Did Space Invaders Cause a Shortage of Coins in Japan

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space invaders japan coin shortage

Imagine something becoming do popular it caused a shortage of coins. This was the apparent scenario when Space Invaders in Japan caused a coin shortage. Now, we’re not about to contest the popularity of the vintage video game, but could Space Invaders in Japan really cause a coin shortage? Really? Just think about it for a moment. Of course not, and we will explain below.

One of the most popular games of all time would have to have been the classic game Space Invaders. It took the world by storm in the late 1970’s as a true innovation in gaming. It has been widely reported that the popular, and first shooter game ever, Space Invaders caused a shortage of 100 Yen coins in Japan. This is in fact a fallacy. There was no real shortage ever reported by the people who lived in Japan at the time. But the dispute of the Space Invaders legend goes even deeper, to completely destroy the notion that such an event could ever happen.

Any shortage of coins at the time was due to a reduction in production of the coins during 1978 and 1979. But even a shortage of coins being minted can not justify the claims behind this popular myth.

Simply put, the idea of Japan running out of coins due to the popularity of Space Invaders fails to hold up to logic. The way that any coin operated machine operates ensures that the coins remain in circulation. When the game machines were emptied of the coins that they collected they would have simply, and immediately, made their way back into circulation, thus preventing any such shortage of coins.

It is a shame really, because the golden era of arcade machines is long past, and no game will ever be able to make such a claim ever again to rival the legend of  Space Invaders in Japan causing a shortage of coins.

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