Galaxian is a 1979 fixed shooter arcade game developed and published by Namco. The player assumes control of the Galaxip starfighter in its mission to protect Earth from waves of aliens. Gameplay involves destroying each formation of aliens, who dive down towards the player in an attempt to hit them.
Designed by company engineer Kazunori Sawano, Galaxian was Namco's answer to Space Invaders, a similar space shooter released the previous year by rival developer Taito. Space Invaders was a sensation in Japan, and Namco wanted a game that could compete against it. Sawano strived to make the game simplistic and easy to understand. He was inspired by the cinematic space combat scenes in Star Wars, with enemies originally being in the shape of the film's TIE Fighters. Galaxian is one of the first video games to feature RGB color graphics, and the first ever to use a tile-based hardware system, which was capable of animated multi-color sprites as well as scrolling, though the latter was limited to the starfield background while the game itself remained a fixed shooter.
Galaxian was Namco's first major arcade video game hit. It was the second highest-grossing arcade game of 1979 and 1980 in Japan, and the second highest-grossing arcade game of 1980 in the United States, where it became one of the best-selling arcade games of all time with 50,000 arcade units sold by 1982. The game was celebrated for its gameplay and usage of true color graphics. In retrospect, it has gained fame for its historical importance and technological accomplishments. Its success led to several sequels and reimaginings; most notable of these is Galaga, which usurped the original in popularity. Galaxian has also been ported to many home systems, and is included in numerous Namco compilations.