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Defender

Defender is a two-dimensional side-scrolling shooting game set on the surface of an unnamed planet. The player controls a space ship as it navigates the terrain, flying either to the left or right. A joystick controls the ship's elevation, and five buttons control its horizontal direction and weapons.

The object of Defender is to destroy alien invaders, while protecting astronauts on the landscape from abduction. Humans that are successfully abducted return as mutants that attack the ship. Defeating the aliens allows the player to progress to the next level. Failing to protect the astronauts, however, causes the planet to explode and the level to become populated with mutants. Surviving the waves of mutants results in the restoration of the planet. Players are allotted three chances (lives) to progress through the game and are able to earn more by reaching certain scoring benchmarks. A life is lost if the ship comes into contact with an enemy or its projectiles. After exhausting all lives, the game ends.

Defender was Williams Electronics' first attempt at developing a new video game; the company's earlier game was a Pong clone. The popularity of coin operated arcade games in 1979 spurred the company to shift its focus from pinball games to arcade games.

Defender eventually became Williams' best selling arcade game, with over 55,000 units sold worldwide. By 2004, the game was a popular collector's item; the upright cabinets were common, while the cocktail models were more rare. Since its release, it has become one of the highest grossing arcade games ever, earning over US$1 billion.

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