaming experience.

Galaxian had smarter bad guys than "Space Invaders", and it demanded that the player really pay attention to what was going on. And there were no shields, like many games have today. You really had to stay on the ball. Galaxian also had great sound and used elements that have since become standard -- such as flags and other symbols to mark the player's progression through different levels of game play.".

The Great 25-cent Escape

"Galaxian definitely gets an enthusiastic response," Lindsey said. "In fact, I deliberately position the game near the entrance of the museum. Often it's the first game people go to." Lindsey often sees parents trying to convey to their child the excitement of these great games. "It is funny for me when I see a father trying to explain a game to his kid. Junior really just wants to get on the game and figure it out, and Dad wants to do a demo. Dad starts instructing Junior while Junior is sort of looking around, wondering how he can get away. But Dad continues, busily explaining the nuances of the game, which he knows Junior can't get on the first play. This all shows the enthusiasm that a certain generation still has for these terrific games."

With or without a parent's help, Lindsey sees a younger generation embracing the classic arcade games. "Kids by themselves will actually do quite well on these games," Lindsey said. "I'm somewhat surprised when I see how good kids are at picking up games. I sort of think that because I'm older, I should be able to play better, and that's not always the case with video games. That's a lesson an entire generation has had to learn.".

Namco Notes

Galaxian was one of Namco's first video games, and engineers throughout the company were gathered into a special team. As the game neared completion, the engineers suspected they had created a good game because other Namco employees were extremely "excited and crazy about the game." Once Galaxian was released, they knew they had a winner because, as one Namco engineer reported, "People [at the arcades] piled their coins onto the game cabinets to keep playing, and those who were waiting were very irritated because their turn never came. There were huge lines of people around each machine.".

The Galaxian Flagship became a trademark of Namco as it makes cameo appearances in other Namco classics :

  • "Pac-Man" and "Pac-Man Plus" as the prize in levels 9 and 10.
  • "Galaga" as one of the 3 enemies that a Zako (normal blue/yellow bug ship) can transform into when it splits into 3.
  • "Dig Dug" as the prize in levels 16 and 17.
  • "Super Pac-Man" as the food item of level 15.
  • "Pac & Pal" as the power-up item of levels 1 and 2.
  • A silver-gray version appears as an enemy in later areas of "Super Xevious".
  • A 3-D version appears as a prize in later levels of "Pac-Mania".
  • The board layout in level 5 of "Quester".

Gary Whelan holds the official record for this game with 1,114,550 points, achieved the 24th August 2006 at Dukinfield in the UK.

Some hacks of this game are known as "Galaxian Part 4", "Galaxian Turbo", "Super Galaxians", "Super Invaders Galactica", "Swarm" and "Galaxian Part X". A Spanish bootleg made by Petaco S.A. is known as "Zero Time".

A Galaxian unit appears in the 1983 movie 'Joysticks'. It is also heard (but not seen) in the 1987 James Bond movie 'The Living Daylights'.


The only code difference between the original Namco version and the licensed Midway version is that the BONUS GALAXIP text is printed on a different line.

In clone Namco Set 2:

  • Lives dip switch can be set to 3 or 5 lives. The default is 3 lives.
  • Extra life dip switch can be set to 4000 (meaning a bonus Galaxip at 4000 points), 5000 points, 7000 points, or None (meaning no bunus Galaxip at any time). The default is 4000.


The maximum possible score shown is 999,990. Scores higher than this roll back to zero, but the high score will show the last score achieved before the rollover, which can vary from 999,990 to 999,200.

Target Points
Light Blue Ship in formation 30
Light Blue Ship attacking 60
Purple Ship in formation 40
Purple Ship attacking 80
Red Ship in formation 50
Red Ship attacking 100
Flagship in formation 60
Flagship attacking with no escorts 150
Flagship attacking with 1 escort 200
Flagship attacking with 2 escorts,
flagship killed before BOTH escorts
Flagship attacking with 2 escorts,
flagship killed AFTER both escorts

Tips and tricks

The action starts immediately as soon as you start your game. The Galaxians will be set up in formation and your Galaxip will be placed in the middle of the bottom of the screen. The action starts immediately. You can only have one shot in the air at any time so plan your shots accordingly. The game starts off slowly with only 2 or 3 Galaxians attacking your Galaxip at one time. They will drop 3 to 4 laser shots. As the waves progress, more Galaxians will come after your Galaxip until you will usually have 10-15 at any one time swooping down on it.

