Diehard GameFAN Hall of Fame Nomination: Galaga

Every week, we will present a new game to be nominated for the Diehard GameFAN Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame. These nominations will occur every Monday and Friday, respectively. Our standards are just like the Baseball Hall of Fame: every game will be voted on by members of the staff, and any game that gets 75% of the vote – with a minimum of four votes – will be accepted – or thrown – into their respective Hall.

Game: Galaga
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco and Bally Midway
Release Date: September/December 1981 – Japan and United States
System Released On: Arcade Baby! Ported to Atari 7800, Famicom,
Game Boy, GameTap, MSX, NES, Sega SG-1000, TurboGrafx, Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer, Nintendo Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade, iPhone, the PlayStation Network and released in compilations on the Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance, PC, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation, Dreamcast, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3
Genre: Shooter

Who Nominated The Game: Hail to the King, Baby

Why Was It Nominated: While Galaga is a sequel to Galaxian, and many may even say almost a carbon copy, I felt it was enough given the time to be ultimately a superior title. Since it hit the arcades this game has swallowed more quarters of my own than I care to count. I probably could have bought my own arcade machine by now. The game has been a mainstay in the arcades since its release in the early 80’s and it’s seen some form of release on every major system to date. If a system hasn’t gotten a release of Galaga you’re probably not playing it anymore.

With deceptively simple game mechanics, there were some neat options not always disclosed by the game, like retaking a captured ship to double your fire and area of fire, bonus stages and the like. For 1981 it was an amazing game, and while visually and mechanically the game hasn’t aged well as top-down shooters have gotten far more complex and pretty, Galaga has retained that clean simplicity that attracted me to the machine in the first place.

All in Favour:

Guy Desmarius: As far as arcade games go, I believe that Galaga is one of the true old-school classics along with Pacman, Space Invaders, Frogger and Donkey Kong. Along with the NES console, these are the games I was raised on, and the fact that I can still lose myself in them after all these years is a testament to the simple qualities of each and every one of them.

If I need to be more specific, it’s just the fact that back in the days, shooting aliens was a popular theme in arcade games, and to me, Galaga is the epitome of the genre. I enjoyed it more than its contemporaries, and even if it’s not the first in the genre, I believe in a Hall of Fame where introduction should be based on merit, not on influence alone. Galaga, in my mind, is the perfect space shooter.

Ashe Collins: This was one of those rare games in the arcade that I would always go for. If an arcade had it I was there playing it. Hell before they shut the arcade down in the town I live in this was the one title they had since the arcade opened. Not only was it a well-built machine but the thing was making money while Gauntlet, Dance Dance Revolution, Star Wars Trilogy Arcade, and a slew of other newer titles had their time and were fading. The guy that ran it had replaced the DDR machine twice with different versions of it in an attempt to keep people coming in but with it readily available on the PSX and PS2 it was a losing battle there. I think it speaks volumes that the game was still there and making money for the arcade when newer and flashier titles weren’t.

I admit I’m a huge fan of the game and when the arcade did pull it I got an itch to play it again. So I’ve got a Ms. Pac-Man game controller in my house that came with Galaga, of which Ms. Pac-Man and the other titles on it never get played, but Galaga gets the love. Even having the title on a controller for my TV I did end up buying the NES version of it for the Wii so I had something to play on the Wii that wasn’t a sports title or an old GameCube game.

When someone mentions video games and the arcade, Galaga is always the first title I think of. Not only for fond memories in my childhood, but even when I was in college and our gaming group would raid arcades, there was always a few of us lining up to play Galaga. Good times.

A.J. Hess: Perhaps the grandfather of all shooters, Galaga was responsible for a huge number of quarters leaving pockets. Galaga was probably the introduction to top-down shooters for most players. The gameplay was deceptively deep, and managed to actually reward players for allowing their ships to be captured-an act that would have cost most other games at least an extra life. Galaga deserves a lofty place in the history of gaming.

 
 

All Opposed:

Chris Bowen: I flip-flopped on this one. At first, I didn’t even have to think about the vote. I love Galaga, Galaga’s a classic, easy yay.

