Released in 1981, Galaga has become one of the most popular arcade games of all time. Much more well received than its predecessor, Galaxian, Galaga features fast paced top-down shooting action. The player takes control of a small ship located at the bottom of the screen and is tasked with destroying the incoming waves of insect-like enemies.



The player controls a "fighter" spaceship whose movement is restricted to flying left or right. Upon the start of a level, waves of enemies fly in formation and complete a flight pattern before positioning themselves at the top of the screen. It is ideal to destroy the incoming ships before they complete their fly-in. Once in formation at the top of the screen, enemies will regularly break off to attack. Enemy ships attack by dropping bombs and/or attempting to collide with the player's ship.

The most popular and effective strategy is for the player to sacrifice their own ship to a "Boss Galaga" ship. These ships hover above the player and emit a tractor-beam. Entering this beam will sacrifice the current ship and allow the player to use one of the reserves. Destroying the "Boss Galaga" will reclaim the captured ship. The player is then rewarded with dual ships which effectively doubles the player's firepower.

Additionally, a bonus stage occurs every four levels, allowing the player to earn extra points without the risk of being destroyed. Upon destroying every fighter during a bonus stage, the player will then be rewarded with an extra life.

Galaga in Mass Media

  • 1982 - Actor Matthew Broderick spent two months playing Galaga to prepare for his upcoming role in Wargames.
  • 2004 - The ABC television series Lost names a DHARMA Initiative submarine after the popular video game.
  • 2009 - Fans are able to purchase a Galaga arcade-style video game Christmas ornament (complete with audibles) thanks to Hallmark.
  • 2012 - In Marvel's The Avengers, Tony Stark catches a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent playing Galaga. The agent denies it but after the main characters leave the room he goes back to playing the game. The game footage shown on the computer screen is from the MSX port.


Galaga is included in the Sony PlayStation release of Tekken, as a loading screen game. Defeating a series of CHALLENGING STAGE levels with 100% accuracy will unlock the Devil Kazuya character, who plays like an otherwise unchanged Kazuya with his Devil model.