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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 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
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.
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 alas...it 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
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
* 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.
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)