The Game: The alien abductors are back. Their henchbeings are back. And fortunately for the hapless humans on the planet’s surface, you’re back too, in a fully armed warship with a belly full of smart bombs. But the aliens have brought new and unusual reinforcements, and now the ultimate X-factor is seen visibly floating in the night sky – a stargate which could deposit your space fighter anywhere, delivering you to safety…or a rendezvous with a swarm of aliens. (Williams Electronics, 1981)
Memories: This sequel to Defender was a game I positively hated way back when. Why? Because I just flat-out sucked at the controls of Defender, so Stargate showed me no mercy whatsoever. With an even more complicated control scheme than its ancestor, I didn’t stand a chance at Stargate. But watching the people who had learned how to really make the game theirs? That was something else.
Stargate also had a bit of an identity crisis early in its life; though it was obviously the progeny of Defender, Williams’ marketing department was concerned that the name alone would be enough to cause confusion that would keep gamers’ quarters out of Stargate‘s coinboxes. Thus, mere months in Stargate‘s existence, it became Defender II. Virtually all of the retro compilation ports of the game bear the name Defender II to this day – as if there’s still concern that players will be confused.
Stargate was adapted into Atari 2600 form – as both Stargate and Defender II, ironically – very nicely, the way the original Atari version of Defender should have looked.