Defender was a Williams Electronics arcade game released in 1980. Defender is considered to be on the list of top games coming out of the Golden Age of Arcade games (late 1970’s through the mid 1980’s), and it was Williams Electronics’ best seller. Defender was a two-dimensional, left-to-right scrolling game, where the player controlled a little space ship. The premise of the game was to rescue astronauts from waves of invading aliens. If the aliens successfully absconded with the astronauts, the astronauts would return as attacking mutants. Defeating all the aliens on any given level allowed the player to advance to the next level.
Players would use the joystick for elevation control, and five buttons for directional and weapons control. Weapons were a laser and a limited number of smart bombs. Defender was a very difficult game to master and would eat up quarters faster than a slot machine. Defender was released on a number of home console systems, including the Atari line up, and continues to find its way onto arcade greatest hits compilations for contemporary systems like Xbox and PlayStation. More contemporary versions have been released over the years as well, such as Strike Force, Defender 2000, and Defender (2002). It is worth noting that a sequel was released in 1981 called Stargate (also known as Defender Stargate or Defender II).