The Game: One of the earlier Odyssey2 space-related titles pits two players against a pair of pesky alien saucers. (It is theoretically possible to play this game solo, but it’s much more fun with two players, as many Odyssey games were.) The game play is almost simple: two planets, each with a system of four moons, orbit their way around the screen. The object of the game is to occupy the most territory by shooting the planets or moons until they change to the same color as your ship. The alien saucers, however, are also doing this, making life extremely difficult. They can also set their sights on you, destroying your ship. You can return to the fray if any planet or moon on the screen is the same color as your ship, but if the aliens blast that body before you’ve taken off again, you’re trapped until the next window of opportunity arises. (Magnavox, 1979)
Memories: The genius of this graphically simple game is that the two players can team up…or they can wage a three-way war against one another and the aliens!
In a cooperative game, players can free each other’s ships by blasting a planet or moon until it is the downed player’s color. And in an adversarial game, players can strand each other by blasting that planet into yet a different color. Like Smithereens, Invaders demonstrates the Odyssey design team’s genius for games which can only be played by two players.
In many ways, certain elements of the game – the planets orbiting their suns – strongly resemble the educational game I’ve Got Your Number. The two games may have shared code for that visual element, and perhaps more.