Omni Space Defender

Omni Space Defender

If this looks familiar, it should. It’s the plastic/resin version of the Meister Anker Space Raider, produced in big numbers by Omni in the early 1980s. Also rebadged by Timex, Trafalgar and Artron among others, yet really hard to find today.

The biggest problem with these watches seems to be with the quality of the modules, it’s not great.

The plastic parts inside it deteriorate over time and segments (or in this case characters) in the LCD begin to disappear — which is about the most annoying thing possible for a game watch — the sound stops working, and they just give up.

This means that those that are still around and running, cost a lot. Think in the USD200+ bracket.

Such a shame too, this is a great game to play. The big grey bar at the bottom is your fire button and actually contains two switches underneath (one at each end) to make sure you don’t misfire by pressing on the wrong part of the button.

The first game is very similar to the space invaders style of the Armitron Piano Game and GCE Game Time (3) in that you fire, then have to move before you can fire again. There’s a second game too, where you are just battling a couple of invaders instead of a whole sheet.

If you think of the original 1978 Taito/Midway space invaders game, replicating it in a watch (particularly given the technology of the time) is virtually impossible, so that it’s been done at all is amazing, and to be playable too is an absolute bonus!

Someone should really replicate this game (and others) with a simulator — like Madrigal did with the Nintendo Game & Watches — just so you can see what it’s like to play. A great watch, even if it does empty your wallet quicker than the original arcade game did just to own one!

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