Gamephemera: Space Invaders (Atari 400/800)

August 28, 2006 By Glenn Turner

Gamephemera is an intermittent look at the documentation, paperwork and sundry other bits that were lovingly crafted to accompany the publishing of a video game.

For our inaugural 'Gamephemera' column, I'm taking a brief look at what inspired it in the first place: the Atari 400/800 Space Invaders manual. Most Atari 400/800 documentation was large, usually fit more for a binder than a small games box. As such, the artwork on many of these manuals are simply epic.

This cover art is available as a desktop wallpaper in the following resolutions*:
1680x1050 | 1280x1024 | 1024x768 | 800x600

Exquisitely detailed, the cover (illustrated by Bob Flemate, an Atari graphic designer) is stunning. I love the rigid rows of aliens marching towards the station, as well as the flourish of their lasers colliding with the mountainous embankment. Sure, it's a bit hyperbolic considering the simple game it's meant to visually describe, but it's still very impressive and terribly gripping.

Article Snap 2 - Matrix

The rest of the manual is pretty scant. I mean, it's Space Invaders - there's not much that needs to be documented. However, my favorite part of the manual has to be the 'Space Invaders Games Matrix', which details the various changes in the 12 different types of Space Invaders game modes.

For more information, feel free to download a scanned version of the manual that I've compiled:

Download the Space Invaders manual (PDF - 6.6MB)

* Thanks go out to csweasel from our forum for the desktop wallpaper idea!

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5 comments for ‘Gamephemera: Space Invaders (Atari 400/800)’

#1 Soup Aug 28, 2006 10:34am

so close to widescreen nativeness... ah well, for art this nice/nostalgic, it's more than worth the 2 minutes of tweaking in photoshop

#2 Glenn Turner Aug 28, 2006 10:42am

What resolution did you have to tweak it for? If it's not too obscure, I can add it to the list for future columns..

#3 w3a2 Aug 28, 2006 09:40pm

That is fantastic. I miss the old style box (or manual) art on games nowadays.

#4 Soup Aug 29, 2006 01:16am

oop, I spoke to soon. 1650 works great. Carry on!

#5 csweasel Aug 29, 2006 02:23pm

This is wonderful. Thanks for running with the idea of letting us have a close look at the manual artwork. I hope it becomes a regular feature (Gamephemera is a great name).

Looks good as my wallpaper too :-D