In 1984 my parents owned and operated an arcade in a small town in Michigan. At age seven I was spending time after school pumping quarters into video game machines, mostly Pac Man, Dig-Dug, Berserk, Space Invaders, Joust, and Donkey Kong Junior. My memory fails me as to whether or not that Popeye game was out at that time, but it eventually became one of my favorites.
The Midway classics... I was exposed to them nice and early. And for that I am thankful.
One game always eluded me... or rather, I eluded it
. I could never quite get 25 cents worth of gameplay out of it. It is known as one of the most challenging arcade games ever assembled: Defender. "Maverick's supersonic... I'll be there in 30 seconds"
The game's difficulty level was ridiculous. You're goal is to shoot these aliens spacecraft before they run off with the people (or Humanoids) that you're attempting to save from mutation and, you know-... the whole anal probe thing. Aside from that you've got four or five different other alien spacecraft firing away to your vessel. And the screen continuously scrolls, and although you have control and can quickly reverse your direction to fly back the other way it just seemed like you always had entirely too much ground to cover. It kept you busy. I'll just put it that way.
In 1984 this game was a hit. There was always someone standing at the Defender cabinet. Always. And at this particular arcade, half the time the person standing there was-... my mother. My mom, the glorious woman that put of her college education to give birth to me, played Defender. And she was good. It wasn't unusual for a crowd to be gathered behind her watching her play. "Back off, kid... I'm not your mother"
This just blows my mind. Not that my mother played video games, or that she was good at them. But she was good at Defender
To this day she's still pretty proud of having one game that she can hold over my head and tease me about.
And I take it gracefully.