I spotted this Grandstand “Invader from Space” game
Grandstand “Invader from Space” is a tabletop LED game dating back 40 years to 1980. Four ‘AA’ batteries power the unit or, alternatively, the Grandstand 5.5V@300mA power adapter (or an equivalent power pack) sold separately. The game, licensed to Grandstand, is a copy of Epoch’s “Invader from Space”
This find all started with a curry craving.
Last Friday my eldest son and I popped into The Three Tuns, Sutton Coldfield for a quick drink on the way to meet my daughter from college. Someone nearby had ordered a curry and the aroma drifting towards our table had me hankering for the same. Unfortunately we only had 10 minutes before we had to leave.
Fast forward to Tuesday and I still had the urge for that curry so I left the house a little earlier than usual so I could pop into the Tuns.
Most days there’s a 15-20 minutes wait for food but today my food was at the table, hot and smelling great, in under 10 minutes. Curry, rice, mango chutney and a poppadom, I wasn’t disappointed.
I was left with an extra 10 minutes on my hands because I expected my food to take a little longer. I decided to take a walk to The ReUsers (Facebook link), a charity shop just outside of Sutton Coldfield town centre. While I’ve bought the occasional item such as controllers and cables it’s not often I’ve come across a retro gaming item of interest like the Grandstand “Invader from Space” LED tabletop game I spotted today. I spotted the game in a glass cabinet and initially walked by due to the lack of a box; but curiosity got the better of me. I thought I noticed the box at the back of the cabinet and asked one of the staff to confirm for me. It was the box and inside were polys, manual and the original warranty card.
Enough about curry, what is it?
I’ve covered the age, power, licence, etc. but if you’ve never heard of “Invader from Space” you will, undoubtedly, have guessed by the name that it is a Space Invaders clone. For a 40 year old LED game it’s not that bad and when playing it makes you realise how easily Tetris could’ve translated into one of these types of LED had it been around in 1980.
The screen is approximately 7cm high by 2cm wide. The unit itself is approximately 20.5cm high by 6cm wide and 3.5cm deep (at its thickest point) while weighing in at exactly 300g (without batteries).
The game consists of “invaders” moving down and across the screen in a similar way to the original Space Invaders except for the limited screen real estate. Varying colours of invader denote different waves. This is all done cheap and cheerful by the placement of coloured film strips between the screen and protective cover.
How do you play it?
Controlling your gun is done by way of a left-right toggle lever for left and right movement with a FIRE button positioned directly above it. It looks like a rather strange positioning but is oddly comfortable when holding the game in your hands.
On the lower-right of the unit you will find the POWER switch, a LEVEL select button to toggle between the three different playing speeds, and a START button to start the game. In my opinion it could also have done with a volume and/or mute button because the sounds coming from the device are horrific. It makes the Spectrum loading squeals seem like one of those relaxtion tapes.
The manual is in plain English, easy to understand and covers all you need to know for play and then some.
I’m quite happy with my little pick-up and, although it’s not the greatest of Space Invader devices, it’s a great little collectible.
“Munky” is a computer engineer with over 20 years experience. He has worked in both public and private sectors, mostly in the education sector, specialising in operating systems and mobile technology. He has carried out work for IBM, RM, Carillion, Capita, Click and Birmingham Metropolitan College as well as running his own I.T. Services business. He is a retro gaming enthusiast, especially when it comes to the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. He is a parent, a grandparent, and a bit of a child at heart.