In honor of The Last Jedi's release, we are republishing our list of the 30 best games that take place in a galaxy far, far away. This feature was originally published in December 2015.

Game Informer's office is usually as quiet as a library; the sounds of keyboards rapidly being clicked is often all you hear. Today the office is filled with the chatter of anxious Star Wars fans. The conversations range from people huddling together to discuss their favorite Star Wars movies and moments within them, to Jeff Cork pointing a damning finger at every person on staff, warning them not to spoil the movie for him or else.

Image source: Platypus Comix

Image source: The Strong

Given this is a video game outlet first and foremost, the discussions also lead to video games and the prolific impact Star Wars has had on our favorite entertainment medium. Game developers saw the potential Star Wars had in the video games realm from the moment the film debuted on the silver screen in 1977. Some of these creators were so certain this science-fiction universe would transition to the interactive space that they didn't even get the rights for the Star Wars property, but still decided to release their games. In 1978, a year after Star Wars: A New Hope opened in theaters, the reputable Apple Computer released an unlicensed Star Wars game called Starwars on cassette tape for the Apple II. The game, which you can play in your web browser today, is an enjoyable little TIE Fighter shooting gallery.

The first officially licensed Star Wars "video game" arrived a year later in 1979. Dubbed Electric Battle Command, this Kenner developed game prominently displayed an X-Wing, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia on the game's standalone hardware, but the gameplay didn't have much to do with Star Wars at all, and pushed the player to avoid black holes and locate the "Force-giving star."

A true console Star Wars game didn't arrive until Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was released on Atari 2600 in 1982 (two years after the film graced theaters). Like most games of the era, Atari shunned the movie plot and focused specifically on one action element: the Battle of Hoth. The only gameplay offered allowed the player to pilot a snow speeder and take out an endless stream of AT-ATs by shooting their glowing exhaust ports.

As crude as it was, the success of this title made Star Wars a permanent fixture in video games, from popular RPGs like BioWare's Knights of the Old Republic to oddities like The Yoda Chronicles for mobile devices. In the decades that followed, there are dozens of Star Wars games every Star Wars fan should get around to playing, and dozens more that they should avoid like Jabba the Hutt's bathroom.

Most members of the Game Informer staff have played more Star Wars games than they can recall, and are avid fans of the films, expanded fiction, and collectibles. We spent a few days bickering over the best Star Wars games to date, and spent a few more arguing over the order they should be arranged in on our Top 30 list. Why 30? That's the cutoff between the playable and fun games and the prequel-like missteps.

We hope you enjoy this journey through video games' exploration of a galaxy far, far away. And for the sake of Star Wars fans everywhere, we hope The Force Awakens blows your socks off, and is so good and true to the original trilogy that it becomes the subject matter for another dozen Star Wars games for the years ahead.

As always, we welcome all discussions, arguments, and personal Star Wars video game lists in our comments section below. Enjoy the read, and may the Force be with you!


30. Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles

PlayStation, Dreamcast
 - 2000

Few Star Wars games are as demanding of skill as LucasArts’ Jedi Power Battles, a lightsaber-focused experience that demands twitch reflexes to deflect laser blasts and hack battle droids to bits. Set during the events of The Phantom Menace, Jedi Power Battles shows the Jedi in their prime, allowing the player to suit up as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, Adi Gallia, Plo Koon, and Qui-Gon Jinn. The Conehead-like Ki-Adi-Mundi is also available, but only in the Dreamcast version, which released a year after the PlayStation incarnation. Completing the game unlocks additional characters like Darth Maul (one of the best characters in the game), Queen Amidala, and her bodyguard Captain Panaka.

Jedi Power Battles is best played cooperatively with two Jedi darting and flipping across Trade Federation encampments. Performing well in combat earns players currency that can be used to purchase additional attacks and Force abilities. Outside of the blistering difficulty, the game’s biggest drawback is its platforming sequences. Given the set camera perspective, it’s difficult to determine jumping angles and heights. This aspect of the game is made even worse through the preferred co-op experience, as movement by the other character can make the terrain scroll and up the difficulty of a jump. Regardless of this puzzling gameplay design, Jedi Power Battles is of the best Star Wars games based on the prequel movies.

29. Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC, Mac – 2007

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga is not your typical collection. Along with all of the content included in Lego Star Wars: The Video Game and Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, Traveller’s Tales created a wealth of new material, redesigned levels that weren’t clicking, and went well out of its way to make this experience feel new again. The Complete Saga is a massive Lego game; consisting of 36 story-based missions, and 20 bounty hunter stages. Traveller’s Tales also went back and finished two levels that were cut from the original games.

With over 120 characters and an extra layer of visual polish for the new-gen machines of the time, The Complete Saga was a no-brainer for Star Wars fans, and an experience that raised the bar for all Lego games moving forward.

