back to article I have you now! Star Wars stocking fillers from another age

Nothing quite says games like Christmas time, so Electronic Arts was therefore in like a shot with the latest telling of its Battlefront epic. Sure, it’s all lovely and pseudo HD, but isn’t it worth remembering just how we got here, and the fantastic journey we've had? Indeed, if the games of the Star Wars universe were in …

  1. Ebec

    I have you now!..i think not So what happened to SWG in your list

    Whats the point of this articles without adding one of the best mmo's released

    star wars galaxies ?

    it was a great game and still is far better than most mmos even released now ( pre combat upgrade 2)

    the only reason the game died was due to SOE managing to do the only thing the empire could never do and killed of the rebel alliance when they tried and failed to turn the game into a wow clone

    also you seem to be missing Star wars the old republic also by bioware / Ea ..

    1. MonkeyCee

      Re: I have you now!..i think not So what happened to SWG in your list

      That's some pretty rosy tinted goggles you've got on there my friend :)

      SWG was not, and never was, a "good" MMO. It came from an era where all the MMO's suffered from a lack of design and balance. Quite a number of important gameplay areas where simply left untested or not thought through fully.

      SWG required grinding to level. An amount of grinding that was amplified by the fact that in order to unlock a jedi/force sensitivity you needed to master 4 professions (from about 30ish), and you could discover what three of these where by using hard to get items. To grind a combat profession, assuming you where starting with a "full" non-jedi combat level character, and you could get a group, took 30+ hours. To level a crafting tree took about 60 hours of crafting and would give you RSI if you didn't use a macro.

      Ah, the crafting system. Reagents had stats, better stats = more experiment points = improvement of (typically) one aspect of the produced item. All cool and dandy, except there was no playtesting (or thought testing...) of what happens when you create 98% resist armor, or weapons with almost no stat cost to use. Or buffs that are 2-3000% of the base stats.

      Combined with SOE's borderline abusive behavior towards players (which they learnt from EQ) where they would make a broken system, then leave it for a year or two, then change it to another broken one, invalidating most of the "good" equipment previously existing. Plus nerfing items, but allowing existing broken versions of that equipment to be kept. I managed to acquire a melee weapon that had the reach of a ranged weapon (65m instead of 10m) and had many lols with that in pvp.

      As for the game dying, that happened in several stages. At each of the combat updates the core mechanics changed and acquired equipment (usually) became worthless. Thus a lot of effort invested in your character befome null, which often results in people quitting. Then making jedi available to everyone managed to persuade a lot of the old guard to quit, since their hard-to-get hero class (less than 5% of players had a jedi) was now just available to anyone. At that point I gave up.

      If they had tried to make it a wow clone they might have been OK (I'd have still quit). But they didn't. They copied some ideas from wow, while missing much of the useful stuff. They mainly failed to copy Blizzard's ability to deliver enjoyable experiences.

      SWG had some cool ideas (player cities, spaceships, bounty hunting NPC/players, skill point system) but was only any good because the alternatives where pretty shit. Once they stated losing subs, they just managed to kill themselves quicker. It's a great example of "just fucking leave it alone" they would still be raking in the subs.

      Oh, and permadeath for your hero class. Just no...

      1. Ebec

        Re: I have you now!..i think not So what happened to SWG in your list

        Even with my rose colored glasses

        i can agree with some of your comments i think one of the reason's

        i may have had a better time then yourself was i was off work ill at the time and my body clock was screwed and i was lucky playing on Naritus USA server and in a guild + player city we had was full off star wars loons who played 24/7 ( i know on uk servers it was dead a lot of the time)

        also we knew how to "fully work the macro system" or we know how to abuse it writing looping never ending marcos depending on your view

        i know the grinding was very heavy i personally enjoyed it but i had 2 accounts one for my main master BH/ carb then unlocked jedi to be the only maddening grind was to unlock jedi with having to do all the poi's second class unlock not screwing up meeting the old man and killing the 3 sith before you could find the city to start that insanity and my second one a Doc/tk who was 99% out a spaceport selling buffs on a macro

        but i whole hearty argee with you SoE comments as every time they fixed something , they broke the game even more and 99% they didn't even need to fix it and i had it worse on patch release days and both my pc's at the time had ATI cards, i'm sure your know about how much fun and swg had after patchs with their drivers,the inability to even play after one

  2. Christoph

    When fighting AT-ATs, do you have to copy the film by attacking from the front an enemy which can only fire forwards? (When you have a much more manoeuvrable vehicle which could easily attack from any direction.)

