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Star Wars: The Evolution of a Game Franchise

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I think it’s fair to say that ever since the rise of the gaming industry, bordering on three decades ago now, there has been Star Wars games.

It all started in 1983 with Star Wars: Jedi Arena for the Atari 2600 console. The game was simple, two Jedi’s would face off with a seeker ball between them (just like the one Luke trains with in Episode IV). To win the game you had to deflect the laser bolts from the seeker ball towards your opponent.

Star Wars games have come a long way since then. Deflecting laser bolts is the least of your worries as you use the Force to pull down an Imperial Starship in, the fastest selling Star Wars game to date, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

Force Unleashed is my favourite Star Wars game. The developers used ‘CloneCam’, the same technology used in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, in order to properly capture the actors voices and facial expressions. The result: the beautiful Sam Witwer turned into a just-as-beautiful video game clone. The chance to stare at Witwer’s face for the duration of the game wasn’t the only thing I loved though, The Force Unleashed makes up for the hack and slash repetitive gameplay with an amazing story set between Episodes III and IV.

The game’s sequel, The Force Unleashed 2, whilst even more graphically beautiful does unfortunately feel a little rushed.

Lego video games are all the rage at the moment and I’m sure it comes as no surprise that the SW franchise has been Lego-ised. The games are aimed at a younger audience, perhaps educating them in the Star Wars legacy, and to be honest I find a little repetitive and boring. One thing that can’t be taken away from Lego Star Wars, though, is that single or multiplayer you still get the same gameplay experience; something we don’t see much of these days.

The Star Wars Battlefront games were epic. I particularly enjoyed being able to play as a Stormtrooper, ‘cause they are cool, as I ran across a variety of different planets raising hell. Battlefront gave you a number of characters, vehicles and weapons to choose from. It was a simple Call of Duty set in the SW universe.

This year’s addition to the ever growing collection of Star Wars games sees a return to the popular Knights of the Old Republic series; Star Wars: The Old Republic. TOR, as I’m told fans call it for short, is set around 300 years after the Knights of the Old Republic series and 3,500 years before the start of the Star Wars movies.

TOR is a MMORPG, or Massively Multiplayer Online Role Play Game for those of you just as confused as I am, and has just broken records for the fastest growing MMORPG subscription ever. Impressive, eh? Then again I’d much rather be a Jedi than a Mage or whatever it is World of Warcraft has to offer.

So what does The Old Republic offer? Well, you get to join either the Galactic Republic or the Sith Empire as well as the choice of a myriad of different character species. Here’s just a few: Human, Cyborg, Twi’lek or Zabrak (Darth Maul’s species). Dependent on both your species and alliance choice you can choose your character’s class which ranges from Bounty Hunter, Jedi Knight, Sith Warrior or Smuggler, amongst others.

Multiplayer games are hugely popular these days, with the ability to go off and meet loads of other players; whilst the setting of the Star Wars universe is a huge attraction to a number of players. With the range of different characters and character types to choose from, with each decision you make opening up a new storyline, it seems that TOR is a game that can continue for a long time. No doubt a number of expansions are in development already.

It may been closing in on a decade since the release of the final Star Wars movie, Star Wars Episode III, but I highly doubt the Star Wars hype will die down soon; if ever. George Lucas may have felt the need to re-release them all in 3D, to keep them in our minds but to be quite honest, it seems he’s doing alright from all the video games people are making.

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LJ Taylor

Senior Editor

2 Comments

    • LJ Taylor

      I’ve never played that. Maybe I should get on it. I’ll look it up once my deadlines are all sorted.

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