44 White Pixels

Did the suffering artist who drew the space invaders have in mind some slithering, slavering tentacled monster?

With iridescent skin, dripping in slime, snarling, luminous eyes blinking with a snap, antennae flicking with menace?

Was that what they saw in their dots? Were the pixels just the best technologically permitted rendition of some Platonic alien?

If so, how infuriated must they be to see, in a context where faithful visual reproduction is entirely possible, commitment not to the vision of a slimy fiend but rather to the pedantic geometry of 44 monochrome squares, today a foot wide each and nailed to a wall?

But hey, it’s the universal icon of all gaming! Surely one of the greatest ever accidental logos.

Photographer and writer covering Tokyo arcade life – the videogames, the metropolis and the people