Each wave starts out with the Galaxians in formation, in the following quantities (in order from top to bottom) :

  1. Flagships : 2 (plus any that have escaped from battle in the previous wave, up to a maximum of 4 altogether)
  2. Red Galaxians (Escorts) : 6 (in 1 row, directly above the flagships)
  3. Purple Galaxians : 8 (in 1 row, directly above the red Galaxians)
  4. Blue Galaxians : 30 (in 3 rows of 10, directly above the purple Galaxians)
  5. Gold and Red are special enemies : they create convoys. Gold flagships have other special properties (see below). Purple and Blue are regular enemies.
  • The Galaxip can fire only shot on the screen at a time. It is possible to kill 2 enemies with one shot if they are flying extremely close to each other.
  • Missiles shot at the formation which miss by going between columns or near an outer edge of a column, will cause the formation to pause its left-right movement for a very short moment. This will usually, but not always, prevent missed shots near the columns from hitting the enemies in the upper rows of the formation which might otherwise be hit by moving into the shot as it flies by.
  • Enemies peel away from the formation and attack the Galaxip. Enemies fire at the Galaxip during their attack, but they can’t fire after they pass an invisible horizontal line just above the player’s ship.
  • Enemies always begin attack runs from the edges of the formation, never from the middle. This also applies to flagships but it is not readily observable unless there are 3 or 4 flagships present.
  • A 'swarm' is triggered by either of 2 criterion :
  1. The total number of enemies in formation is 3 or less.
  2. The total number of blue and purple enemies in formation is zero. This can occur when there are many flagships and escorts still present in formation.
  • When the 'swarm' starts, enemies that begin an attack do not return to formation : they keep attacking. Once started, a 'swarm' can only be ended by killing all of the enemies and/or letting them escape, or by the Galaxip getting hit.
  • Before the 'swarm' starts, enemies that attack, which are not killed, return to the formation. Since these enemies were on the edge of the formation and able to attack once, they are very likely to attack again soon.
  • When not in 'swarm', a maximum of 4 regular enemies can attack at any one time.
  • Flagships and convoys can attack at any time as long as another convoy attack is not already commencing; only one convoy attack can happen at a time.
  • A flagship will always create a convoy with the maximum number of escorts available to it, unless the 'swarm' has started.
  • The flagships 'capture' up to 3 red escorts while they are in formation : Whenever there is a flagship in formation directly above an escort or above it to one side, that escort is captured and cannot attack on its own. This capture effect ends when a 'swarm' begins.
  • The flagships can escape from the battle only if all three red escorts under their place in the formation have been killed. Flagships that escape will appear on the next attack wave, up to a maximum of 4 flagships at the start of any wave.
  • When an attacking flagship is killed, all enemies stop firing for a short period of time. If this kill occurs before the 'swarm', there will also be no new attacks from the formation during this period. These benefits never occur for killing a flagship that is in formation.
  • The flags which count the rounds show a maximum of round 48; rounds 48 and up are shown as round 48. However if round 256 is achieved, the flags start to roll over, but with some graphical glitches; the flags that were showing round 48 begin to get overwritten, one at a time. This results in the big 10-flags being cut in half by the regular flags which start to appear, until all 4 of the 10-flags are replaced by small ones. 16 single flags show during rounds 256+8 and 256+9 (rounds 264 and 265). The glitch ends at round 256+10 (266), which shows a single 10 flag.
  • After wave 1, it is possible to kill any one enemy, even a flagship, in a brand new formation by shooting at just the right time and place before the formation teleports in at the start of a new round.
  • The Galaxians that come down in a smooth pattern are the easiest to kill plus their shots are easy to avoid. The hard ones (usually the blue Galaxians) to kill are the ones where the Galaxian 'bounces' from side-to-side dropping shots since those shots cover a very large area.
  • The corners can be a death trap. When the Galaxians come down firing, their shots do not come straight down but they angle toward the direction that the Galaxian is traveling. In addition, the Galaxians have a tendency to 'charge' into the corners. You get the points if a Galaxian rams your Galaxip but you also lose your Galaxip in the process.
  • The Flagships are the big points in the game. Try to avoid shooting the red fighters since they act as escorts for the Flagship. Wait until a Flagship comes down with two escorts. If you can't get aligned to take all three out quickly, let them pass. If you do get a good angle on them, you will have to fire quickly to pick off the two escorts first, then the Flagship. If you hit the Flagship first, you get significantly less points.
  • Do not stop moving. If you do, you will be caught in a crossfire. The Galaxians tend to leave small areas of safety open between their shots. Also, make sure you are constantly hitting their formation to reduce their numbers (again, don't kill off the red ones).
  • As you progress into the higher waves, the Galaxians tend to move quicker, fly more erratic patterns, and 'gang' up on your Galaxip. Plan accordingly for this.


