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'Star Wars' Has a Presence in Gaming


I’m excited about the new Star Wars movie coming out tonight. And, although Star Wars is primarily a movie series, there have been dozens of games set in the Star Wars universe.


The first Star Wars game ever was released in arcades. Called simply Star Wars, players piloted an X-Wing in a bombing run to destroy the Death Star, just like at the end of the first movie. Along the way you destroyed TIE fighters and dodge laser beams. Once the Death Star was blown up...you started all over again, with a much higher difficulty level. The physical cabinet for the game was a big cockpit with a special flight controller. Although it was a pretty simple game, it was the state of the art in 1983.


My favorite Star Wars games are those in the X-Wing series. These games are a space combat simulator - you get full 3D control of your fighter, including power and shield settings. The games take place during several important battles that you see in the Star Wars movies, and the second game in the series, TIE Fighter, is the first one ever in which you could play as a soldier of the evil Galactic Empire.


The newest Star Wars game is Star Wars Battlefront by EA Games. Battlefront puts you in the shoes of a Rebel soldier or an Imperial Stormtrooper in vast battlefields set in the Star Wars universe. Players can fight on foot, or pilot fighters or tanks - and when you play online, the game supports up to 40 players in a match.


It’s not just video games, either. X-Wing Miniatures is a game where players take small-scale Star Wars ships and form a squadron, with which they play against one or more other players with their own squadrons. Each ship has their own range and firepower, and different ships may be more effective in different situations. You can learn the rules in less than half an hour, and games are equally fast.