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Comments (8)
dtm-artist - 16/03/2024
This is an excellent translation of the Williams arcade classic, and despite the slightly choppy speed, the intensity and visual splendor is fully intact. Compared to the mediocre 2600 Defender, the Atari 8-bit cartridge feels like a miracle. Highly recommended.
intotheverticalblank - 15/03/2024
Techman. You are right, this is not a great conversion, it's an adequate one that was done on the Apple 2, and ported using none of the real power on the Atari 8bit. But when we had it back in 1984 it kicked ass over the 2600 Defender and Stargate had not been released yet. I still find it fun and well made despite how much better it could have been.
techman - 13/03/2024
WHAT are you people even TALKING about. this conversion is horrible, easily the worst version for any system. choppy scrolling, flickery sprites, no fun at all. if you want to see what a good Defender port looks like, try Stargate on the 2600 or Guardian on the C64! then come back and change your rating
Wilson Oyama - 08/08/2021
Defender is one of my TOP favorite games on Atari 8-BIT Computers. This port is more exciting than the 2600 version, and the graphics are very good.
adam242 - 29/02/2020
Amazing how well they pulled this off. Four-color playfield graphics with no help from DLIs or PM overlays.
rave.N - 13/08/2015
Model 5200 version of this game is slightly better than model 800, those of you using emulators. 5200 can show a mild amount of Demo play. This Atari conversion is one of their only ones to upstage the Arcade model, so no surprise the arcade is not Atari but Williams. I love Defender but hated the stickless pushbutton controls in the arcade. Joystick is huge improvement IMO. I've more experience playing the Amiga Defender knockoff named "Data Storm". So many other ripoffs out there come up short.
eppy2000 - 12/08/2015
Another fine home edition that made playing the arcade version obsolete! Very colorful, engaging and challenging.

This was also the game responsible for many busted space bars on the Atari 800. Since that key is used to detonate the "smart bomb," in the heat of the action many players apparently slammed on the space bar in a panic.

As a side note, until I received my very own Atari 800, I though the space bar for the system was either very delicate, or defective in some way. I only based this on the Atari 800s I used to play around with in the stores. Whenever they had the BASIC cartridge on, I would write simple programs on it, but couldn't understand why the space bar seemed to be always on the fritz. So I made it a point to be VERY delicate whenever I played games (as it was generally the "pause" key) or typed in programs on my 800. Then a few years later, Antic magazine mentioned this game and the correlation it had with the broken space bars. :)
defendme - 15/06/2012
Probably one of the best coin-op ports around (up there with Donkey Kong). Stargate was a disapointment.
Fluid movement and physics! One of my favorites.


Defender atari screenshot
Defender atari screenshot
Defender atari screenshot
Defender atari screenshot
Defender atari screenshot


GenreShoot'em Up! - DefenderYear1982
LanguageMachine LanguagePublisherAtari
ControlsJoystick, KeyboardDeveloper[n/a]
Players1, 2 (alt.), DemoCountryUSA

Baker, Steve A.

Graphic Artist(s)


Medium Cartridge


Cover Artist(s)[unknown]SerialRX8025
Dumpdownload atari Defender Download

Additional Comments

In March 2013, Curt Vendel released a fully playable alternate version of the game being worked on by Michael W. Colburn which was eventually scrapped in favor of the program written by Steve A. Baker.


Defender Atari cartridge scan Defender Atari cartridge scan Defender Atari cartridge scan


Defender Atari instructions Defender Atari instructions Defender Atari instructions Defender Atari instructions Defender Atari instructions Defender Atari instructions Defender Atari instructions Defender Atari instructions Defender Atari instructions Defender Atari instructions Defender Atari instructions Defender Atari instructions



Defender Atari catalog


Excerpts from an interview with Steve Baker by Scott Stilphen:

SS: "I must say that your Atari version of Defender was simply incredible! Did you have the chance to meet with Eugene Jarvis when doing your version or did he offer any help / advice?"

SB: "I had originally done Defender for the Apple ][ as an exercise in programming. Atari wanted it for the 400-800-5200 so that was the first game I did for them. Yes, Eugene and I had an informal meeting at a park near Atari and I just told him how I programmed it from what I saw and he confirmed it. I did find out the swarmers (little red ones) do not fire behind themselves... LOL! It’s a great trick".

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