  3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    I seem to remember Star Wars themed games on the C64?

    The arcade game was awesome - ate quite a lot of spare change. Which, at the time, was neither spare, nor change.

  4. Mike 16

    I can state with some confidence

    That the sit-down Arcade Star Wars from Atari did not run on a 2600. Also that the famous controller used on it was a left-over from Army Battlezone. But folks who care actually knew that.

    1. Synonymous Howard

      Re: I can state with some confidence

      The Atari Star Wars arcade game is still the only computer game I would play again and again.

      If I had a spare few grand I would buy an original and relive my Uni years.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: I can state with some confidence

        "If I had a spare few grand" ... ah yes. But we can always use MAME :-)

        1. Bleu

          Re: I can state with some confidence

          The earliest arcade game had vector graphics, possibly on top of bit-maps. I don't think MAME has the capacity to turn one's pixel-driven monitor into something like a CRO.

          I have not seen that game for very many years, it was great, but the vector graphics bit is now too pricey to replicate.

          The next one, big cabinet, pixel size to match, still wire-frames, sure, it was fun. The machines are occasionally seen around. They likely do have MAME, or something like it, inside.

          The DS version of Attack of the Clones was good, the 8- to 16-bit isometric feel of the GBA game plus enjoyable space battles on the DS hardware.

          I am very annoyed about the pod-racing game, Lucas seems to have had an exclusive deal with Nintendo, so there never was a Dreamcast release here, I played it on an N64, would sure have bought it if the DC version was available here.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I can state with some confidence

        If I had a spare few grand I'd probably try to relive my uni years too. Hopefully I'd have enough spare cash to purchase a replacement liver and other parts worn down to a nub by the end of it.

  5. Bob Merkin

    I realized about 10 years ago that my fondest Star Wars memories were not from any of the theatrical releases but from some of the great video games and books based on it. TIE Fighter, Jedi Knight (especially deathmatches with my college roommates), KOTOR, and the original Battlefront all consumed untold months of my life. The now-irrelevant Heir to the Empire trilogy and Karen Traviss' Republic Commando stories were also thoroughly enjoyable.

    1. NotWorkAdmin


      Freeing up the 600k or so of conventional memory X-Wing demanded was (I believe) the first time I "did" something with a computer. The game was pretty good as well of course.

      Shame the latest Star Wars game apparently spent their entire budget on marketing and 50 pence on the game itself.

      1. MonkeyCee

        Re: X-Wing

        "Shame the latest Star Wars game apparently spent their entire budget on marketing and 50 pence on the game itself."

        That's a lot of the media industries problems right there.

        An awful lot of the people in charge of green-lighting projects are not in any way consumers of them. Be it games, books or movies, they have a good idea of what will sell, and what won't, but no real appreciation for "why".

        The common one I see for games (certainly in how the execs justify their decisions) is they simply do not understand gameplay. That something can be fun and challenging, and that it's not the graphics/sound/buzz that does this, but the mechanics and how they apply to the game world.

        So not having a good objective measure for "fun to play" (for whatever group you're going for) or "appropriate difficulty curve" are nearly impossible to judge, "has shiny graphics" is an easy metric, and plays well into what they do know, marketing.

        Because selling you a pretty but shit game, so you want another game in a few days/weeks/months, is far better business than selling you a classic. And there is enough of a market that will pay for a star wars game no matter how terrible, so you don't even really need a proper game to go with it.

  6. graeme leggett Silver badge

    TIE Fighter was way better than X Wing. One thing that helped was the graphics being a touch better (slightly better resolution)

    And it I available for modern machines. Though you need a joystick.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just joysticks didn't last long... I killed at least three with Tie Fighter and X-Wing vs Tie Fighter.

