Space Launcher

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It has been requested that this article be rewritten.

Space Launcher is an arcade game first released by Nintendo in 1979. It is one of their first original titles instead of being a clone of a popular game such as Space Invaders, although it still took heavy inspiration from it.


Navigating the missile towards the other side

In Space Launcher the player must guide a missile from the bottom of the screen, to one of the four ports on the other side. In the space traversed the player must avoid two sets of dangers, a number of sparks in the beginning, and two rows of enemy ships when closing in on other side.

The missile moves slowly on its own, but the player can speed up the flight by holding down the action button. The ship can be moved from side to side to avoid the sparks as well as the projectiles from the enemy ships. When the missile reaches the enemies, a shield is activated in front of it. This allows the player to destroy the enemies by ramming them with the shield. The missile can then safely land in one of the ports.

The flight back plays out the same, starting with an activated shield, but there are no specific landing points this time. As the player successfully returns to the start, the difficulty is raised. More sparks are added, and the enemy ships fire more projectiles.

The game supports alternative play for two players.


Points are received for the following:

  • Destroying an enemy ship with the shield activated: Randomly chosen between two numbers, see table below
  • Successfully landing in one of the ports: Number shown above port, see table below
  • Returning to the start untouched: 500 points

An extra life is also received after reaching 1000 points.

As the player completes the mission over and over, the points received increases. The table below details how points are calculated.

Completed missions Points received from ports Points received from enemies
0-1 100 100 200 200 50 100
2-3 100 200 200 300 50 100
4-5 100 200 200 300 150 500
6-7 100 200 300 500 150 500
8-9 100 300 300 500 150 500
10-11 100 300 400 600 150 500
12- 100 300 500 4000 150 500


Space Launcher was apparently rather well received at its time, as Far East Video proceeded to distribute the game in Europe. Despite this, it seems to be forgotten today. While many of their early games have been referred to in various newer Nintendo games, Space Launcher is not one of them.

Frogger, which was released in 1981 by Sega, is based on a similar gameplay idea. A frog has to be navigated from one side of the screen to the other, while avoiding obstacles. While the two games are different enough to have been created separately from each other, it's possible that inspiration was taken from Space Launcher.