Space Invaders (1978) with Debugger
It is currently playable only in desktop browsers and uses the following hard-coded key mappings:
- 1: One Player
- 2: Two Player
- 3: Insert Coin
- A: Move Left
- D: Move Right
- L: Fire Missile
Click the Run button to start the simulation. You’ll also find assorted Space Invaders Hardware Notes below.
Space Invaders Hardware Notes
0000-1FFF r ROM code 2000-23FF rw RAM 2400-3FFF rw bitmapped screen (224x256)
00 r 01 r control inputs bit 7 bit 6 right bit 5 left bit 4 fire bit 3 bit 2 1 player start bit 1 2 player start bit 0 coin slot 02 r control inputs bit 7 0=display coin info bit 6 right 2 bit 5 left 2 bit 4 fire 2 bit 3 bonus (1500,1000) / preset mode bit 2 1=tilt bit 0-1 initial lives (3,4,5,6) / (3,4) 02 w shift count (0-7) 03 r shifted value (low then high) 03 w sound bit 4 bonus base bit 3 invader hit bit 2 base hit bit 1 base fire bit 0 saucer 04 w value to shift 05 w sound bit 5 flip video bit 4 saucer hit bit 3 invader movement 4 bit 2 invader movement 3 bit 1 invader movement 2 bit 0 invader movement 1 06 w watchdog timer clear
Note that, unlike most emulators, PC8080 (like PCx86) has a Bus architecture, allowing components to “plug in” different kinds of memory or memory-mapped devices at different addresses, and to register specific functions for specific I/O ports.
For example, Space Invaders has 8Kb of ROM at addresses 0x0000 through 0x1FFF, which means that if any 8080 code attempts to write to those addresses, nothing should happen. Unfortunately, most emulators treat the entire address space as one contiguous array of bytes. Which means either that the ROM is susceptible to corruption or that every write operation must check the address to determine its validity, which hurts the performance of all writes.
In PC8080 (and PCx86), all writes are equally fast, and all ROMs are fully protected. An exception is made for the Debugger, which allows you to use the “e” command to modify (“patch”) ROM code on the fly, but that is completely outside and independent of the 8080 code being emulated.
Other Online References
See Computer Archeology for an excellent collection of materials on the original Space Invaders, including commented ROM disassemblies.