Think to your earliest memory. Is it a toy or stuffed animal your parents couldn't separate you from? Perhaps it was your very first video game or a family vacation. For most of us these early memories are tied to something we held dear in our youth, something that set that time apart from all others.

My very first memory took place at a friend's birthday party sometime before the age of five, before my family moved to California. While we were playing games and eating cake, a movie was playing in the background, a movie I could not tear my eyes from. It was, of course, my first time watching a Star Wars movie (Return of the Jedi to be more specific). From that moment on and until this day, thirty some-odd years later, the joy I felt still rushes back every time John Williams' rousing orchestral theme begins.

There have been moments, hours really, where I had to step back and shake my head (the prequel movies) but in the end my love for the universe of Jedi and Sith continues to grow each day. With this in mind and with my return to blogging here on GIO coinciding with what I will lovingly call the year of Star Wars, it seems only fitting my return be an ongoing series of blogs all things Star Wars. The biggest problem was deciding where to start. Today I will start easy with my top ten favorite Star Wars video games. For this list I am including console, PC, and arcade titles that have been released so far.

10) Super Star Wars - Super Nintendo


The Super Star Wars series from the 90's is the Dark Souls of my youth: Incredibly challenging yet not to the point of rage-inducing. This side scrolling adventure series from developer Sculptured Software put my SNES to work overtime. Keep in mind before you decide to play this title that it is from the era of games where hand holding the player was discouraged. Tutorials are non-existent and levels will not be easy, even at the start. But, regardless of difficulty, they are worth it.

9) Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga - Multiple Platforms


I wrote a blog a couple of years back declaring my love for Lego games and that love all started with the Lego Star Wars series. The games have some very enjoyable mechanics and the short cut scenes throw in a good and well deserved bit of humor. To top it off, they are games I can play while my children are in the room, it is a win-win.

8) Rebel Assault - Multiple Platforms


One part flight simulator, one part cover based shooter, all on rails, the Rebel Assault series puts you in the shoes of a Rebel pilot slogging your way through the war with the Empire. While the games look a bit rough these days and somewhat bland, these games were an awesome amount of fun when I was a kid playing them for the first time. Playing them again just the other day was a lot of fun, I forgot how much I enjoyed the stories they told and the introduction of the TIE phantom to the Star Wars universe.

7) Empire at War - PC


Empire at War is a unique RTS within another RTS. It features ground and space based combat with an overall big picture war taking place across the galaxy, allowing the player to fight for freedom as the Rebellion or fighting for oppressive order as the Empire. Those schooled in Star Wars games will know this title is partly an update to the relatively obscure Rebellion Star Wars RTS game but with well more than enough additions and changes to call it its own game.

6) X-Wing/TIE Fighter - PC


For purposes of this blog I am including in this number six slot X-Wing (and its expansions), TIE Fighter, and X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter. Not only is this the best flight simulator in the Star Wars universe, it is one of my favorite set of flight simulators of all time. Each mission is unique and challenging, forcing the player to rely on skill and guts. To top it off, X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter is the very first multiplayer LAN game I ever played d, in fact it was designed with multiple players in mind. If you missed these games, I strongly recommend you track them down on GOG.com and get your hands on them for cheap while remaining perfectly legal.

5) The Old Republic - PC


I am a story nut when it comes to games. I put a heavy premium on single player games that have a compelling story. Because of this it is very rare to see me ever touch an MMO, but the exception to this is The Old Republic. It has eight unique story lines of which I have finished four and all have been amazing. Game play includes plenty of team up and player versus player opportunities and some great companion characters with their own interesting back stories. I have played since day one and continue to log in on my characters to this day.

4) Jedi Knight/Dark Forces - Multiple Platforms

The Dark Forces/Jedi knight series was the first Star Wars foray into first person and third person shooters. The first title in the series followed a popular expanded universe character, Kyle Katarn, as he works missions for the Rebellion as he uncovers a nefarious plot to make nearly unstoppable storm troopers. The series starts with just guns and explosives but over time went on to include lightsaber and force powers. Join those with highly addicting you multiplayer and you get a lot of hours I should have spent studying but didn't.

3) Yoda Stories - PC


Yoga Stories is a title many might not be familiar with. It wasn't a mainstream title with a massive budget or even a defined story. It was a series of time wasting missions that were procedurally generated (yep, younglings, this isn't a new mechanic as this game is from 1997). You played as Luke Skywalker going on quests assigned by Yoda as you worked your way through Jedi training. I don't care that this game isn't story driven and it doesn't have amazing graphics, it gets number three on my list simply for its charm and crack-like addictive properties.

2) Battlefront - Multiple Platforms


It has been a while since the last Battlefront game was released (I was still in college at the time) so I will not deny my excitement at the release of the trailer for the third installment. However, I do have to temper my excitement a bit and remind myself that a trailer designed with the game engine is not the same as seeing a trailer with actual game play. I am also bummed by the apparent lack of an actual campaign...and weary of the bull that Dice/EA have put out recently. But still, it is Battlefront which has a history of exceedingly fun third person, and sometimes first person, shooters. I loved running around as a scout trooper and the chance to play as Vader when I was on a killing streak. Historically speaking, these are amazing games and I have hope for the future...one might say "a new hope".

1) Knights of the Old Republic - Multiple Platforms


Not only is KotOR my favorite Star Wars game of all time, it would be on my short list of best video games I have ever played. The simple fact that it gives us a look at the Star Wars universe thousands of years before the movies is enough to draw me in. Add on top of that what is probably the greatest story twist in video games to date built into an amazing, sweeping narrative and memorable characters and you have a recipe for an epic tale all its own that does not rely on the brilliance of the original trilogy to hold it up. It is a must play.

So, my fellow Star Wars fans, both the veteran nerds and the rookie padawans, what are your favorite Star Wars games? What would you like to see developers make into a game when it comes to Star Wars?

My one honorable mention: Republic Commandos. I left it off because I never really finished, it is a sad but true admission. But there are so many good Star Wars games, it can be darn hard to pick.

I hope you enjoyed reading and will continue to read and even read what I wrote in the past. This blog is but a new beginning. I am back...and I am writing.