  7. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Up

    Star Wars (Atari arcade) 1983

    Ah, that brings back memories!

    Not only great graphics and gameplay, but also voice clips from the film: "Red Five standing by", "Look at the size of that thing!" and, of course, Obi Wan urging you to "Use the force Luke" when you did the Death Star trench run where, if you could complete it without firing your lasers, you got a bonus to your score!

    A team of three once played the game for over 5 days, racking up a top score of one *billion* (and twelve) points before calling it quits!

    1. Unicornpiss
      Thumb Up

      Re: Star Wars (Atari arcade) 1983

      ..Don't forget the feeling of accomplishment on making the high score list and getting to hear the Cantina theme while you entered your initials, then the send off: "The force will be with you, always."

      My God, a billion points?? On a good day I'd be lucky to get through 4-5 levels. Fortunately I can relive the game and get a lot farther with MAME and cheats enabled. I can't imagine doing anything continually for 5 days, unless it's maybe sleep.

    2. GeezaGaz

      Re: Star Wars (Atari arcade) 1983

      It was an incredible experience. Although without that same heavy duty controller you could yank forward and bash forward when in the trench to avoid obstacles, playing it on a keyboard with MAME I guess just wouldn't be the same.

  8. jason 7

    I had a Star Wars game...

    ...from around the late 90's. It was a turn based strategy game. Kind of a mix between Master of Orion and Command & Conquer.I don't remember much about it as I didn't enjoy it.

  9. L05ER

    Master here

    I loved masters of the teras kasi...Thok VS Hoar! Evil Luke! Mara Jade! Gameplay wasn't stand out... But didn't suck by any means.

    Still consider it to be the second most fun star wars game to play... Behind KoTOR.

  10. thomas k


    No lovin' for the 2 KotORs?

  11. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Episode 1 Racer (N64, PC, Dreamcast)

    It wasn't bad! Not an all out classic like WipEout, but it was fun.

    1. CADmonkey

      Re: Episode 1 Racer (N64, PC, Dreamcast)

      I still play it!

      Wasn't so easy to get running on an x64 machine, but eventually someone came up with a fix.

    2. Dayjo

      Re: Episode 1 Racer (N64, PC, Dreamcast)

      Shocking that this didn't make the cut. Genuinely one of the most underrated games for the N64. This game was so much fun, and really made you feel like you had Jedi reflexes zooming through Tatooine, half concentrating on over-taking Mars Guo and at the same time repairing your engines. Need to find this game somewhere and get the N64 back out!

  12. Highroads

    Bring back TIE fighter

    Is there no market for a decent Star Wars space sim? I've been waiting for years for an updated version the original games. I liked that the missions and the ships' controls were quite complicated. I've read that the latest games (Battlefront) are a bit dissapointing in that respect.

    1. IHateWearingATie

      Re: Bring back TIE fighter

      Given how good TIE fighter was odd be happy worth exactly the same game with updated graphics. Twas epic

    2. gray527

      Re: Bring back TIE fighter

      Lucasarts let Tie Fighter become abandonware and was playable in an emulator. Then GoG got the distribution rights and sells a version compatible with today's operating systems.

  13. James 51

    GOG is your friend of most of those games. The graphics have ages but still got it where it counts.

  14. Stuart Elliott

    Jedi Knight Stormtroopers

    Does anyone else think the Stormtrooper in that screenshot look like a recruitment ad for Anonymous ?

    Merry Christmas.

  15. Bladeforce

    Ah yes...

    Here's another list that panders to the liberal. A game from every system on the list as usual... Facts are this should be a list just containing PC games as they are by far better than anything on a console ever! The only exception being Rouge Squadron 2 on GC that was so close to being a PC game but hey keep pandering to the liberal elite

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      "The only exception being Rouge Squadron ..." --- Bladeforce

      rose-tinted glasses?

    2. Amorous Cowherder

      Re: Ah yes...

      OH FOR THE LOVE OF....How many times are people going to spell it incorrectly?

      It's pronounce it "row-g". As is gone-off-the-rails, a delinquent, someone or something that abandons the perceived norm.

