I've been a fan of video games pretty much my entire life. And there's a couple of titles out there that have become pretty much standards for me. Games that I could go back and play again and again and Galaga is one of those standards. It's a game that I used to play all the time on the NES but it originated from the arcade. In fact it wasn't even the first in the series of games that were kind of inspired by Space Invaders. Galaga was the sequel to Galaxian. Back in the early ‘80s when kids would play Galaxian they were limited to playing it in the arcades because there was really no other good solution to playing these games anywhere else. That is until 1981 when Coleco and Midway teamed up to make a bunch of tiny miniature arcades. Today we're looking at Galaxian.
Despite its size this table top arcade manages to take the Galaxian arcade experience and replicate it in a small form-factor about the size of a car battery. But don't let its size fool you this Galaxian mini arcade has the exact same gameplay you'd find in a Galaxian arcade in an actual arcade. The only difference is that this system does not use a full color display simply because back in 1981 that would have been crazy expensive and probably technically impossible. What it uses instead is a VF which is a vacuum fluorescent display. It's not quite like LEDs or LCD screens but it has a very bright and awesome look that you can only get from this kind of display method. All the gameplay is not as smooth as the original arcade version because of its display method however there's a couple of extra perks for owning this version. For instance it has two different single-player game modes — original Galaxian and Midway's Attackers. Midway's Attackers is very similar to Space Invaders with a couple of alterations. It still feels like Galaxian but just with a lot more enemies up on the screen at any given moment. It's a bit of a change but it's a welcome addition to an already impressive package. As an added bonus not only does this game have two single-player modes but it also has a two-player mode. The two-player mode isn't quite Galaxian or Space Invaders. It's sort of a mix between both I guess. It's a head-to-head gameplay mode where you can choose between a short session or a long session and both modes are pretty fun to play. The display is very bright and easy to see no matter what angle you're looking at it from so because of that it's very easy to play even with a friend.
Certain companies have interesting backgrounds and Coleco has a really interesting and varied history. They didn't start off making electronics they started off as the Connecticut Leather Company. Simply put they eventually got out of selling leather and started making toys and video games and stuff like that. I think that's an improvement. While I do like Galaxian I wish that this kind of technology was used to make Galaga portable. Galaga I find is just a better game. It's got bonus stages, far more interesting events that happen on screen and it's all around just a much better game than Galaxian.
When you get down to it the portable version of Galaxian is actually better than the arcade version. I mean obviously the gameplay isn't absolutely perfect but because of the additional features that the miniature arcade version has it kind of just outweighs its competition. And the fact that it was cheaper and you could buy it and bring it home that just added to the value. It's kind of weird that a company would go out of their way to make a portable version that had more features than the full-featured version at the arcades but there you have it. Proof that sometimes these miniature versions are so much better than the arcade versions that were released. So if you're ever out there in the wild and you see one of these things for a good price pick it up and give it a shot. You might not be disappointed.