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May the 4th Be With You: A Brief Breakdown of Star Wars Games

By May 4, 2018Spotlights4 min read

Star Wars is without a doubt one of the most successful movie franchises to date. But did you know it is also one of the most successful video game franchises as well? They’ve been around since the early 1980s, from the Atari to the Xbox One, and everything in between. Most are directly related to the movies, even timed with the release, and many relying on the stories of the expanded universe.

Although many may be used to the recent releases like Star Wars Battlefront. Star Wars video games got their start in arcades, with Atari’s 1983 Star Wars arcade cabinet, later being re-released onto many different systems, including the Atari 2600, the ColecoVision, and even the Apple II.

Atari’s Star Wars Arcade game.

From then on, each release of a Star Wars movie meant new games on new systems. With notable ones being Super Star Wars, Super Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back, and Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, all released on the SNES. All of which are action platformers, with levels based on events in the movies. All three titles were ranked in IGN’s Top 100 SNES games, with Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi taking number 26. Luckily, if you have a SNES, these carts can be picked up for super low prices and they have been re-released numerous times for other systems, such as the PlayStation Vita and the PlayStation 4. Games for the prequels were also released on new consoles like the PlayStation 3 and Wii, with more 3D elements rather than 2D platformers.

Although there were numerous releases of Star Wars games based on the movies, games that were focused on the flight and space battle aspects of the movies were almost as popular as other titles. Games like the Rogue Squadron series focused on recreated space battle missions from the films, were hits across consoles in the early 2000s. Games like these, Starfighter, and the X-Wings series, allowed players to focus more on ship battles rather than lightsaber battles. Although these are based on battles from the movies, they are not plot-driven, allowing for quick, arcade-like play rather than an action adventure game. Games in this style can also be found in arcades, many with elaborate cabinets that make you feel like you are actually in a cockpit.

Of course, who could forget the massive amount of roleplay adventure games and action adventure games that the Star Wars franchise has to offer. The most notable being 2003’s Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR). KotOR focuses on the expanded Star Wars universe, taking place 4,000 years before the movies. Gameplay is based on the d20 system, allowing a unique gameplay experience for each player. Other games like Force Unleashed and Star Wars Battlefront came after, Force Unleashed being more of a story based game focusing on the dark side, and taking place between Return of the Jedi and A New Hope. And Star Wars Battlefront being a battle-focused game rather than a story-driven one.

While there are hundreds of other Star Wars games across dozens of platforms, this would be a 7,000-word article if I talked about every game. Star Wars games are going to be around for as long as the movies are being released, and most likely way after, there is no doubt about that. Sound off in the comments below what your favorite Star Wars games are!

Bailey Brown

Bailey is an advertising major, nonprofit studies minor in her third year at the University of Oklahoma. She was given her first gaming device at the age of 9 and hasn't put it down since. She enjoys the exploration and puzzle solving of The Legend of Zelda and claims she can "beat anyone" in Mario Kart or Super Smash Brothers. Follow her on Twitter @MissBaileyKay

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