|Bob Polaro (Programmer) & Alan J.
|Port of the 1981
Williams arcade game
Defender was an instant classic when it hit the arcades due
its unique blend of speed, difficulty, and addictive gameplay.
Many gamers would spend hours studying the enemy's patterns
trying to come up with a strategy that would allow them to play
for hours. Bringing this arcade hit to the 2600 however
wasn't going to be an easy task, but the results were
The 2600 version of Defender is pretty respectable considering
it's an early 2600 title. All the basic elements are still
here, but changes were made to adapt it to the 2600's
limitations. The jagged mountains at the bottom were
replaced with a city skyline (this change was also reflected in
the box art) which actually makes more sense when you think about
it. The next concession that had to be made was due to the
one button nature of the joystick. In order to use a smart
bomb you have to move down into the city and press the button and
to hyperspace you have to move to the top of the screen and press
the button. It's a bit clunky but it works, and honestly
there isn't much else you could do other than having to hit a
switch on the 2600 itself.
The next change is probably the most noticeable, yet is purely
cosmetic. Due to the limit on the number of graphics that
can be displayed on a line, your ship briefly disappears after
firing your laser. Normally this isn't a huge problem but as
Defend requires nearly constant shooting, most players never saw
their ship except for those brief periods when the action slowed
down. Thankfully this problem was fixed in Stargate, but
that was two years down the road.
All things considered, Defender is a pretty decent
port and is one of the more memorable 2600 games. The game
plays well, and in the end that's what people care about.
Defender was also one of the first games to have an Easter egg in
it (although not the first). To see Bob Polaro's initials, carry
a humanoid to the 25th line of resolution on the 25th level and
all the graphics will turn into BP. It's unknown how many
people found this Easter egg on their own, but it was never
ordered removed like the infamous Missile Command one.
||Defender EPROM Cartridge
||Mid level WIP
||Has title and different initials
to 2600 Software