      It's not R-O-U-G-E ( "roo-shz" ) which is something your granny would have smeared on her fizzog to get US soldiers to pay attention to her!

      1. Ashton Black

        Re: Ah yes...

        Upvote for Fizzog!!

      2. Simon Westerby 1

        Re: Ah yes...

        ".. get US soldiers to pay attention to her! "

        Is that what a Combat Rouge is in WoW ... ???

        Spilling Mistooks FTW!!!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No one talks much about..

    Dark Forces with it's Peek-a-boo resetting AI (1995) the 'Holiday Special' of Star Wars Games

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No one talks much about..

      I LOVED Dark Forces. Bought it, loved it, then promptly lost my job.

      I put the game away, got the latest freelance informer. and promised myself when I got a new job I'd play dark forces through to completion - took a while to get the job after getting my skills up to scratch then I sat down in gamer bliss.

      Good times :)

  17. xj650t

    What I really want

    is Grand Theft Star Wars, lets see a bit of the seedier side of the Star Wars universe, just imagine the amount of freeplay you could have on Coruscant or Mos Eisley.

    Jedi Knight Dark Forces 2 was the outstanding game of the time for me though, incredible sense of scale and height that had you feeling dizzy standing on the side of a ledge on Nar Shaddaa, awesome.

    Mine's the one with a thermal detonator in the pocket.

    1. Hans 1

      Re: What I really want

      >just imagine the amount of freeplay you could have on Coruscant

      GTA V in tens of Gb's, the map is quite big, granted, but you would need a map 10 000 times bigger to get anything close for Coruscant. Besides, in GTA V, a lot of the buildings are similar if not the same, scattered around ...

  18. breakfast Silver badge

    A rollercoaster ride

    Jedi Knight was one of the best games of the period, and probably the only FPS I have played through more than once - I wanted to see the dark side powers but at the moment when I got my light sabre I knew that this was a tool I could only use for good and ended up playing through trying to use only the light sabre from that point forward. A truly great game.

    I will also never forget the great disappointment that was X-Wing Vs Tie Fighter. It was just not enough of a game for the money and at a time when network-only games were a tricky proposition but I suppose that it was a valuable preparation for the disappointment we were soon to experience when the sequels arrived.

  19. Andy Taylor

    I can't believe you missed

    Angry Birds Star Wars (1 and 2).

  20. Danny 2

    The first thing I ever won was a Stars Wars board game in an Edinburgh Evening News 'spot the difference' competition. It was quite good considering it was just merchandise, I should have saved it.

    The second thing I won was a bottle of whisky in a school raffle; unfortunately my mum was there and confiscated it - though the school had no problem giving it to me.

    The third thing I won as a £15 book token for a BASIC computer array of the year, to use as ZX diary. Lotus Notes, Lotus I forget the name (Organizer), I beat ya by a decade.

    The fourth thing I earned is my Bronze badge here. I guess somewhere along this sad tale I also earned my cynicism and weary resignation but it didn't come with an actual award.

  21. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Rebelt Assault wasn't that bad at first

    Yes, it's on rails, but the rails have a certain amount of leeway - particularly in the star destroyer assault where there's multiple goes if you miss on the initial pass.

    The issue is that it's decent for a number of levels, then there's an almost impossible asteroid navigation scene.

    In the list of Star Wars failures, there's much worse.

  22. gcla72

    Star Wars (Atari arcade) 1983

    Oh how I remember sticking millions of those new-fangled "Thatchers"* in this as an 11 year old on holiday. Only made it to the exhaust port one time in ten. Even today's HD games didn't have that Wow! factor. Must be more with being 11 than how good it was. Back to Elite on the Electron when I got home.

    *Pound coins

  23. Deadly Headshot

    A GameCube in 1998?

    "Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader 1998 (GameCube, PC)" - I might be wrong but the GameCube wasn't out in 1998. This can't be right!

  24. HurdImpropriety

    oh gawd... all the basement-dwelling fanboys flexing their nerd muscles... Really guys need to climb out of their mom's basements....

  25. BRYN

    Nuff said

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