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Four Vintage Star Wars Games That Deserve Modern Ports
Theo Kogod
2021-07-06T07:42:16
Star Wars vintage video games
Star Wars vintage video games
Disney+ just released a great collection of vintageĀ Star Wars material onto the service. This has given old fans a cause to celebrate their nostalgic memories while allowing new fans to experience these classics for the very first time. It also has raised questions about what other vintage Star Wars media could be brought back, including some of the franchise's old video games.
While these games may have come out a long time ago, that does not mean they need to be far away from the lives of modern fans. While EA Star Wars rumors and Ubisoft's upcoming title are exciting, there is a rich Star Wars gaming legacy to remember as well. Porting these classic games onto newer consoles for modern players would be a great way for Disney to tap into that nostalgia even more.

Star Wars: The Arcade Game

Star Wars The Arcade Game Atari 1983
Star Wars The Arcade Game Atari 1983
The original 1983 Star Wars: Arcade Game (also known as Atari Star Wars) was one of the earliest Star Wars games ever made. Players got to control Luke Skywalker flying his X-Wing during the Battle of Yavin, fighting against TIEs as he attacked the Death Star. Actors Mark Hamill, James Earl Jones, Alex Guinness, and Harrison Ford reprised their roles from the film.
This rail shooter used vector graphics to create a first-person experience where players felt like they were flying through the vacuum of space. The next year, Atari released a Star Wars: Return of the Jedi game to coincide with that film's release, followed by a game for The Empire Strikes back (and thereby mixing up the order a bit). Originally, there were two versions of the arcade game, allowing players to either stand in front of a console or sit in a cockpit. But, it would eventually be adapted with updated graphics for a number of consoles, specifically the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari XE, ColecoVision, and Commodore 64.

Star Wars: X-Wing

Star Wars X-Wing
Star Wars X-Wing
Star Wars: X-Wing was originally released on floppy disc in 1993 for Mac and DOS and let players assume the role of a Rebel pilot, flying important missions in their war against the Empire, culminating in the assault on the Death Star, and even going beyond this in the expansion packs. Players engaged in dogfights against enemy TIEs, escorted Alliance vessels to safety, and flew attack runs against Imperial targets. X-Wing was incredibly popular and spawned numerous sequels, notably Star Wars: TIE Fighter and X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter.
One reason for the game's success was that it was released at a time when the franchise was enjoying renewed popularity due to the release of novelist Timothy Zahn's bestselling Thrawn trilogy. X-Wing also took advantage of new technology, including a unique form of interactive music software developed by LucasArts known as iMUSE, which allowed the game to seamlessly alter its score to adapt to choices the player made in real time. On top of that, it recreated scenes from the films using its 3D polygon graphics, making it one of the first games to use such 3D effects. Both X-Wing and TIE Fighter have been re-released numerous times, including in 2014, but they seem due for an updated port for newer consoles.

Star Wars: Dark Forces

Star Wars: Dark Forces is a first-person shooter that follows Kyle Katarn, a mercenary working for the Rebel Alliance. Released in 1995, the game built upon the success of the X-Wing series. Kyle undertook dangerous missions to stop the threat of Imperial Dark Troopers and eventually discovered that he was Force-sensitive. Dark Forces used its own unique game engine called Jedi, providing mechanics that surpassed those of the biggest first-person shooter of the time, DOOM.
Not only is Dark Forces a great retro shooter, it's spawned a very influential series: Jedi Knight. The Jedi Knight games featured both first and third-person fighting and allowed Kyle to use a blaster, lightsaber, and various Force powers. Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast was truly revolutionary in how it pioneered lightsaber combat, making it one of the most celebrated Star Wars game of all time. While the Jedi Knight games have been ported, the original Dark Forces hasn't been modernized.

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
One of the classic Star Wars stories is the Shadows of the Empire, a multimedia epic that had its own novel, comic series, soundtrack, and (of course) video game. Released in 1997 for Microsoft Windows and the Nintendo 64, the game began at the Battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back and went all the way to the beginning of Return of the Jedi, following the exploits of a mercenary named Dash Rendar. While it is predominantly a third-person shooter, there were levels dedicated to a frenzied swoop bike chase against Jabba the Hutt's goons and 360-degree space battles in Dash's ship, the Outrider.
Shadows of the Empire was special because of how it fit within and expanded upon the lore of the Star Wars universe. Major characters like Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian, Jabba the Hutt, and Boba Fett were included, while the game also introduced a new villain, Prince Xizor, the head of the Black Sun Cartel who was helping the Empire while scheming behind Darth Vader's back. The game's opening level during the Battle of Hoth was widely praised, and to this day, the story remains near and dear to many fans' hearts.
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