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Galaga - Japanese Title

Galaga - marquee

Name: Galaga
Manufacturer: Namco
Year: 1981
Type: Videogame

Class: Wide Release
Genre: Space

  • Orientation: Vertical
  • Type: Raster: Standard Resolution
  • CRT: Color
  • 19-inch Electrohome G07
Conversion Class: Namco Galaga

Number of Simultaneous Players: 1
Maximum number of Players: 2
Gameplay: Alternating
Control Panel Layout: Single Player

  • Joystick: 2-way (left, right)
  • Buttons: 1 [Fire]

Sound: Amplified Mono (one channel)

Cabinet Styles:

  • Upright/Standard
  • Cabaret/Mini
  • Cocktail

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Galaga 3-D Model (QuickTime (TM))

Galaga Bezel Image
Galaga Control Panel Image
Galaga PCB Image

Galaga Description

Galaga was produced by Namco in 1981.

Namco released 303 different machines in our database under this trade name, starting in 1978.

Other machines made by Namco during the time period Galaga was produced include King And Balloon, Batting Chance, New Rally-X, Warp & Warp, Pitch In, Navarone, SOS, Galaxian, Bomb Bee, and Puck Man.

As a spaceship moving left to right at the bottom of the screen, shoot up at enemies as they enter, assemble in formation and fly down at you. If you allowed an alien to capture one of your ships in its tractor beam, you could shoot the foe later and double your fire power!

Galaga - KLOV/IAM 5 Point User Score: 4.07 (51 votes)

 Personal Impressions Score: 4.28

     Overall 'Like': 4.45
     Fun (Social): 3.88
     Fun (Solo): 4.29
     Collector Desire: 4.20 
Technical Impressions Score: 3.98

     Gameplay: 4.44
     Graphics: 4.14
     Originality: 3.65
     Sound/Music: 3.90

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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Cabinet Information

Namco also produced very small versions of these games, about the size of a 17-inch monitor, for buses and airplanes.

Cabinet Style Weights and Measures


Cheats, Tricks, Bugs, and Easter Eggs

TRICK: If a Galaga's tractor beam starts pulling you in, you will spin about, but you will still be able to shoot at enemies. If you happen to end up shooting upward and destroy the Galaga before you are captured, you will just drop back into play.

TRICK: If you happen to lose a ship to a Galaga and then shoot the Galaga while it is still in formation, the captive ship will remain under enemy control. However, it will only make one attack at you before disappearing. If you allow it to escape, it will return in the next stage unless it's a Challenge Stage with another Galaga, giving you another shot at freeing the ship.

CHEAT: There is a well-known cheat that causes enemy units to stop firing. It works on most, but not all, machines.

  • On the first stage, kill everything but the two bees in the bottom left corner. Then just wait, dodging the bees' shots, until the bee no longer drops any shots towards you.
  • After the bees stop firing, let it pass for five more trips or so and then kill them.
  • For the rest of the game, the enemies will not drop shots. It will take approximately 15 minutes for the bees to quit shooting at you, so this trick requires a lot of patience.

Some people have reported that this trick also works with two bees from the RIGHT side of the screen. Note that in a two-player game, only one person has to do the cheat for both players to benefit.

TRICK: The "Player 1" score counter in Galaga is six digits, but the "Player 2" counter is seven digits. Therefore, most good players start a two-player game and play exclusively on the Player 2 side so their score will not "roll over" at 999990. Challenging stages are easier if the high score numbers are used to refine your aim.

TRICKS: These tips assume a six-digit high score:

  • On the first two challenging stages, aim your ships so that your left set of bullets falls between the second and third numbers in the high score list. On subsequent challenging stages, aim one set of bullets between the first and second numbers in the high score list if the units come from the left or between the last and next-to-last numbers if the units come from the right. This will allow you to hit descending enemies at the highest possible point value.
  • If you have more than seven extra men, the marker for the screen will only show 7 1/2 men remaining. Additional extra men will still be credited, even though they will not show on the screen.
  • Galaga "rolls over" after stage 255. After finishing the 255th level, the screen says "Stage 0" and the machine locks up. I have heard unconfirmed reports in the past that the "Stage 0" problem can be circumvented if the last two numbers in your score at the end of level 255 are ?? 80 is what I remember, but it may be something else.
  • After the 1000000 mark, new ships are no longer awarded.

BUG: A bug exists in Galaga and Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga Namco Galaga, some Midway Galaga, Gallag bootleg and Nebulous Bee bootleg - Class of '81 that allows a player to play during the Galaga demo screen and even reset the game. The demos are the same for both Galaga and Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga - Class of '81, and the bug works the same way, but the result is a little different between the two Galagas.

