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