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Space Invaders skill-based gaming lands in Atlantic City

Updated June 8, 2017 - 12:24 pm

Skill-based gaming is invading Atlantic City.

Scientific Games Corp., the Las Vegas-based maker of slots and table games, has launched Space Invaders, its first skill-based slot game, at Caesars Entertainment Corp. casinos Harrah’s and Bally’s in the New Jersey gambling resort.

“Space Invaders game will debut in Atlantic City this week,” said Rich Broome, a Caesars spokesperson. “We expect this period of experimentation will continue for the next few years.”

Space Invaders ”will soon be available in additional jurisdictions” in the U.S., Scientific Games added in a statement Thursday. The game will land in Las Vegas casinos sometime this summer, said Scientific Games company spokeswoman Susan Cartwright.

Scientific Games is at least the fourth company to put skill-based machines on U.S. casino floors in the past seven months as the industry seeks to discover what type of games will attract younger generations skipping traditional slots.

GameCo launched skill-based games in Atlantic City in November while Gamblit and Konami this year put machines in casinos on the Strip. Konami’s skill-based Frogger is also based on a popular video game.

Popular game

Scientific Games new release is based on the popular, 1978 arcade game Space Invaders developed by Japanese engineer Tomohiro Nishikado and manufactured by Taito Corp., which still owns the rights.

One of the earliest video arcade games released, Space Invaders became an instant success, garnering fans across the world.

It was as revolutionary to video games in the 1970s as Apple Inc,’s Iphone was to the mobile technology in the 2000s. And much like the Iphone, the arcade game also generated concerns among parents and doctors that young people were getting hooked.

Taito installed 100,000 games around Japan within the first year, generating $600 million in revenue, according to a 1981 edition of Electronic Games magazine. Atari in 1980 acquired the rights to adapt a version for home play in the U.S., causing a surge in Atari console sales. That same year,Atari held Space Invaders Tournament, attracting 10,000 people in what may have been the world’s first e-sports event.

In the original game, a player uses a cannon to cut down six columns of descending aliens before they reach the bottom of the screen. The speed of the alien approach increases as the game progresses. Space Invaders inspired a generation of shooting-based video games.

Scientific Games, which first presented the Space Invaders at GE2 in 2015, has adapted it to work like a regular slot machine but with the option to play the bonus round based on luck or skill.

“Our development team worked diligently to ensure that our first skill-based game featured authentic Space Invaders game play, complete with its familiar alien symbols and correlative music,” Derik Mooberry, group chief executive of gaming for Scientific Games, said in the statement.

This won’t be the first time Scientific Games has licensed a popular video game for use as a slot on a machine floor. WMS Gaming, a unit of Scientific Games, launched a slot version of Pac-Man in the early 2000s.

Contact Todd Prince at tprince@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0386. Follow @toddprincetv on Twitter.

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