Defender. Was this it? Did you, did anyone actually like this game? Well... My dad sure as hell did.

This was the game to have, back in the atari days. People played it at the arcade for a seriously long amount of time. Look at it this way, early on, nobody had safe guards for the number systems in video games. Every game started a person with a certain amount of lives, and you went from there. Kids, the innovators, always, always, always found ways around them. For some weird reason, if you got killed in Sinistar, and you got shot by a ship at the same time, if you only had one life left, the extra life counter would roll over and you'd be playing with hundreds of extra ships. People marathoned this game. People played it for hours and hours, but defender was worse... Oh, goodness was defender worse.

Some kid got published in a magazine for turning over (scoring outside of the designated range) Defender 16 times in a row. He was named "The Defender Champion of the World." In addition to this already being a huge-ass amount of time to devote to a video game, it was a crock of shit! There were kids at local arcades who'd rolled Defender more times than that on their 'bad days'. Some kid from the army quit his damn job so that he could play Defender full time.

My own dad... God bless his soul, was a Defender junkie. The only time I've ever heard of him getting really pissed off was... Well, lemme set this up for ya. My dad regularly gets addicted to video games. He had a GM mage, GM animal trainer, GM smith, GM bowyer, GM what-fucking-have-you on Ultima Online. Right now, he's playing Everquest. He's got a lvl. 52 Cleric, a lvl. 40 something wizard, a lvl. 46 Shaman, a lvl. 30 something Necromancer, and a lvl. 20 Warrior. He averages 8-10 hours a day playing video games. He just likes games, even. He was on the football team and the chess team in high school, and he failed to get his Master's Degree in college because he was too busy playing in a backgammon tourney to help a professor out. When the Atari was a home system, you used to be able to send in your high scores to different places and get patches, for being so cool. Under the guise of helping my uncle out, my dad would feed his addiction with hours and hours of Atari induced euphoric action.

On this particular day, I'm pretty sure the game was Defender. My uncle, two of my aunts, and my dad were playing it. In SHIFTS. So... That's the set up. My sister, wanting a glass of orange juice (I was too young to be cognizant, and she was a wee one at this point in time), stumbled over the power cord and tripped it. Max Robespierre, man of the hour, exploded all over his baby child, he didn't hit her (because he's not evil, dammit!), but I'm pretty sure he hit every piece of furniture in the room, and made loud bellowing noises, like the mighty bear.

With all the time I spend in front of my computer, with my Playstation, and with my NES, I often wonder... If I'd been born ten years before I was, would I have been a Defender Junkie?

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