Analog Space Invaders with human controller


[fidepus] put together a pretty nifty version of the game Space Invaders. This is an analog version that involves an ink and paper based display system.

He printed out one piece of paper for each different enemy, mother ship, laser beam, and player vehicle. The human-based controller is used to move the pieces in all directions. When it comes time for a row to move downward, the pieces are removed from the game grid and relocated to their new position using a scotch-tape-actuator.

We think the most successful part of this hack was [fidepus'] ability to integrate sound effects into the controller system. The human-based controller puts out mono sound with a “pew-pew” for laser blasts and a “dirnk-dirnk… dirnk-dirnk” for the enemy movements.

Although there is no code nor a schematic provided, we think this system shouldn’t be too hard to reverse engineer.


  1. monkeyslayer56 says:


  2. DubMuffin says:

  3. cheese says:

    … yeah what?

  4. kylestew says:

    It must be low tech day

  5. TheBlunderbuss says:

    In German.
    Small blurb.
    One picture.
    No video.

    Seems to be just a static graphic for someone’s wall, and not a hack/game/fun post.
    I was looking forward to seeing something cute, but this is disappointing.

  6. Mike says:

    Well, next time I’m stuck in an era without computers [and I'm extremely bored/nostalgic], I’ll be sure to use this hack.

  7. Bluewraith says:

    Poor translation from the site:
    “Since today Sunday is, was boring me and I did not have desire which reasonable to be read am I on the strange idea come to mean place in the domestic office something to adorn. Of course only somewhat really nerdiges was applicable and which lies with a large piece of white wall more near as… exactly! Space Invaders.”

  8. fenwick says:

    Wow, someone stuck some paper on the wall. Nice hack!

  9. mikeY says:

    I was reading this and hoping a motor did the row swapping or something of that nature – got to the end and … WTF!
    But it immediately reminded me of when I was 6 or 7. I didn’t have a real PC, so I would make them outa paper and cardboard (down to very specific details) and have my paper screnn show CIA planning, computations, etc.
    so yes, in all seriousness, this qualifies as a hack

  10. vic says:

    I’m somewhat disappointed the human controller does not involve sticking electrodes into someone’s brain and controlling his movements, like we already know how to do so well to beetles. That’s what I’d call a hack.

  11. John Smith says:

    I think this was just supposed to be a funny entry. What’s wrong with that?

  12. nope says:

    You! Yeah you there! You know who I’m talking to, Mike Szczys! I am sick of your filth cluttering up an otherwise good site.

    GO AWAY MIKE SZCZYS! We don’t like your posts and I’m starting to not like you.

  13. Bloom Berg says:

    Dear Sirs,

    I read your article but remain few questions. How build and interface human controller? How is done electronic ink application and control? Where I find supply for “scotch tape actuator” or suitable diagram? I research in major distributors and availability pertains inexistent.

    Yours truthfully,

    Bloom Berg

  14. Physic.dude says:

    I wonder how many frames per second it is? Or the load time??? :p

  15. aztraph says:

    Hey, Maybe he could role dice to move and fire, no wait, that’s a role playing game, but hey, their digital now too, if your feeling nostalgic, role it on your percentiles and post

  16. rob says:

    This, my friends, is a HACK.

  17. amishx64 says:

    That guy has a wall hack! Ban him for cheating!

  18. fidepus says:

    You may hate that for not being technical enough but…

    WOOOOOOW, I’M ON F*****G HACKADAY!!!!11oneoneeleven

  19. Mr. Sandman says:

    lol @ amishx64

  20. kirov says:

    ok mike is just trolling us now

  21. Haku says:


  22. Jeremy C says:

    Wow, maybe I don’t understand, but that seems pretty lame. Maybe a video would explain it better.

  23. roshamboe says:

    i don’t think my wall is compatible with this

  24. roshamboe says:

    ……cuz its a brick wall!!

  25. Man, I really used to like the hacks on this site. And I mean the hacks as is “hack-a-day”, not as in HACK.

    Cute, but c’mon, really?

