Another Sunday means another episode of 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, the (hopefully) weekly series where I play through all of the games listed in the book - 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die. If I played the game before, then I will share my memory of the experience. If I haven't played the game before, then I find an online version or an emulator and I play the game (for at least 30 minutes). This is a book every gamer should have in their library, and if you're interested in purchasing it, you can find it here.

Last week was Archon, a game somewhat similar to Chess and a game I was intimately familiar with. I was relieved to see it included on the list. It was a game I had a lot of fond memories of from my childhood having played it with my brother. It might even be one of my favorites out of the past 49 games I've played while doing this feature. Enough about Archon though, what's in store for us this week?

This week's featured game is...

Star Wars

Star Wars is an arcade game produced by Atari Inc. and released in 1983. The game is a first person space simulator, simulating the attack on the Death Star from the final act of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The game is composed of 3D color vector graphics. This game was developed during the Golden Age of Arcade Games and is considered the #4 most popular game of all time according to Killer List of Video Games.

The player assumes the role of Luke Skywalker ("Red Five"), as he pilots an X-wing fighter from a first-person perspective. Unlike other arcade games of similar nature, the player does not have to destroy every enemy in order to advance through the game; he must simply survive as his fighter flies through the level, which most often means he must avoid or destroy the shots that enemies fire. Each hit on his craft takes away one shield (of the six he started out with), and if he runs out of shields and takes another hit, the game ends.

The player's ultimate goal is to destroy the Death Star through three attack phases.

(Source: Wikipedia)

There have been a lot of Star Wars games, and I do mean a lot. And I've played a lot of them. And I do mean a lot. For the most part, I've enjoyed them all. But then again, I am a diehard Star Wars. Like, a card carrying, go to the mid-night release of all of the Star Wars movies, have an entire shelf devoted to Star Wars items at work...diehard fan.

Have I played Star Wars, the arcade game from 1983?

I most certainly have. And I know this because I can remember not only playing the game, but I can remember "pretending" to play the game. Let me explain what I mean. This arcade cabinet (I only played the stand-up version, not the sit-down version) had a very cool control mechanism. It was like a flight yoke with trigger buttons, and it made me feel like I was actually flying an X-Wing. Long after my shields were depleted and my life was over...and after I had emptied my pocket of quarters and my mom wouldn't give me any more, I'd sit there an "pretend" to be play this game. At least until someone came along and brushed me aside so they could play it.

The gameplay is not all that special. Extremely rudimentary by today's standards. You shoot TIE Fighters, you do the trench run, you blow up the Death Star. The game is pretty much just wireframes, but is Star Wars. I have no doubt there will be a handful of other Star Wars games included in this book, but it is nice to see perhaps the first one I ever played in the book.

So, some interesting facts and records...

* In 1984 Robert Mruczek scored 300 million points in 49 hours of gameplay (the world record for an individual) and in 2005, Brandon Erickson set a world endurance record of 54 hours on a single credit (with a score of 283 million). In June 1985 Flavio Tozzi, Dave Roberts and Mike Ohren played as a team in turns for five days, two hours and 26 minutes on a single credit to attain the world record score of 1,000,000,012 points. It was featured on Yorkshire Television and was verified in the September 1985 edition of the UK Computer and Video Games magazine. Their efforts raised money for a local charity. The score counter of this game "turns over" at 100 million points.

* After the TIE fighter waves, when flying towards the Death Star, the yellow grid lines on the Death Star spell out either "MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU" on odd-numbered waves or names of some of the developers on even numbered waves.

* Compute! praised the Atari ST version of Star Wars, calling it "amazing, smoothly animated". The DOS, Amiga, Atari ST, and Commodore 64 versions by Broderbund Software were reviewed in 1989 in Dragon #145 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 3 out of 5 stars.

Wow. I used to read Dragon magazine. It was awesome. Totally forgot about it. And I have also played the Commodore 64 version of this game too but the arcade version is where its at.

Since I played the game I guess I can mark it off my list. I don't know if Star Wars deserves a spot in this book or not, but I'm sure not going to complain that it made the cut. I do have some great memories of playing the game (and pretending to play the game).

I'm not sure what game is up next week, so be sure to check back and see if it is something you've played or not. Until then, enjoy the rest of your weekend and have a great week.


Previous Episodes:

Episode 1: 01 - 05 (here)

Episode 2: 06 - 10 (here)

Episode 3: 11 - 15 (here)

Episode 4: 16 - 20 (here)

Episode 5: 21 - 25 (here)

Episode 6: 26 - 30 (here)

Episode 7: 31 - 35 (here)

Episode 8: 36 - 40 (here)

Episode 41 (here)

Episode 42 (here)

Episode 43 (here)

Episode 44 (here)

Episode 45 (here)

Episode 46 (here)

Episode 47 (here)

Episode 48 (here)

Episode 49 (here)