Zeon Space Invaders game watch

Zeon Space Invaders game watch

The Zeon Space Invaders is a cool clone of the Nelsonic Space Attacker watch (minus the melody) made by Collins Industrial and dropped into cases and badged by a tonne of watch companies in the 1980s.

It was the quintessential schoolyard game watch (not that I ever saw one in NZ, but I have it on good authority that just about every second American and UK school student had one strapped to their wrist).

I don’t know if Zeon was a UK-brand specifically (via Hong Kong) but most Zeon watches I’ve found have come from the UK so am going to go with that.

Usually the other watch companies used names like Martian Wars, Cosmic Wars, Alien Attacker etc to avoid any copyright claims from Taito who owned the space invader name; obviously Zeon (and I think Piratron) were less concerned about that so slapped the space invaders name on their watch which makes it just a titch cooler than all the others.

Not that it really resembles space invaders in any way. Your defence ship is a rotating (3-position) turret that fires at ships that move in a semi-circular pattern and you don’t have any bases – so quite a departure from space invaders and any other arcade game of the time.

It’s no less fun, though, and once you get the hang of it breaching the 100-point barrier is quite doable, and some people claim very high scores. The most you can score (based on the display) is probably 1999 and I’ve never seen anyone come close to that; but it could be due to boredom by that point, rather than difficulty.

The same can be said for any game watch really. I saw on YouTube a victory melody that plays if you beat the Pacman game watch and alongside the surprise of finding out this new feature existed, was the astonishment that someone had played it long enough to beat it.

This one arrived in a small watch lot from Italy and while the battery bay was clean, this was due to a pre-sales clean I think, as beneath the board was plenty of evidence of old battery juice which had hardened and had begun eating the traces.

The only upside was that the uncovered chip still had all its hair-thin wires intact and the battery acid hadn’t got to them. So after a lot of careful cleaning, adjusting of buttons, and reassembly, and we have another classic ready to defend the earth for the next 30 years!

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