Defender | 1981 | Arcade | Gameplay | HD 720p 60FPS -

Defender | 1981 | Arcade | Gameplay | HD 720p 60FPS

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Defender is an arcade video game developed and released by Williams Electronics in February 1981. A horizontally scrolling shoot ’em up, the game is set on a fictional planet where the player must defeat waves of invading aliens while protecting astronauts. Development was led by Eugene Jarvis, a pinball programmer at Williams; Defender was Jarvis’ first video game project and drew inspiration from Space Invaders and Asteroids.

Defender was one of the most important titles of the Golden Age of Video Arcade Games, selling over 55,000 units to become the company’s best selling game and one of the highest-grossing arcade games ever. Praise among critics focused on the game’s audio-visuals and gameplay. It is frequently listed as one of Jarvis’ best contributions to the video game industry, as well as one of the most difficult video games. Though not the first game to scroll horizontally, it created the genre of purely horizontal scrolling shooters. It inspired the development of other games and was followed by sequels and many imitations.

There were many ports to contemporary systems, most of them by either Atari, Inc. or its software label for non-Atari platforms, Atarisoft.

This is an emulated arcade version using M.A.M.E.
Captured and played at 60fps.
Played at default arcade difficulty!

Used in this gameplay video:

PC hardware – AMD gpu
Emulator – Mame
Controller – 10 button custom made arcade joystick
Joystick: Sanwa JLF-TP-8YT
Buttons: OBSF-30 with 2 microswitches

Keep it real, keep it retro!!!!


  1. my favorite video game of all time , used to pump 20 cent pieces into that machine. Also the hardest game i have ever played – maybe made it to the third planet a handful of times – so brutal . Those sound took mer straight back to my childhood – thanks for the nostalgia !!

  2. Back in the ’80 we played complete afternoons with my brother.
    We mastered the game to the point of clocking the score back to 0.
    The Indian Store owner of Arcade Game, was furious with us. Just with only 25 Cents, we used to play hours leaving the game packed with too many ships to be used as we handed the game to some neighbors in Cape Town, South Africa.
    Sweet memories and nostalgia of my childhood.

  3. The graphics seemed so advanced when this game first appeared. Compared to Asteroids and Space Invaders, they were. That small screen at the top was a whole new amazing feature. Loved this game, even more than Asteroids (close call).

  4. I remember this game in my early high school days. I use turn the score over back to 0. This game changed my life. I never went to class. This game was my drug.

  5. Undoubtedly one on the masterpices of 80's arcade gaming. Tough game and I was useless at it because it had too many buttons – but those visuals and noises take me right back.

  6. To get in the hall of fame was great until they changed the battery……I have a midi upright arcade version and a rather chunky cocktail version…. both by Streets of Eastbourne ( I think!) UK

  7. I never was very good at this but loved playing it.

  8. Am I the only person in history to get 1 million+ points on this while set to level 10 difficulty? Same with Robotron. Loved those games.

  9. I too am a pilot….this game was MINE…Me and a friend(Stuie!) 24 hr'd one one time

  10. I loved this game it was my Favourite BUT !!!! I WAS CRAP NEVER GOT PASSED THE 2ND ROUND lol i loved the sounds there were brill

  11. I always wanted an endless supply of Smart Bombs 😂👌

  12. Well the Sun has gone down And your uptown says:

    As a kid, there was a Sports shop near me, in the Back, he had 2 or 3 video games, Defender was there, it is the only game I've ever been interested in, either as a 14 Yr old in 1980 or now. 10p a game. Went in the Forces in 83 and I clocked it in the Naafi.

  13. hi, kids/teens . . . I'm 47 and if you're reading this, I tried playing this several times when it first came out as a teen and Defender is a very hard game to play well . . . this guy makes it look soooo' eazy but it's not.

  14. Technically excellent. Atmospheric and very challenging.

  15. I payed a lot of coins to DEfFender !!…..was born 1965… ATARI !! ….. IRATA !

  16. The sound effects take me back to the eighties when I was a kid.

  17. Admired this game but I couldn't play it for shit.

  18. Used to love this game on BBC Microcomputer 😃

  19. This game was very difficult.
    I lost many quarters within seconds.
    Great Fun and Memories though!

  20. A classic that still can be enjoyed, even today.

  21. I was 13 when this came out – we loved this game.

  22. Where did they get these /those sounds ???????????????

  23. Wow those sound effects take me back. I was a complete arcade games addict in the 80’s and this was one of my favourites. It cost 10p a throw and when I mastered it, I could take the score round the clock, then sell it on to one of the watching crowd for 10p to continue the game. Those were the days 🙂

  24. Use to play it at norgetown laundry in east Providence.

  25. "I am 57 y/o, I remember playing it after college in the mid 80s, I used to beat the game and type my name at the arcade".



  27. My Dad has a stand – up arcade set of this he got as a wedding present almost 30 years ago. This digs into levels of nostalgia I cannot properly describe

  28. hi where can i download it for pc or cell phone thanks

  29. Thanks for posting this. I've been trying to get something like this to share with some friends. An absolute blast from memory lane that had me and my friends totally addicted to it! Brilliant sounds! 😀

  30. It was so sad that people would pay to play games with graphics like this?!!

  31. Everyone raves about 'Robotron 2084' which was influenced by Stern's game 'Berzerk' this game was influenced by Atari 'Asteroids', Taito 'Space Invaders' and Atari 'Missile Command' it's a better game overall in my opinion even though I like 'Robotron 2084' also

  32. I don't remember whether we called it that at the time, but this must be the first example of a mini map in a video game. Can anyone think of one earlier?

  33. I was like ten years old when i saw this game and remember thinking like how modern this was and having this feeling of living with such cutting edge technology. And Im now watching this from my phone. Unthinkable in thise times What will have 30 years from now? Hopefully im alive to see it

  34. I was 15 when Defnder dropped. I would walk to the corner convenience store and play it everyday before school. I was pretty good at it back then too.

  35. Remember playing this game in the early 80s….was around 9 years old…. walking across the street to the convenience store with pockets full of quarters…. memories 😞

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