Astro Invader, originally released in Japan as Kamikaze, is an early Konami arcade game and the first arcade game ever released by Stern Electronics.
The player controls a small spaceship is at the bottom of the screen. Like most Space Invaders-type games of the period, the ship can move left and right (but not up or down), and can fire one bullet at a time. The ship may not fire again until its previous shot has detonated.
Due in part to the limited technology of its time, Astro Invader is programmed to follow very predictable patterns, which an experienced player can exploit for maximum points. The small aliens are dropped in one of two patterns, depending on whether it is an odd or even-numbered wave. The saucers also descend from the three wide columns in a fixed pattern: center, far left, far right, center, far right, center, and so on. This pattern goes back to the beginning after 16 saucers have descended or when the player’s ship is destroyed. Even the point value of the saucers can be exploited if the player has the patience to count his/her shots; the player obtains the maximum 400 points by shooting a saucer with his 15th shot fired, and with every 16th shot fired thereafter. Like the saucer pattern, the shot count also resets when the player’s ship is destroyed.
An Astro Invader machine appears in the music video for the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ song “You Got Lucky”. The band finds a working one buried under some junk in an old barn, and eventually Petty knocks the machine over. Although not commented on at the time, this has retroactively caused some lament among arcade fans because Astro Invader machines were not produced in large numbers to begin with. Intact, working specimens are now fairly rare.