28. Star Wars: Battle Pod

Arcade – 2014

The days of the hole-in-the-wall arcade are long behind us, but larger establishments like Dave & Busters appear to be flourishing, and game developers are releasing a surprising number of new games in these venues. From a new Batman racing experience to a new Jurassic Park shooter, some of the biggest licenses in entertainment are making big splashes in arcades. One of the most surprising (and entertaining) new coin-op games is Star Wars: Battle Pod, a 2014 release from Bandai Namco.

Holding true to its name, Battle Pod is an egg-shaped unit that doubles as a cockpit for a variety of Star Wars vessels, including a X-Wing and speeder bike. Battle Pod recreates the famous battles from the classic trilogy of films, but in a way where the action never wavers from being absolutely insane. The vehicles are pulled along a predetermined path, but the gameplay still demands twitch reflexes to knock TIE Fighters out of the sky and trip up AT-ATs. The action is frantic, fun, but quick to the point that it feels like it ends just as quickly as it began. Battle Pod is as enjoyable of a rail-shooter as it is a Star Wars experience. If you’re near an arcade, poke your head in to see if they have Battle Pod. It’s well worth five minutes of your time.

27. Star Wars Battlefront (2015)

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC - 2015

Echoing Battle Pod’s flighty experience, DICE’s multiplayer-focused Battlefront reboot delivers Star Wars authenticity like no game before it, but its content well dries up quick, and subjects the player to the same routines on the same maps. But those moments when Battlefront shines, it can be fantastic, making the simple exchange of laser fire with a squadron of storm troopers exciting and look every bit as good as George Lucas’ films. Just standing beneath a lumbering AT-AT is awe-inspiring. Getting the chance to mow down rebel troopers as Darth Vader or the Emperor are equally as thrilling moments.

Although I only gave Battlefront a 7.5 out of 10, I admire DICE’s design and hope the year of content ahead adds the depth that is missing from the retail game. An excerpt from my review: “The Death Star hangs ominously over a war erupting on the forest moon of Endor. A cacophony of laser fire lights up the darkened tree canopy, drowned out by the clanking of an Imperial AT-ST on the march. The walker is clearing a path to a hidden Rebel base deep within the forest. If this stronghold falls, the war is over.

The Rebels are outgunned and seconds away from defeat when Luke Skywalker’s iconic green lightsaber ignites and he springs to action. Luke bats away Storm troopers like flies, chops down the AT-ST, and the Rebels suddenly have momentum again. The tide of war has shifted to their advantage.
Almost every conflict in Star Wars Battlefront unfolds with this level of intensity and drama – moments that often parallel the excitement from George Lucas’ original trilogy of Star Wars films. From the large scale of the battles to the spot-on animation of the AT-STs, DICE has created the most authentic Star Wars video game experience to date.

The thrill of piloting an X-Wing fighter or soaring through the air as Boba Fett doesn’t last forever, however. Once the magic of stepping into the movies wears off, Star Wars Battlefront doesn’t give the player much to fight for. For developer DICE, the seasoned studio behind the long-running Battlefield series, Star Wars Battlefront is surprisingly light on maps, weapons, and progression systems. The feeling of extreme repetition sinks in early, and outside of enjoying the minute-to-minute Star Wars warfare, hardly any of the unlockables deliver a compelling reason to invest more time. You’re just hopping from match to match, recycling the same tactics and seizing the same points.”

26. Star Wars: Rebel Assault
 II – The Hidden Empire
Sega CD, 3DO, PC – 1995

Star Wars: Rebel Assault II is by all intents and purposes a terrible game, but it’s also a hilarious one that uses live-action Star Wars footage to tell a story that is as jaw-droppingly bad as the Star Wars Holiday Special. To put it another way, it’s so bad it’s good. If you haven’t played this game yet, track it down, Star Wars fans. You need to see the story of Rookie One, a Tatooine farmer who isn’t Luke Skywalker, unfold in horrible ways with some of the worst acting to ever grace a video game.

25. Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter

PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC – 2002

The sleek Delta-7 Aethersprite-class light interceptor (more commonly known as the Jedi starfighter) is the centerpiece of this excellent space shooter from LucasArts. Serving as a side story to Attack of the Clones, Jedi Starfighter follows the exploits of Jedi Master Adi Gallia and a mercenary named Nym. Gallia flies the Jedi Starfighter while Nym provides bombing support in a Havoc.

Although not developed by Factor 5 – the team behind the Rogue Squadron series – the influence of those games is strongly felt in the dogfighting mechanics and mission designs. Force powers are also sewn into the mix in a unique but befuddling way. At any point, Gallia can use the Force to deploy shields, lightning, shockwaves, or enhanced reflexes. These elements make the gameplay more dynamic, but don’t hold true to the Star Wars lore from the motion pictures.

Another interesting twist are hidden mission objectives in each mission. Once discovered and completed, the player is rewarded with new spacecraft (including Maul’s Interceptor), as well as additional stages and bonuses. Jedi Starfighter is never talked about in the same breath as Rogue Squadron or X-Wing, but is surprisingly one of the classic Star Wars games Sony recently added to PlayStation 4. The game still holds up well today and is worth a look.