I have been looking into Space Invaders and how it was like to play the original. I played Love Invaders, which has an amusing intro (1978 was all just a big misunderstanding), and Invasion 3D, which actually had some interesting game mechanics, such as exploding UFOs that also destroyed nearby aliens and aliens that drop down to replace dead allies in the front lines.
During my research, I also found the Wikipedia entry on Space Invaders, and I learned that when it was first introduced in America, it apparently sparked outrage even that many years ago. I thought that the public rallying against video games was a fairly new phenomenon.
This phenomenon led to the first outcries against video games by groups of concerned adults, who felt that the content of video games was a corrupting influence on children. In the case of Space Invaders, the issue was not usually the highly abstract and stylized violence, but with the fact that the game could not be “won” in any familiar sense. As framed by the critics, the player is powerless to do more than to delay an inevitable defeat. They suggested that the game taught an unwholesome life lesson, inculcated defeatism, and possibly was intended to put the United States at a disadvantage in its economic rivalry with Japan by undermining the competitive spirit of American youth.
Space Invaders taught defeatism? So is Grand Theft Auto sending a better message by actually allowing you to overcome the odds and win?