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Episode 2 of 10

Galaga - The Long Quarter

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Michael Kimball
Galagangster and author of eight books including The One-Hour MFA, Big Ray, Us, Dear Everybody, Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard), etc.

Michael Kimball | Author
MichaelKimball (@MichaelKimball) | Twitter

This week, we’re teaming up to get a high score with Michael Kimball as we blast into the world of… Galaga?! What is it about the classic arcade game that has held its allure for more than thirty years? And where is the fandom heading?

Next week, we move from space fighter to space robots to talk about Gunpla with the Otaku Journalist, Lauren Orsini!

Where can I learn more about Michael Kimball?

You can learn more about Michael by checking out his website or perhaps even by reading his book, Galaga published by Boss Fight books!

Episode outline

Fandom Facts

History and Origins:

> Galaga is a Japanese arcade game developed and published by Namco Japan and by Midway in North America in 1981. It is the sequel to 1979’s Galaxian. The gameplay of Galaga puts the player in control of a spacecraft which is situated at the bottom of the screen, with enemy aliens arriving in formation at the beginning of a stage, either trying to destroy, collide with, or capture the spaceship, with the player progressing every time alien forces are vanquished.
> — Wikipedia - Galaga

The game has been re-released and sequeled multiple times, with at least twenty different games existing in its release history including tie-in versions for popular anime Space Dandy and fighting game series Tekken.

Size of Fandom:

Estimating the number of fans is always difficult. Using a few data points that we have:

The Galaga subreddit has about 140 subscribers
The Arcade subreddit has over 22 000 subscribers
The Retrogaming subreddit has almost 63 000 subscribers
Two remixes on OverClocked Remixes
300 000 people tuned in to watch a livestream of a Galaga tournament

Given such a wide range of values, the safest estimate probably puts the number of fans in the thousands.

Fast Facts:

Archive Of Our Own and have about 60 fanfics combined that reference Galaga, the majority of which involve “Galaga Guy” from the first Avengers movie; even DeviantArt returns a scant almost 3000 results
The 2007 ABC series, Lost, features a submarine named after the game

> Variety reports Galaga Chronicles is being developed by The Nuttery Entertainment, who reached an agreement with the original creators, Bandai Namco. The firm will be responsible for developing a story and characters for the Galaga series for the first time in its over 30 year history. No official word yet on where the animated series is set to land if it’s completed and greenlit, but it’s being reported the series and other Galaga related projects the company is working on will be cut across various platforms. The project is still very early on in development, so no release date has been given as of yet.
> — Cinemablend - Galaga Might Get A TV Show, And Yes, We Mean That Galaga

Last Episode’s Famous Last Words


Given the age of Galaga and the fact that there haven&#8217;t been that many remakes over the years&#8230; why Galaga? What is it about that game that lends itself to the longevity of the fandom?</