Space Invaders

Many years ago, it took one quarter to enter the world of Space Invaders. Soon, it may take something like 43. According to the Hollywood Reporter, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers) and Odd Lot Entertainment’s Gigi Pritzker have optioned the rights to the wildly popular and pioneering arcade game that debuted in 1978 and captivated our hearts and fingers into the early 80s; they are currently looking for a writer to spin a story out of the low-fi, high-fun game. For those unfamiliar with Space Invaders, the premise was simple: Rows of aliens would march their way across and down the screen toward you while shooting lasers. Meanwhile, you maneuvered horizontally across the bottom of the screen, avoiding their fire, shooting back at them, and hiding behind barricades that became compromised by the crossfire. The more of them you killed, the faster they would come. If the aliens shot you, you lost one of your precious ships. If they reached the bottom of the screen, you lost everything.

First thought: Cool! I can already envision the first trailer that tells me nothing! (Black screen. Flashes of laser fire. Shouting. Formations of aliens in the sky. Sound of ominous thump-thump-thump marching that slowly speeds up. Then: SPACE INVADERS. WINTER 2013.) Second thought: How the hell is this a movie? They’re just buying the rights to a name, right? Our Space Invaders protagonist had no real vibe; it was a side-to-side-moving monochromatic brick with a tiny nipple from which laser fire shot out. (At least the aliens were somewhat creepy at the time, except for those winged, antennaed crab-like dudes who looked kind of friendly.) The game’s stark, uncomplicated nature arms us with few preconceived notions about what a Space Invaders movie should and could be, thereby opening a world of options; then again, the saga of my panini maker holds almost the same blank promise.

But if we’re going to be exploring/exploiting old-school arcade games — and clearly we are — what about Defender? Or Robotron? Joust? Bezerk? Or one of my favorite underrated ‘80s games, Gladiator?

Is there one classic video game that you are dying to see transformed into a movie, PopWatchers? Or will it be nearly impossible to top The King of Kong? And are you into or over ’80s nostalgia being mined for moviedom?

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