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Cart #ggaughan_picodefender_1-2 | 2021-08-16 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

Pico Defender

A remake of the Williams classic.


  • Up/Down
  • Left/Right
  • X to fire
  • Z for smart bomb
  • X+Z for hyperspace

How to play

Blast Alien Ships

Blast landers carrying humanoids before they mutate. Catch falling humanoids - 500 points; Return them to surface - 500 points. Bonus for surviving humanoids after each alien wave. If all the humanoids are successfully abducted, the entire planet will explode in a blinding flash!

Hyperspace - Warp To Another Quadrant - Caution

Smart Bomb - Destroys Enemies On Screen

Bonus Ship and Smart Bomb every 10,000 Points


For hyperspace, press and hold down fire and then press the smart bomb key.

To stop the screen flashing during effects and turn off the rapid colour cycling, go to the pause menu and use the "toggle flashing" option.


Code: Greg Gaughan

Audio: Martha

Also on itch.io: https://ggaughan.itch.io/pico-defender

P#87968 2021-02-21 11:58 ( Edited 2021-08-16 21:24)


Awesome port, but I'm not with you regarding the controls. You got used to it, but it's too awkward on a keyboard and downright unplayable with a joypad (plus you just can't physically press up+down).

I'd suggest left/right thrust. Since the arcade every port just did that and it just works.
And maybe a quick combo left/right/left/right for warp would feel somewhat natural.

Great work, just fix the controls (as options maybe) and it's ACE!

P#87971 2021-02-21 13:04

Thanks. I'll see if I can free up some tokens and add an option for the left/right movement. I think the quick combo might be done by accident so perhaps fire then bomb together for hyperspace.

P#87981 2021-02-21 18:06

Great game! The controls are hard though and going backwards in the map is basically impossible

P#88067 2021-02-23 18:01

Thanks. I'm on it - I have some spare tokens and should be releasing an update this weekend.

P#88081 2021-02-24 00:40

On keyboard I found the controls to be fine. The aesthetic is just perfect!!!! This is so great!

P#88101 2021-02-24 14:12

Thanks all for the feedback. The version 1.01 just uploaded defaults to a left/right control.

If you've grown used to the original controls you can choose "toggle alt keys" from the options menu (and it will save your choice).

P#88211 2021-02-26 18:48

The new control scheme is a huge improvement. Having played it a fair bit now, my only criticism would be that it is too easy, and extra lives are rewarded too frequently.

P#88637 2021-03-07 13:33

Thanks for this Defender version, really impressed with it, very playable.

P#88641 2021-03-07 15:58

This is a great recreation of defender but there is ONE fatal issue - Lander's AI.

In this game, the landers just fly down to bottom and fly up and down, this is not right.

In the original defender, landers followed the mountain lines flying slightly higher. so players need to line up the ship around the mountain backgrounds to quickly engage the landers.

If you have a time to work on this project, please improve the landers AI so they would follow the mountain lines. that would be perfect !

P#95771 2021-08-08 04:26

This is excellent. Thanks for making it!

P#95990 2021-08-14 02:40

Thanks! I've updated the Lander behaviour so they follow the mountains.

P#96118 2021-08-16 21:27

Thanks for the update !

You motivated me to get into pico8, someday I'll make my own version of pico8 defender.

P#96129 2021-08-17 02:26

This was my favourite of all the Arcade games. Excellent implementation. Showed my 9yo and he may finally begin to start coding instead of playing due to this. Fingers crossed.

P#96526 2021-08-27 10:32

Excellent remake. Love the controls. I could never get used to the sheer number of buttons on the original. Spot on with the graphics too!

P#96648 2021-08-30 00:00

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