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DTL Presents

Star Wars and the Power of Imagination

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So I recently played through some Star Wars games on the Atari 2600 in my YouTube series RETRO BUFFET.

 

Now the games were released in 1983, 3 years before my birth and I had a thought - it is quite challenging, with the mindset of modern gaming expectations, to imagine what these titles would have been like for the average gamer back in 1983. Was it an awe inspiring experience? Did it blow people away at the time? Or was it more of a representative experience that would be augmented with the imagination of the player? Im keen to hear from those of you who played these titles at launch, at the time, and how you found the experience?

 

 

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Flight of the Falcon on GameBoy Advance was a colossal disappointment. Such potential, totally wasted.

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The gameplay on the Arcade game you started with looks weird.... like you were using a mouse in emulation or a trac ball or something bizarre.

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Playing ESB as a kid was revolutionary. You got to be part of the Battle of Hoth, even if you didn't use tow cables. It was so cool just to see AT-AT's on the screen! That was awesome.

 

Playing Jedi Arena was an equally huge let down. The lightsabers were just big rectangles and what I was hoping would be a lightsaber duel turned out to be a goofy remote battle instead. I wasn't big on paddle games either, so that didn't help.

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StanJr, totally feel you on Jedi battles - I was going to include it in this video but...as I dont have any friends it was a paddle battle with myself!!! These games were at their best when they gave you the experience of rapid flight and racing between approaching forces. When that clicks, they are awesome!

Edited by DTL Presents

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Well, I did not play these or any other Atari games when they were new, because I did not even exist until 1985. :P But as a retro game enthusiast of over 20 years, I'll say this:

 

I think Empire is the best of the Star Wars games for the Atari, and easily one of the better titles for the system overall. It has very crisp control, pleasant graphics and music, some innovative gameplay elements, a few game variations to mix things up a little, and most closely represents the action of its namesake film (aside from Arcade). I'd still rather play Defender , but Empire is a great game to burn a rainy evening with. (Just stay away from the Intellivision version, unless you're a glutton for pain.)

 

Arcade is *thisclose* to being a really good game but the controls bring it down several notches for me. You really have to train yourself with this one. Pilot orientation does not work with cursors and is very counterintuitive, IMO. I get what Parker Bros. was going for, but that reversed Y-axis does not translate from the turret-style arcade system to a joystick very well at all. (I don't like the fussy nature of the hit detection in the opening TIE fighter dogfight screen, either--it's very difficult to mow them down like it feels like the game wants you to.) If you can get used to the controls, this is a quality game that "puts you in the movie" more than any of the other three Star Wars titles.

 

I don't think Jedi Arena is as bad as it is just kind of weird. I can see why kids who played this back in the '80s wouldn't have liked it that much, but I don't have a problem with it. It's sort of a stylized, Star Wars-inflected spin on Warlords. The result is mixed, but has a lot of potential as a 2-player game.

 

Death Star Battle is in the same boat for me. Not a bad game, but somewhat underwhelming--especially when you think of the epic space battle at the end of Jedi--and with a few creative liberties clearly on display. It's essentially a Yars' Revenge-wannabe, but certainly worth a play every now and again.

Edited by BassGuitari

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They were all disappointing to me bitd. TESB was the best, but I thought it was too monotonous so did t spend my hard saved cash on it. Now, the arcade coin op version of Star Wars Arcade was VERY mindblowing.

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SOME GAME!!

 

They were all disappointing to me bitd. TESB was the best, but I thought it was too monotonous so did t spend my hard saved cash on it. Now, the arcade coin op version of Star Wars Arcade was VERY mindblowing.

The guy at the start of that ad said "It's great in the arcade," so what do you think his reaction was to the arcade game the first time around? XD

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