Galaga is a 1981 fixed shooter arcade game developed and published by Namco. In North America, it was released by Midway Games. Controlling a starship, the player is tasked with destroying the Galaga forces in each stage while avoiding enemies and projectiles. Some enemies can capture a player's ship via a tractor beam, which can be rescued to transform the player into a “dual fighter” with additional firepower. It is the sequel to Galaxian, Namco's first major hit in arcades.
Development was led by Shigeru Yokoyama and a small team. Initial planning took about two months to finish. Originally developed for the Namco Galaxian arcade board, it was instead shifted to a new system as suggested by Namco's Research and Development division. Inspiration for the dual fighter mechanic was taken from a film that Yokoyama had seen prior to development, where a ship was captured using a large circular beam. The project became immensely popular around the company, with Namco's president Masaya Nakamura even taking interest.
Although early location tests proved unsuccessful, Galaga received critical acclaim. It is widely regarded as a classic of the golden age of arcade video games and one of the greatest video games of all time. Critics applauded its gameplay, innovation, addictive nature and improvements made over its predecessor. Several home ports were released for a multitude of platforms, including the MSX, Atari 7800 and Nintendo Entertainment System, alongside releases on digital distribution platforms such as Xbox Live Arcade. Galaga is also included in many Namco compilations. It was followed by a sequel in 1984, Gaplus.