Space Invaders and similar titles from gaming's formative years are notoriously difficult.
I don't think I've ever made it past the third level of Berzerk on a single quarter. Galaga, Centipede, Missile Command, these games traffic in memorization, pattern recognition, and reflexes normally reserved for graduates from the Mossad. It's reassuring to hear that even the man responsible for the creation of Space Invaders still hasn't mastered it.
In an interview with The New Yorker, Tomohiro Nishikado almost happily admits his shortcomings when it comes to the game he created.
“I am terrible at video games, in fact, I struggle to make it past Space Invaders’ first level.”
That's reassuring, considering arcade games from the late 70s and early 80s were sometimes challenging to the point of impossible. Nishikado continues,
"I balanced the game’s difficulty entirely by responding to feedback from the people working around me. Had it been left up to me, Space Invaders would have been a far easier game.”
Space Invaders was one of the most influential games to, ahem, invade the States. Generations of impressionable youth were ushered into careers in programming and design thanks to that microbial stew of quarter-era arcades. Do yourself a solid and read the rest of the interview here.
Nishikado realizes the lasting legacy his title has had in the 30 plus years since its release.
“Over the years, I’ve seen how Space Invaders helped grow the video-game industry and inspire younger designers, I’m proud of its huge impact. Even if I still can’t clear the first stage.”