  1. Galaxian (1979)
  2. Galaga (1981)
  3. Gaplus (1984) also known as "Galaga 3".
  4. Galaga '88 (1987)
  5. Galaxian3 (1990)
  6. Galaxian3 Theatre 6 : Project Dragoon (1990)
  7. Galaxian3 Theatre 6 J2 : Attack Of The Zolgear (1994)
  8. Galaga - Destination Earth (2000, Nintendo Game Boy Color, PC CD-ROM and Sony PlayStation)
  9. Galaga Legions (2008, XBOX 360 [Xbox Live Arcade])

Cabinet and Artwork


Atari 5200 (1982)
Colecovision (1983)
Atari 2600 (1983)
Emerson Arcadia ("Galactica" clone, as "Space Attack")
Bally Astrocade ("Galactic Invasion")
Atari XEGS
Nintendo Famicom
Nintendo Famicom Disk (1990)
Nintendo Game Boy (1995, "Galaga & Galaxian")
Sony PlayStation (1996, "Namco Museum Vol.3")
Sony PlayStation (1994, "Ridge Racer") (Play the game while the main game loads)
Nintendo 64 (1999, "Namco Museum 64")
Sega Dreamcast (1999, "Namco Museum")
Sony PlayStation 2 (2001, "Namco Museum")
Nintendo GameCube (2002, "Namco Museum")
Microsoft XBOX (2002, "Namco Museum")
Sony PlayStation 2 (2005, "Namco Museum 50th Anniversary")
Microsoft XBOX (2005, "Namco Museum 50th Anniversary")
Nintendo GameCube (2005, "Namco Museum 50th Anniversary")
Sony PSP (2005, "Namco Museum Battle Collection")
Apple II (1980, "Galaxian" - Star Craft Tokyo)
Commodore Vic 20 (1981, "Star Battle" - Hal Laboratory)
Apple II (1981, "Alien Typhoon" - Star Craft)
Tandy Color Computer (1982, "Galax Attax")
Tandy Color Computer (1982, "Space Ambush")
BBC B (1982, "Arcadians" - Acornsoft)
Acorn Electron (1982, "Arcadians" - Acornsoft)
Sinclair ZX81 (1982, "ZX Galaxians" - Artic)
Atari 800 (1982)
Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1982, "Galaxian" - Artic)
Commodore C64 (1983, "Galaxions" - Solar Software)
Exidy Sorcerer
Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1983, "Galaxian" - Atarisoft)
Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1983, "Galactians" - DK'Tronics (UK))
PC [Booter] (1983)
PC [MS-DOS] (1983, "Galaxian" - Atarisoft)
MSX (1984)
Fujitsu FM-7 (1985)
Atari ST (1993, "Galaxian" - PD / Shareware - Sinister Developments)
PC [MS-DOS] (1997, "ChampGalaxia" - CHAMProgramming)
PC [MS-DOS] (1996, "Galaxi" - PD / Shareware - Kurt W. Dekker)
Commodore Amiga (1998, "Galaxians v1.3" - PD / Shareware - Kev Gallagher)
PC [MS Windows 95, 3.5] (1995, "Microsoft Return of Arcade")
PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (2000, "Microsoft Return of Arcade 20th Anniversary")
PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (2005, "Namco Museum 50th Anniversary")
VFD tabletop game (1980, "Galaxian") released by Bandai
VFD tabletop game (19??, "Moon Alien", alt. name) released by Bandai
VFD tabletop game (19??, "Beam Galaxian", Japanese release) released by Bandai
VFD handheld game (1981, "Galaxian 2", called Galaxian 2 because it can be a two-player game) by Entex (or Futuretronics)
VFD handheld game (1981, "Astro Galaxy", Japanese release) by Entex
VFD handheld game (1981, "Astro Invader", Hales release) by Entex
VFD tabletop game (1981) released by Coleco
Namco Classics TV Game (2003 - Jakk's Pacific)
Mobile Phones (2003, "Galaxian Mini")

Soundtrack Releases

Album Name Catalogue No. Released Publisher Comments
Namco Arcade 80's SCDC-00272[1] 2003-05-21 Scitron Discs CD version.
Arcade Ambiance 1981 N/A[2] 2002-01-01 Andy Hofle Digital download only.
Game Sound Museum ~Namcot~ 01 Galaxian / Galaga / Pac-Man SDEX-0040[3] 2004-12-23 Scitron CD version.

External Links


The contents of this page are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
The sources used include MAME (version 0.113u2) and history.dat (revision 1.28 - 2008-10-18).
Please see http://www.arcade-history.com for credits.