Making a Space Invaders Game

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  • I know how to and would like to make a Space Invaders game. And I know some other people have done it before without lawsuit issues.

    There's lots of movies and games out there about vampires, zombies and werewolves made by several people. Why not "Space Invaders"?

    Who owns the rights and how do I get their permission? And what's their deal? How and where would I contact them?

    I know there's got to be some 'royalties' deal I'd need to make.

  • That's actually an interesting question with a subject that is really under talk!

    I'm also really careful with copyright and intellectual properties. But first one of the rules is that as long as you don't make money it's safe to copy (kindda sad but true). Nintendo won't sue you for making a remake of Mario if it's for yourself or just for some small range diffusion. It will cost them more to start a trial against you than what you will be fined if so. Same thing goes for Fan art.

    Also, Space Invaders is such a cultural symbol that somehow don't really belongs fully to it's creators (Atari?). Adding the fact that it was published so long ago that the patterns and copyright must be royalty free by now.

    How many copies of the arcade classic do you see everywhere? Candy Crush is a copy of Columns, and Angry Bird is just a more refined version of a old game called Tanks, that was maybe a copy of something older.

    If you do a Space Invaders just name it Alien Invasion or something and change the shape of the main enemy by two pixels and that will be ok.

    The biggest risk will be that Atari, or whoever has the remaining rights to the original Space Invaders game, ask you to take your game down from the gaming platform it's on. But then they will need to take a whole lot of game too

    The notion of copy or in this case intellectual property is a really complicated one. Was Crash Bandicoot Racing a copy of Mario Kart or just a rip off? Technically Nintendo introduced the Go-Kart Game, but is completely unable to copyright it. So you should not really worry about paying royalties

  • Taito is the company who owns the rights to Space Invaders.

    It was distributed overseas by Bally Midway.

    There are some official applications on the apple IOS store. ... 08072?mt=8

  • There's a difference between getting inspired by, and a total copy or a rip off. It's a complicated, vague topic. What is different is that zombies, vampires and werewolves are the result of old folklore and stories from way back, that became legends over time. Space Invaders is a single IP, but aliens and ufo's are not. Also after some time there are no more rights, for example, using images of old paintings is totally fine. But "recent" work can not simply be copied, you'd need a license to use the property.

    But yeah, it has been done a lot if we're talking about Space Invaders, I think because it has been around for a while and a revolutionary game. Like loic said, as long as you use other assets, another name and don't use someone else's IP to make profit.. I guess you're fine. But when you look at Candy Crush it's a different story.

  • I tried contacting Taito but the "postmaster" returned my failed message, couldn't get it delivered. There must be someone I could contact about this to get some kind of deal going.

  • Maybe it's an idea to get in touch indirectly? I know there is a game in the Nintendo 3DS eShop, I think it's called 10-in-1 Arcade games, that also uses the Invaders concept but with his own graphics for legal reasons as discussed before.

    He/she/they could maybe give you some more information about the whole situation a bit quicker. I'd have no clue how to approach this any other way. Good luck!

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  • I've just recieved an email from Taito Corporation themselves, and they said they are unable to grant me the license for making a Space Invaders game. That probably means I may have to make and sell another game.

  • Not a total surprise, but it's a good thing you're considerate! Making new stuff is more fun anyway, observe the classics and improve them in your own way. Good luck!

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