But… is Galaga really that much of a classic?

When you think of genre or era defining games, only a few should really come up. For shooting games like this, Space Invaders is the one that comes up. The only real reason Galaga is fresh in our minds as an “elite” game is because Namco was shoving it down our throats for so long via compilation packs, much in the same way Sega keeps trying to program us that Vectorman was an amazing Genesis game. It doesn’t work with Vectorman, and it doesn’t work with Galaga.

Mind you, I say this as a massive Galaga fanboy. It’s one of my favorite games of all time. But this isn’t the Chris Bowen Personal Hall of Fame, it’s the Diehard GameFAN Hall of Fame, which actually holds some weight. Therefore, I can’t justify Galaga’s placement in our Hall.

Aaron Sirois: Galaga is indeed a classic game. No one could or should ever deny that. If the Hall of Fame were simply for old classics, it was be a shoe-in. As it is, I can’t seem to find it in my heart to give it the nod.

If I were to come up with one reason, it would be that Space Invaders started this genre, and Space Invaders has had the enduring legacy, still having titles released to this day. Galaga, on the other had, seems relegated to Namco Museum games and as a bonus in the odd Tekken game.

Sorry Galaga. I love you, but you’re the guy who always gets nominated, but should never get it.

Mohammad Al-Sadoon: Galaga is fun game for it’s time.

Unfortunately for Galaga, it’s time was 30 years ago and it’s quite basic now without the nostalgia factor backing it up. Sorry Galaga, I still love you as a loading screen game though!

 
 

Alex Lucard: I never liked Galaga. If give the choice I’d play Centipede, River Raid, Asteroids and a ton of other shooters. Even SinStar. Galaga was just always kind of a pack in on a lot of Ms. Pac Man arcade consoles to me. Worst of all, it’s kind of a carbon copy sequel to Galaxian which did nothing for me either.

I’m not saying Galaga is an awful game – just that I can think of over a dozen shooters I preferred from that time period, up to and including Snoopy vs. the Red Baron so with that in mind, coupled with the fact I’ve always been cold to the game, I can’t vote for the inclusion of Galaga into the Hall.

Sean Madson: This one was pretty easy to say no to, just on the basis that I had to think really hard just to remember what the game was like. It just doesn’t resonate as much as other games in its era. Titles like Space Invaders and Pac-Man were far more memorable influential in my youth than this was. It may be a great game, but it’s far from the very best of all time.

Mark B.: I like Galaga perfectly fine, though I ultimately have little to say about it as a product, to be honest. It was a fine shooter back when it came out and ate millions of quarters across the world, to be certain. To be honest, I don’t really see it as the sort of iconic “must have” title that the Hall of Fame really should be recognizing, not because it’s not good, and not because it’s not a historic game, but because it’s honestly pretty derivative.

Galaga is essentially a mildly upgraded version of Galaxian, which is, itself, a mildly upgraded version of Space Invaders. The differences between Space Invaders and Galaxian are enough such that both games probably deserve recognition for their accomplishments, but the differences between Galaxian and Galaga are fairly minute, and the games are generally very similar otherwise, to an extent such that only one would need to be recognized. As such, I’m saying no to Galaga, if only because it was basically the Doom II of 80’s shooters, and as much as I liked Doom II, I’d be more likely to vote for Doom as a Hall of Fame contender.

Aileen Coe: Yes, it’s a fun shooter, and it doesn’t any horrendous missteps from a gameplay standpoint. However, it doesn’t do much to set itself apart from the like of Space Invaders, nor has it made as much of an impact.

 
 
 
 

Result: 3 in Favor, 7 Opposed, 30% Approval = REJECTED

Conclusion: While a game can be loved and classic, our staff can draw a hard line about what can make it in and be included and what gets kicked to the curb to be relegated to a nominee only. Will Galaxian make it in as others have suggested above? That’s a question we may revisit, but as it stands Galaga isn’t making it in this time.

Next Week: We take a vote on a plumber with a pipe dream of going beyond dodging barrels thrown by a giant monkey and delving into other worlds where he has to dodge entirely new things and be told time and again the woman he’s after is in another castle.

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