No, not that Stargate.

Source // Games Database

I've seen this before, haven't I? What is it? Stargate? What's that? Sequel to Defender? That'll be why then.

With Defender a runaway hit, it was only natural for a sequel to be developed to keep the interest levels of the arcade-goers high. More eyes on your cabinet, more quarters in your slot. Welcome to Arcade Gaming 101, feel free to ask questions.

It looks the same doesn't it? I read that Stargate is harder than Defender, but much like its predecessor, I can't find that out for myself, certainly not directly.

Learning from my mistake in the Defender review, I took a screenshot flying left.


I don't know what's going on here, which is somewhat unbelievable seeing as it is basically Defender and then some. Ship flies right or left, map at the top, enemies in the middle, shoot anything that looks like it needs shooting.

That's the Atari 5200 version up there, and I'm impressed by how it looks and sounds. More how it looks than how it sounds. Long story short, I'd be a happy child were I to have had that running on the TV. Whether I'd have the patience to learn it and make any progress, I don't know.

Dodging, firing, keeping an eye and an ear out for things going on all over the map... these are skills I should have picked up to some degree from games of the past, both in terms of my personal gaming history, and through this journey of 1001 games. But getting them all to gel in Stargate isn't quite happening for me, certainly not from the offset.

Aside from my lack of skill, we've also got to contend with limited, conflicting graphics. Was that a star in the distance? I've exploded and lost a life, so it can't have been decoration.

We've got to deal with 15 enemy types, one of which must have been star-like. Was it the type that lays mines? Was it actually a missile that got me? Did I just straight up drive into an alien?

Most of the time, I haven't got a clue what got me, all I know is that I lost a life. Happens rather quickly...

I definitely exploded... did I take someone with me? No idea.

Fun Times

Thankfully, some bright spark put some difficulty options front and center for the Atari 5200, including number of lives, rate at which new lives are awarded, a difficulty rating and so on. Fine tuning your gameplay to such a degree is perhaps necessary in order to practice the game, let alone play it.

It's only through whacking up the live counters and so on that I can survive long enough to learn what I'm doing. I even manage to make it through a wave of enemies. Must have destroyed enough of them, I guess. And I see little blobby humans still standing, so they must need to stay there and not be shot or captured - and friendly fire is always on, so aim your shots carefully.

Final Word

Watching an expert play Stargate is far easier than playing it, but it has rekindled the desire to go back to Resogun to see where the genre has gone.

Do you have more patience and skill than me? More desire to play a game and make progress through trial and error, or outright fluke? Do you simply like Defender and what more of the same? Play Stargate. I can't say much more.

It's challenging, of course it is, it wants your money. Or did. These days it's less concerned. Are you up to the challenge? (Today at least, I'm not)

Fun Facts

Some enemies were named after competitors to publishers Williams Electronics. The jokes on Vid Kidz there, those competitors sure beat me up.

Stargate, developed by Vid Kidz, first released in 1981.
Version played: Atari 5200, 1984, via emulation.