Release Date: 1981
Developer: Williams Electronics, Inc.
Class: Wide Release
Maximum number of players: 1
Number of simultaneous players: 2
- Joystick: 4-Way
- Total Buttons: 5
Overview:Defender is a legendary sideways-scrolling shoot-em-up - the very first of its genre - in which the aim is to pilot a laser-firing spaceship and protect humanoids stranded on the planet's surface from swarms of alien abductors.
Facts & Trivia:Along with Namco's seminal "Pac-Man", Defender shares the title of 'Highest Grossing Video Game of All Time' and to date has earned more than one billion dollars. It's interesting to note that when the now-legendary shoot-em-up was first shown at a 1981 Chicago arcade machine trade show, it was deemed to be a flop due to its high level of difficulty. Arcade industry insiders confidently predicted that both Defender and "Pac-Man" would be commercial flops and that Namco's "Rally X" would be the next major arcade success.
Defender's attract mode for the game was programmed in just 5 hours.
Defender was noted for both its superb sound and visual effects and, moreover, for its extremely demanding gameplay. This didn't, however, stop players from accumulating millions of points when playing the game. Just minutes after the opening of the AMOA - an arcade industry trade show - Eugene Jarvis and his team - Defender's creators - were burning new ROMs for the game's display due to the fact they plugged the first burn into the board BACKWARDS and fried them. Due to the intimidating controls, hardly anyone at the show played the game and there were even rumours circulating suggesting that both "Pac-Man" and Defender would flop and that Namco's "Rally X" would be the next big hit. Not only did Defender have the highest number of controls (five buttons, in addition to a two-way joystick) but it was also the first video game to feature an artificial 'world', in that game events occurred OUTSIDE the on-screen viewing area presented to the player.
For more facts and trivia check out www.arcade-history.com and www.arcade-museum.com
Game Ports:Atari 2600 (1981)
Atari 5200 (1982)
Entex AdventureVision (1982)
Emerson Arcadia (1982, "Space Squadron")
Mattel Intellivision (1983)
Nintendo Famicon (1983 "Star Gate" – Atari)
Atari 2600 (1984, "Defender II" – Atari)
Nintendo Famicon (1988 "Defender II" – Hal America)
Nintendo Game Boy (1995, "Defender / Joust")
Nintendo Super Famicom (1996, "Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits")
Sega Mega Drive (1996, "Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits")
Atari Jaguar (1996, "Defender 2000")
Sega Saturn (1996, "Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits")
Sony PlayStation (1996, "Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits")
Nintendo Game Boy Color (1998, "Arcade Hits - Defender / Joust")
Nintendo 64 (2000, "Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits Volume I")
Sega Dreamcast (2000, "Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits Vol. 1")
Nintendo Game Boy Advance (2001, "Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits")
Nintendo Game Boy Advance (2002)
Sony PlayStation 2 (2003, "Midway Arcade Treasure")
Nintendo GameCube (2003, "Midway Arcade Treasure")
Microsoft XBOX (2003, "Midway Arcade Treasure")
Sony PSP (2005, "Midway Arcade Treasures - Extended Play")
Microsoft XBOX 360 (2006, "Xbox Live Arcade") [retired in 2010]
Tandy Color Computer (1982, "Starfire")
Tandy Color Computer (1982, "Planet Invasion")
Tandy Color Computer (1982, "Offender")
Atari 800 (1982)
BBC B (1982, "Defender" – Acornsoft)
Commodore C64 (1983)
PC [Booter] (1983)
Apple II (1983)
Commodore VIC-20 (1983)
BBC B (1983, "Super Defender" - Acornsoft)
Acorn Electron (1984, "Guardian" – Alligata)
Acorn Electron ("Gauntlet" – Micropower)
BBC B (1984, "Guardian" – Alligata)
BBC B ("Gauntlet" – Micropower)
Oric ("Defence Force" – Tansoft)
Sinclair ZX-Spectrum (1984, "Starblitz" – Softek Software)
Sinclair ZX-Spectrum (1984, "Defenda" – Interstella Software)
Commodore C64 (1984, "Guardian" – Alligata)
Commodore C64 (1985, "Guardian II" – Hi-tech Software)
Amstrad CPC (1985, "Defend or Die" – Alligata)
Amstrad CPC (1985, "Gauntlet" – Micropower)
Sinclair ZX-Spectrum (1986, "Defenda" – Interstella Software) : 128k version improved sound/graphics.
ZX Spectrum (1990, "Guardian II" - Hi-Tech Software Ltd 'UK')
Atari ST (1990, "Defender II" - ARC developments, Atari UK, limited)
Commodore Amiga (1990, "Defender II" - ARC developments, Atari UK, limited)
Commodore Amiga (1991, "Zeron"- Acid software)
Commodore Amiga (1994, "Defender" - Shareware)
PC [MS-DOS] (1995, "Williams Arcade Classics")
PC [MS Windows] (1996, "Williams Arcade Classics")
Sam Coupe (1998, - Persona)
PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (2004, "Midway Arcade Treasure")
VFD handheld game (1982) released by Entex.
VFD handheld game (19??) released by Gakken : the screen is a little smaller than the Entex version.
Palm OS ("Midway Arcade Classic")
Tiger Game.Com ("Arcade Classics")
Tips & Tricks / More info:* The enemies that initially appear in each wave are :
Wave 1 : 15 Landers
Wave 2 : 20 Landers, 3 Bombers, and 1 Pod
Wave 3 : 20 Landers, 4 Bombers, and 3 Pods
Waves 4 and up : 20 Landers, 5 Bombers, and 4 Pods
* Avoid using hyperspace unless you are about to die. Fighting off attacks, regardless of the number of enemies, will make you a better Defender player.
* Baiters can usually be overcome by hitting the reverse button twice quickly. They will fly past you and be in range for your fire power. Do NOT try to outrun them as baiters are faster than your ship.
* Swarmers are easy to defeat. You can hit reverse as soon as they fly past you and fly behind them. They cannot shoot backwards so you can blast away at will.
* Shooting a Pod will release between 1 and 7 Swarmers. The chances that it will try to release 1, 2, or 3 Swarmers is 1/256 for each. Also, the maximum number of Swarmers allowed in the game is 20. So, for example, if there are 18 Swarmers in the game and a Pod is hit, it can only release a maximum of 2 Swarmers.
* At higher levels, you will need to play God and even sacrifice some Humanoids (by killing them yourself) to preserve the rest of the planet's population. The planet is too large for you protect and you are sparing the Humanoids from a fate worst than death (mutation). Do not worry, these Humanoids reproduce quickly and overpopulation has always been a constant problem. The planet will be fully populated at the start of every fifth attack wave (configurable).
For more tips and tricks check out www.arcade-history.com and www.arcade-museum.com