  26. roshamboe says:

    wow, they didnt even bother putting it down, it just goes off the page

  27. Anonymous says:

    Oh come ON, Hack-A-Day. What’s next? Dry-erase board Super Mario Bros? Graph paper Tetris?

    Slow news day?

    Remember when this site was about real hardware hacks, not stupid crap like this and cramming LEDs into NES controllers? I miss those days.

  28. paul says:

    thats hilarious XD

  29. overslacked says:

    I love this entry for several reasons; great post guys.

  30. pickles says:

    i tried installing this on my wall, and i bricked it. can anyone help? it doesn’t want to go into recovery mode..

  31. Anonymous says:

    “I wonder how many frames per second it is? Or the load time??? :p”

    The simulation speed is directly tied to your processor’s caffeine content.

  32. amishx64 says:

    LOL @ pickles

  33. Marty says:

    I need a download link for this ROM.

  34. nope says:

    pickles should not be laughed at. dill is srs buisness.

  35. vikki says:

    ya know, if i ever do a righteous hack, (good enough to be on h-a-d) I think i would like it to be better than what my 10 year old might try to decorate her bedroom. what a childish fail

  36. physic.dude says:

    I don’t have enough free space on my wall… sigh

  37. vikki says:

    aww, do you need a new hard . . . wall?

  38. physic.dude says:

    I just need to delete some wigets.

  39. aztraph says:

    hey, i bet this cost less than $100, I wonder if Taito would pay him for the idea, I mean ANYONE with a printer, hell a marker, can do this. maybe do a Galaxia?

  40. Arctan says:

    All those complaining about the days when Hack-A-Day posted serious hardcore hacks, do them, and Hack-A-Day can post about it. That’s kinda how this system works. If you aren’t contributing any Hacks, then you are far from having any right to complain.

  41. googfan says:


    ok now that i have your attention, what he should have done was put magnets behind each picture, and have a grid of electromagnets behind.

    the whole grid moves at once folowing the scan down pattern of the aliens.

    the bottom should have a magnet behind the board that scrolls left and right, dragging the missile launcher along.

    i cant think of an idea for the laser…

    the little shield things could be a 4*3 electro magnet array.

    when something is damaged, be it alien or shield thing, the electromagnet shuts off and the picture that was once attracted falls off the board.

    thats how its done beotch.

  42. zoidberg says:

    Geeze, a lot of commenters here seem to lack a sense of humour.

    Ever heard of taking the piss?

  43. cyanide says:

    i bet it’s really laggy.

    also googfan you have a really stupid idea and all, but what if we used an array of electromagnets under a pool of magnaview fluid (you know, rust and oil?) as a screen?

  44. Underling says:

    To think I bought an Atari to play this game. If I had invested in this version instead I could actually win and I would have cost slightly less.

  45. Stranger... says:

    As long as the scotch-tape-actuator works with glass, he could do this on…………WINDOWS!

  46. Pilotgeek says:

    Man, this is like when I ran paper linux. One day in study hall, I was bored so I drew up a bootloader and a linux kernel. I flipped through about 10 pages drawing out the root filesystem, writing drivers to get the ink to display at a good resolution, and compiling code to run some programs. It was pretty slow. Games were pretty laggy, and the framerate was about as fast as I could draw. The wifi wasn’t too great either, my buddy got bored shouting html at me from across the room. On the plus side, it was very cheap and was environmentally friendly.

  47. StudiosGeek says:

    Pilotgeek, I really applaud your efforts, but, please try to stick to the standards.

    You’re limited to a 65dB Acoustic-WiFi signal in study halls, and you were clearly approaching 83dB. I know we’re all supposed to accept unwanted interference (damn FCC :( ), but, really, keep your experimentation within reasonable limits. For all of us.

  48. 24601 says:

    you call 10 sheets of paper just for the FS “environmentally friendly”? :)

  49. sarsface says:

    God damn this is fucking stupid.

  50. Mike says:

    I thought it was April 1st for a second there.

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