VICE vs Video games

Most Star Wars Games Are Just as Bad as the Films

"Star Wars games" is, in the most part, a form of shorthand for "fucking terrible".

by Ian Dransfield
15 January 2015, 6:00am

Hey, did you see that Star Wars thing the other week? No? It had all the whoosing and the swooshing, and then some guy stood up looking panicked, before the Millennium Falcon did a thing and we all suddenly became eight-year-olds again. It was magnificent.

Which was a pleasant surprise, because the last time we encountered Star Wars in film form it was shit. Dross. Garbage. Not a good thing. So it fills me with hope to see this new trailer, which, in 90-or-so seconds, managed to reinstate my faith in the entire series of films.

But only the films, because it wasn't just those that became terrible over the years. Star Wars video games hit the sort of bum notes that would have entire orchestras fired.

"Star Wars games" is, in the most part, a form of shorthand for "fucking terrible", and for many years there were plenty of games littered with lightsabers and bounty hunters that we could freely call on and hail as an example of everything that was wrong with licensed games.

I mean, there were some good ones. X-Wing, TIE Fighter, Knights of the Old Republic, the Dark Forces and Jedi Knight series – some true classics that hold up to this day. They captured the essence of the Star Wars universe and let us actually play a part in the galaxy of the past, oh-so far away.

But god, do those stinkers stick in my mind.

Masters of Teräs Käsi

One of my formative experiences as a nerdy, weird child was learning what true disappointment was. It had a name, in fact: Masters of Teräs Käsi. And that was a fucking stupid name. I even knew that when I was an idiot-child.

This one-on-one fighting game should have been brilliant – it was fighting, it had Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in it, there were lightsabers. Done. The perfect game.

Instead, this was the kind of bad that seriously shakes your faith in humanity. The sort of bad that makes the room spin and a strong taste of iron enter your mouth. Bad on a level that it single-handedly managed to introduce an entire generation to the concept of the world being an inherently unfair and shitty place.

(And it was a really stupid name.)

Force Commander

Force Commander was a bad game, and I could probably write for literally tens of words as to why that's the case. But instead I'll just rely on breaking everyone's spirit with this thing:

Not only did they manage to cock up the one thing it should be piss easy to do with Star Wars – make a real-time strategy game out of it (seeing as half the bloody films are RTS games in disguise) – they also dicked about with the music.

You just know it was suit somewhere who decided they should make it "edgier" to appeal to "the kids". I may have just made him up in my head this second, but I already despise that guy.

Star Wars: Obi Wan

There was a point when the original Xbox was new and exciting – a super-powered console that could play something as good as Halo! Wow!

Then Star Wars: Obi Wan came out and tried its hardest to ruin any fun anyone had had with any game in the history of anything, ever. That might not be something you can prove with hard science, but I've said it now and I'm not about to delete it.

Rebel Assault

While it might have been the ridiculously named Masters of Teräs Käsi that ruined the innocence of my youth, there's a special place in the Boudoir of Star Wars Hatred set aside – and not just by me – for one Rebel Assault.

Let me explain: in the early-90s, we still loved the three Star Wars films with no qualms. No Special Editions, no prequel trilogy, no memory of the Holiday Special (or YouTube to watch it on). We even liked the cartoons based on it because we were children and therefore stupid.

There was no way a version of Star Wars you watched – rather than had any real input into – could be bad. Yet Rebel Assault came about and ruined that. Destroyed that innocence. Invalidated our love. Proved to us that Star Wars was fallible and, in some cases, really quite shitty.

You can watch the whole thing here, if you genuinely don't care about your time or how you spend it.

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Of course, it's not all a cesspit of complete, soul-destroying shittiness.

The thing is with Star Wars games, there's a hell of a lot of good out there. Almost enough that you can ignore the bad. But the only reason that's true is because there's so bloody many of them – you throw enough space-shit, some'll stick.

Either way, you're still left with a hell of a lot of crap to wade through. And Kinect Star Wars.

Recent years haven't been kind – while the trailer for The Force Awakens has us all hyped and pumped and all that nonsense for the film, there's little sign that we're going to be getting any games to get truly excited about.

Unless...

@ianinthefuture

Previously:

Merry Christmas, GamerGate

Video Games to Argue with Your Family Over This Christmas

Anxiety Disorders and the Great Escape Video Gaming Can Provide