Space Invaders – San Diego, California - Atlas Obscura
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San Diego, California

Space Invaders

The classic Atari game's iconic aliens have invaded downtown San Diego. 

What began as an exhibit from the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art in 2010 has become a modern-day scavenger hunt for 1980s gaming fans and treasure hunters alike.

The exhibition, entitled “Viva la Revolucion: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape,” included many leading street artists of the time, including the likes of graffiti master/OBEY creator Shepard Fairey and the French mosaic muralist “Invader.”  

Invader is known worldwide for placing character tiles in downtown spaces on sides of buildings. San Diego is no exception, as Invader’s work included 21 such creatures attached to structures throughout downtown.  Most of the mosaic Space Invaders still remain to this day in their original landing spots, though some have been removed, vandalized, or painted over across the years.

Several maps exist documenting the Invasion and it has become a kind of quirky treasure hunt around the urban landscape. Literally hidden in plain sight, one can walk by a tile creation hundreds of times without seeing the iconic character. But once you have seen one, you can’t stop searching for them.

Know Before You Go

Explore, search, find but do not destroy. These amazing works of Contemporary art should remain for generations to enjoy and appreciate!