During the Galaga demo, the Galaga character comes down and tries to tractor-beam up the player's ship. As soon as that tractor-beam starts, the player can take control of the ship in the demo. The player has two choices here and this will effect how the game handles this bug:

  • If the player allows himself to be captured, the demo will continue as normal and he has the option of controlling the player ship or not. The player can choose whether to save the captured ship, try to complete the level, etc. The demo mode will complete after 30 seconds and the high-score screen will appear.
  • If the player takes control of the ship and destroys the Galaga with the tractor beam, he will be able to continue playing until the "normal" demo would have completed. At this point the game will do one of two things depending on whether the person is playing an original Galaga or Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga - Class of '81:
    • Galaga: Some of the characters on the screen will freeze while others are still moving and doing what they are suppose to be doing. This will last 15-20 seconds, then the game will go to the high score screen.
    • Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga - The game will make a loud buzz sound, blank the screen and then show a diagnostics screen with the version number of the games, a RAM and ROM test, etc. This screen will stay for approximately ten seconds before returning to the high score screen. If someone needs to know the version of software on their boardset, this can be a handy way of finding out without opening the cabinet.

Game Play

Moving along the bottom of the screen, you shoot at the enemies either in formation or as they fly about. Most enemies are destroyed by one hit, but the Galagas take two hits they turn blue when hit once. You must avoid being hit by enemies and their fire. You must also be aware of the Galaga's tractor beam, which can capture your ship a captured ship turns red. To free the captured ship, you must destroy the captor Galaga while it is attacking you, otherwise the captured ship will be destroyed. When you free a captured ship, it will dock alongside your current ship, thus creating a dual ship.

Ships are lost when you are hit by enemies. Dual ships are destroyed individually.


  • Beer-Aga - Changes the characters into beer bottles.
  • Buglaxian users Galaga graphics in a Galaxian game.
  • Galaga '99 - Changes the graphics to make them look better.
  • Galaga X - Uses Galaga graphics in the game 1942
  • Galagalaxian - Changes the graphics to make them look more like Galaxian.
  • Galapede - Changes the graphics to make them more like those of Centipede.
  • Swarm - Adds a time limit to make the game harder.


BOOTLEG: Nebulous Bee

This game was licensed to Bally Midway for US manufacture and distribution.

VAPS Arcade/Coin-Op Galaga Census

There are 10,226 members of the Video Arcade Preservation Society / Vintage Arcade Preservation Society, 8,291 whom participate in our arcade census project of games owned, wanted, or for sale. Census data currently includes 136,611 machines (6,073 unique titles).

Very Common - There are 564 known instances of this machine owned by Galaga collectors who are active members. Of these, 449 of them are original dedicated machines, 33 of them are conversions in which game circuit boards (and possibly cabinet graphics) have been placed in (and on) another game cabinet, and 81 of them are only circuit boards which a collector could put into a generic case if desired.

For Sale - There are 12 active VAPS members with Galaga machines for sale. There are 5 active VAPS members with extra Galaga circuit boards for sale.

Wanted - Very Popular - There are 64 active VAPS members currently looking for Galaga. There are 4 active VAPS members looking for Galaga board sets.

This game ranks a 96 on a scale out of 100 (100 = most often seen, 1=least common) in popularity based on census ownership records.

This game ranks a 92 on a scale out of 100 (100 = most often wanted, 1=least common) in popularity based on census want list records.

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


The game uses three Z80 microprocessors and a Namco 3-channel PSG for sounds.


One of the first games with a bonus stage.

Along with Pac-Man and Pong, this game shares the curse of being one of the most bootlegged games of all time.

This game can be seen being played in several scenes of the movie War Games by the character David Lightman (Matthew Broderick).


  1. Galaxian
  2. Galaga
  3. Gaplus
  4. Galaga '88
  5. Galaxian 3
  6. Attack Of The Zolgear


  1. German manual ADP  6 Pages, 1 MB File.
  2. misc. pinout DIP switch settings  7 Pages, 1.7 MB File.
  3. Parts Operating Manual  92 Pages, 9.3 MB File.
  4. Parts and Operating Manual  82 Pages, 9.1 MB File.
  5. Parts and Operating Manual  46 Pages, 4 MB File.
  6. Trouble Shooting  17 Pages, 1.3 MB File.
  7. Schematic  29 Pages, 703 kB File.

Foto-Finder™ (books)

  1. Arcade Treasures, Kurtz (ISBN 088740619X): Page: 110; Color photo; Price guide: 1994
  2. Arcade Fever, Sellers (ISBN 0762409371): Page: 72; Color photo; Price guide:
  3. Encyclopedia of Arcade Video Games, Kurtz (ISBN 0764319256): Page: 110; Color photo; Price guide:

Video Clips

    Galaga (1981) Namco Classic Arcade Game

See Recent Video Links Added to Other Records

Additional References
(logged in members often see more)

  1. The Arcade Flyer Archive (TAFA): Galaga Flyer #424    
  2. The Arcade Flyer Archive (TAFA): Galaga Flyer #3893    
  3. The Arcade Flyer Archive (TAFA): Galaga Flyer #6336    
  4. The Arcade Flyer Archive (TAFA): Galaga Flyer #2060    
  5. The Arcade Flyer Archive (TAFA): Galaga Flyer #4686    
  6. The Arcade Flyer Archive (TAFA): Galaga Flyer #4842    


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eBay Listings

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Galaga - Cabinet Image

Photo contributed by: Andre

Galaga - Cabinet Image
converted, not pure

Galaga - Cabinet Image

Galaga - Title screen image

Galaga - Title screen image

Galaga - Title screen image

Galaga - Title screen image

Galaga - Title screen image

Galaga - Title screen image

Galaga - Title screen image

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Galaga - Image

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