Space Invaders is right up there in the gaming hall of fame, together with the likes of Pong and Pac-man, which have sparked the imagination and creativity of many young ones, despite or even probably because of the simplistic 8-bit style. And when it comes to imagination and creativity, nothing beats this new generation of makers and their tools. Like this one Martin Raynsford, who turned an essential tool that he uses for work into, what else, a physical, real, and probably really dangerous game of Space Invaders.
The laser from the cutter is, of course, the main weapon. He crafted a makeshift drive belt in order to move the aliens left and right. The Space Invaders themselves are made from nothing but paper and held to a board with paper clips because, well, they’re cheap and they won’t burn. The aliens have to be spaced far enough and sized small enough so that they won’t burn their neighbors as the test run showed, a feature that was not present in the original Space Invaders game.
OK, so this might actually be a game of Reverse Physical Space Invaders, considering the laser shoots from above with the targets below. And the Space “Invaders”? Well, they’re actually helpless little things that have nothing to fight back with. All they can do is move left and right in futility, hoping to escape a fiery death. That said, an overhead webcam does give the illusion of a game played out in the right perspective.
So why make such a risky recreation of Space Invaders? For creativity, for fun, and for paying homage to one of gaming culture’s most iconic titles. It is probably also a testament to Martin’s careful planning and implementation that he didn’t manage to burn down the laser cutter instead, which would have been a very real, and very expensive, game over.