Space Invaders

Space Invaders screen shotNot just the name of a crap crisp, Space Invaders were the big video game of the late Seventies and early Eighties. According to wikipedia the game was invented in 1978 (so like the Rubik’s Cube it qualifies for popandcrisps even though it didn’t filter through to most of us until the eighties).

In the original game, strange skull-like aliens in regimented armies would blip across the screen to be shot at by your ship at the bottom, with houses in between that would provide shelter but be gradually destroyed by the alien fire and your own fire.

There are generally two types of rank-file aliens, sometimes more, and a mothership style saucer that flies across the top once in a while. Each time the aliens blip across the screen, they go down another row and get quicker. If they get to the bottom before you’ve shot them all, you’ve lost. They can also shoot you and if you lose all your lives you’ve also lost. After you’ve destroyed all the aliens, another batch appears, which is exactly the same as before so not like going up a level (although in some games they start quicker or lower on each new screen).

The best replica free-web space invaders game I’ve found is this site.  According to that site, the targets in the game were originally soldiers not aliens, but this was thought inappropriate for children to be shooting at.

I had a hand-held space invaders game in about 1982, and before this I would watch the demos in the arcade under my Dad’s flat, him refusing to give me 10p for a game. Other games in the arcade were Tracer and Pac-man and a strange caterpillar game, of which I also loved to watch demos.


Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

Rubik’s Cube

Rubik's Cube pic on WikipediaThe Rubik’s Cube shot to worldwide obsession in the early 1980’s. I think I was about eleven or twelve when I first had a go on one. However, it warrants a popandcrisps moment because it came out of the Seventies. Invented in 1974, it was repackaged worldwide in 1979 for a 1980 launch, according to wikipedia.

There has been a recent upsurge in the Rubik’s Cube and related toys for a new generation, and my son had one for his birthday last week. The satisfying crunching sound it makes when you turn a slice took me right back! I remember the solutions I was determined to work out without the books and the agonies of those last few corners.

We bought one from the market and didn’t find out until after a few weeks of hard graft that the stickers had come off two of the central squares and been replaced incorrectly! The way we discovered this was that the corner pieces didn’t match up and would be impossible. I think it was a red and a green, which meant that there should have been a red-yellow-orange square and there wasn’t one! I’d like to think that this was a genuine mistake – perhaps by someone who was colour blind – rather than a deliberate piece of mischief with the culprit chuckling over our potential frustration.

Eventually I took the Rubik’s Cube apart, like I took everything apart, to see how it worked. I was fascinated by the simple design of interlocking plastic cubes. I did put it back together again, but it never worked as well and bits would fall off it if you were too heavy-handed. I’m not the only one who has done this, as I found out there is a specialist site for taking stuff apart.

I’ve just been on the Rubik’s Cube website and it has some great games!


Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room