Defender was created by a company that was, up to that time, much more known for its pinball machines than electronic arcade machines. In 1974, Williams released its first arcade game, Paddle-Ball, and acquired Magnavox’s Magnetic Corporation of America. The Pong craze proved to be a flash in the pan, and the company abandoned video games shortly thereafter. Williams prospered in the the exploding electronic pinball market of the 1970’s. However, when video game mania hit with the release of Space Invaders in 1978 and Asteroids in ‘79, it was clear that the future of the arcade was with video games, and pinball’s star would fade.

For more about Defender, please read my FAQ at: fender/faqs/25139

I had the honor and privilege of talking to Eugene Jarvis, the creator and programmer of Defender.

Old School Gamer (OSG): How did you first get involved with computers?

Eugene Jarvis (EJ): I grew up in Silicon Valley. As a kid, I was into chess, Stratego, pinball and the early video games like Pong. I also liked to ride my bike over to Stanford. I would check out the AI lab and play what was the first arcade video game at the student Union.

It was called the Galaxy Game which was a derivative of Spacewar!. The Galaxy Game was the first commercial arcade video game and it was in its own cool space-age cabinet. This was back in 1971. It was also during this me, in high school, that I had my first exposure to FORTRAN – to continue reading click here


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Kevin Butler Kevin Butler (16 Posts)

Since he played on the first Magnanvox Odyssey in 1973, Kevin was bitten by the video game bug. It didn't matter what the games looked like, they were just fun. When Space Invaders was released in the United States in the late 1970's, he spent a ton of quarters in his local Aladdins Castle trying (unsuccessfully) to master the game. He continued to play on various console and arcade games (even learning to program the Apple II+) until he joined the navy in 1983. Joined the navy in 1983 and became a Hospital Corpsman in 1984. While in the navy, Kevin was able continue his hobby of programming PC's and playing videogames. In the early to mid 1990's, Kevin learned to program the Atari ST and worked for Majicsoft for a couple of years. Before retiring from the navy in 2004, Kevin started to write FAQ's for GameFAQ's. His forte was arcade FAQ's since that was his real passion still. His FAQ's have appeared in many places that seek to preserve the arcade game history. This is especially true for the MAME project where his guides are a part of the documentation. After retiring from the navy, Kevin has been more involved in computer repair, networking, and computer security but he still is involved in the arcade history arena. He currently lives in Neosho MO with his wife and one son who is also a video game hobbyist.