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Astro Invader Astro Invader - Japanese Logo - Katakana / Kanji

Astro Invader - Cabinet - Video Game Marquee


Using buttons to move left, right and fire, you attempt to ward off invading aliens and their flying saucers. The aliens are dropped off from a saucer and stored in multiple columns until a column is full, then the aliens in that column descend, one by one, and attack. Also, the saucers sometimes descend to attack; if they are not destroyed, one ship is lost.

Astro Invader was produced by Stern Electronics in 1980.

Stern Electronics released 67 machines in our database under this trade name, starting in 1977. Stern Electronics was based in United States.

Other machines made by Stern Electronics during the time period Astro Invader was produced include: Trident, Hot Hand, Meteor, Dracula, Magic, Ali, Star Gazer, Nine Ball, End The, and Berzerk


Name Astro Invader
Developer Stern Electronics (United States)
Year 1980
Type Videogame
KLOV/MOG # 6948
Class Wide Release
Genre Shooter
Conversion Class unique
# Simultaneous Players 1
# Maximum Players 2
Game Play Alternating
Control Panel Layout Single Player
  • Buttons: Rotational (left, right)
  • Buttons: 1 - Fire
Sound Amplified Mono (one channel)
Cabinet Styles
  • Upright/Standard
  • Cocktail
Bezel Astro Invader Bezel Image
Control Panel Astro Invader Control Panel Image
Side Art Astro Invader Side Art Image

Astro Invader KLOV/IAM 5 Point User Score: 5.00 (1 vote)

Fun Factor: 5.00

Overall Like 5.00
Fun (Social) 5.00
Fun (Solo) 5.00
Collector Desire 5.00

Technical Rating: 5.00

Gameplay 5.00
Graphics 5.00
Originality 5.00
Sound/Music 5.00

Personal Impressions and Technical Impressions each account for half of the total score. Within the Personal Impressions category, Like carries a little more weight than the other factors.

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Cheats, Tricks, Bugs, and Easter Eggs

General: On odd numbered boards, the ships come out in a back and forth pattern. On even numbered boards, most of the ships come out and drop down shafts on the side where the players ship is, thus making even numbered boards more difficult.

Like other shooter type games, you are only allowed to have one shot on the screen at a time. Firing timing is more important that mindless, quick firing.

Simple Strategy: The numbering of the shafts for the explanation below: ***12345***67890***

Your basic strategy and priority is to keep the shafts in the middle of the screen as empty as possible (numbers 4, 5, 6 and 7). This allows you to stay in the middle of the board safely, while the ships fall to the left and right. If you keep these shafts as empty as possible, it is very easy to stay in the middle shooting the ships that fill those shafts, then sliding over to hit a saucer, and returning to the middle.

Saucer Values: The values for the saucers are not random, but are determined by the shot number you are on. 400 is the maximum score, with scores also of 300, 200 and 100 possible.

Counting Shots: I recommend only counting shots on odd boards. At the very start of the game you want to hit the first saucer (coming out in the middle) on the 15th shot to score 400. After that, you want to hit the saucer on every 16th shot to score 400. Your total count, not just the count between hitting saucers is used for your score (Ex. If you hit a saucer and score 400, then hit the next saucer on 15 shots you will score 100. You wil then need to hit the next saucer at 17 shots to score 400 on that one). In other words, if you fall behind on your shots, you need to catch up. That sometimes is hard to do because you have just enough time to shoot 16 shots between saucers, so you want to refer to the following scoring chart below:

If you just scored a 400 on a saucer, here is your score for the following saucer based on the number of shots:

Number of ShotsScore 4200 83001220016400
Everything else in between is 100. So, if you just hit a saucer and scored 300, you could hit the next saucer on the eighth shot to score 400. Or if you have a score of 200, and hit the next on 12 shots, you will score either 300 or 400.

When you hit a saucer and score 100, and you do not know where you are "in the count", then trying hitting each successive saucer on the 15th shot to try to find a 200, 300 or 400 score.

Counting shots and getting 400 on every saucer increases your score much more rapidy!

WHERE THE SAUCERS COME OUT: The pattern for where the saucers come out is not random either. This pattern repeats and starts at the top each time you get killed. (C- Center, L- Left, R-Right) The spacing helps me memorize it: CLR CR CL CC RLC RR LL.

The saucers always come out at the same frequency, so you can mentally time it to figure out about when they are coming out, then by knowing where, you will already be in position to hit it! You might think that if you know where they are coming, you will want to "camp out" on that side on even boards, but this is a bad strategy because most of the ships will also be falling on that side thus making it very difficult to stay alive.

On even boards, you want to keep the middle of the screen rows clear, and even concentrating on the opposite side of where the saucer is going to come out. Then when the saucer appears you can easily slide over to the other side, and there should not be many ships falling. I usually time my approach to the other side to when there is a gap of ships falling there.

More pictures


This game was featured in a music video by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers called You Got Lucky. Tom Petty knocks the machine over.

Cabinet Information

The upright cabinet is predominantly black with painted side art that reads "Stern Astro Invader" and displays spaceships. The control panel is painted metal and there is artwork on the monitor bezel. The marquee is separate from the bezel.

This game also came in a cocktail table. The service manual mentions a cocktail mode, but there is no other mention of it.


Although all the screen colors are generated by the game's hardware as opposed to a screen overlay, there are varying bands of color dependent upon where the aliens are displayed vertically. At different heights, the aliens and their saucers are displayed in various colors. When a player's ship is destroyed, the entire display is drawn in red.

VAPS Arcade/Coin-Op Astro Invader Census

There are 14,753 members of the Video Arcade Preservation Society / Vintage Arcade Preservation Society, 9,474 whom participate in our arcade census project of games owned, wanted, or for sale. Census data currently includes 164,463 machines (6,895 unique titles).

Common - There are 46 known instances of this machine owned by Astro Invader collectors who are active members. Of these, 39 of them are original dedicated machines. One is a conversion in which game circuit boards (and possibly cabinet graphics) have been placed in (and on) another game cabinet. 6 of them are only circuit boards which a collector could put into a generic case if desired.

For Sale - There are 7 active VAPS members with a Astro Invader machines for sale. There are 2 active VAPS members with a Astro Invader circuit boards for sale.

Wanted - There are 5 active VAPS members currently looking for Astro Invader.

This game ranks a 12 on a scale out of 100 (100 = most often seen, 1=least common) in popularity based on census ownership records.

This game ranks a 8 on a scale out of 100 (100 = most often seen, 1=least common) in popularity based on census want list records.

Rarity and Popularity independently are not necessarily indications of value. [More Information]



Foto-Finder® (Books)

  1. The Encyclopedia of Arcade Video Games Kurtz (ISBN 0764319256) Page: 94; Color photo Price guide: No
  2. Encyclopedia of Arcade Video Games Kurtz (ISBN 0764319256) Page: 94; Color photo

Additional References (logged in members often see more)

  1. 3D Model (External): Upright

eBay Listings

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Stern Astro Invader Arcade Game Service Manual Original

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Stern ASTRO INVADER Arcade Video Game Manual - good used original

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Stern Astro Invader Arcade Game Service Manual Original

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Stern, Original, Arcade, Astro Invader, Service Manual

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Astro Invaders by Stern Video Arcade Game Manual

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Astro Invader Arcade Marquee/Sign (26" x 8")

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