Space Invader


Role(s): Game designer, coder, illustrator, graphic designer

Project Type: Interactive, video game

Class: DESMA 159A Senior Projects

As a senior undergraduate, I took Senior Project classes that offered a capstone experience for my major and concluded with the Senior Show in June. In these classes, students directed their own project according to their skills, interests, and professional goals. For ten weeks, students collaborated with faculty on their individual projects, which involved research, conceptual and prototype development, refinement, and production.

This Senior Project class focused on interactive media such as game design, dynamic website, interactive installations and more.

For my Senior Project, I chose to design a video game called "Space Invader," inspired by retro arcade games and their underlining colonial narratives.

Research and Development

Youtube Video

Before my Senior Project class, I watched a video of a programming/coding project done by students from the University of Texas at Austin. See the right side for the video.

In the video, the students created a Space Invaders game with the aliens becoming more responsive through each level. For example, the aliens are nonresponsive in level one, but the next level has the aliens dodging the shots. Then after each level the aliens question the player on their intentions. I thought this was a unique take on the classic arcarde game.

Colonialism in Video Games

In an essay by Mary Fuller and Henry Jenkins, they compare the narratives of popular video games such as Super Mario to historical narratives of colonialism.

In many video games, the player must reach their goal by exploring digital landscapes, taking the land's resources, fighting and killing off the native species. This is similar to many European explorers and traders traveling to Africa, Asia and the Americas during the 15th-18th centuries. For example in the Super Mario game, Mario and Luigi are simple men crossing unexplored and dangerous lands and encountering strange creatures in order to save Princess Toadstool from the savage King Koopa. This narrative can be juxtaposed with the story of Pocahontas with John Smith and John Rolfe "rescuing" (or kidnapping) the princess from the savagery. It is said that "history is written by the winners/victors" and history has traditionally taught that European colonization was meant to "save" the natives. However it was the destruction of people, languages and cultures through the eyes of indigenous groups.

The article was a interesting perspective on video game narratives and influenced me to analyze the gameplay and narratives of many games such as Space Invaders. The aliens are supposed to be the invaders, but maybe the player is actually the invader.

Link to the article

Final Game

Using Unity3D, I developed a game with mechanics similar to Space Invaders, featuring aliens lined up in rows shooting at the player. The game becomes increasingly challenging as players progress, with elements inspired by Asteroids, Galaga, and Missile Command. At the start of the game, players can choose between two narratives: piloting a spaceship or controlling an alien. To address the complexity of colonialism and its multiple perspectives, I created two storylines, each posing the question: "Who is the invader?"


Senior Show


Play Now!

Use arrow keys to move | 'A' and 'S' as buttons

« Work Page