Star Wars is such a huge IP with dozens of games released since the ol’ days of the original trilogy, that it was a real challenge to actually create a list of only eight great games to pick as the most influential in gaming. That said, here’s our list of the most influential titles to come from Star Wars and really introduce those who have never seen a movie or played a game about Star Wars into the franchise.
Of course, we’re sure that you may disagree with one or two from a list or feel a game should have made it. If that’s the case, comment on the forum and let us know! We’d love to hear from you!
Star Wars Galaxies
Before Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) there was a Star Wars MMO that was widely popular and beloved by fans of the Star Wars series. While SWTOR took place in between the trilogies, Galaxies was all about the original three movies which is most likely what created such a cult following for this MMO. Galaxies was one of the first MMOs to include player housing and even the creation of city like areas that were completely managed by other players, an option that’s a rarity among later MMOs.
The Star Wars element aside, Galaxies was a fun game to play with others and absolutely meant to be played with others. It wasn’t some single player game with MMO elements to it.
Okay, we’re going way back in time for this one, but if you talk to any older Star Wars fan, this will almost always be one of the games they list as their favorite/most influential. Star Wars: Dark Forces was a First-Person Shooter released for DOS (Disk Operating System for you younglings) and follows a mercenary named Kyle Katarn working for the Rebel Alliance. Playing as the mercenary, you shoot your way through an army of stormtroopers and other enemies while uncovering a secret imperial project meant to create the ultimate soldier called a “Dark Trooper”. The best way to describe the combat style of Dark Forces would be Quake for Star Wars fans. Given we know how great of a game Quake was, that should properly describe exactly why this game is still loved by older fans.
Jedi Knight Series
If this didn’t make the list, there would be an uprising on a certain website I used to administrate. List one Jedi Knight title, a person cannot. All must make the list. It’s difficult to know where to begin and end with the amount this series brought to gaming. They all had a great story-line, the graphics were beautiful, the gameplay was awesome and you were a Jedi. What’s not to love? It was released during a period of rising popularity with FPS/Adventure titles that helped elevate it even more. Fans of Star Wars love a good story, and playing as a Jedi Knight while following the adventure just appealed to everyone that purchased this series.
From the ancient days of my teenage years comes one of the earliest space flight simulators – Tie-Fighter or its sequel, X-Wing. Of course, when you want to make a space simulator with space combat you’re going to choose Star Wars as the theme for it. Sure, there’s Star Trek, but we’re talking about fighter combat and that’s more about capital ships duking it out on a larger scale. Tie-Fighter and X-Wing are all about flying around in any direction in search and destroy missions to take out your enemy. What’s not to love?
Star Wars Battlefront was one of the first Star Wars games that was more about the battle and less about the story. It followed the formula that you now see in the Battlefield franchise. After all, Battlefront was/is essentially a clone of Battlefield with a Star Wars skin. Story or not, it’s still a fun game to play, and due to the fanatiscm of this titles fanbase, a new version was finally made in November of last year.
Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR)
If you’re a fan of Role Playing Games and Star Wars, then you have no doubt at least heard of Knights of the Old Republic. If you’ve never played it, go buy it. It’s worth every discounted penny. Bioware made KOTOR back in its hayday of Dungeons and Dragons style RPGs such as Neverwinter Nights. Bioware has always been great at storytelling and they put a lot of Star Wars love into this title. It was the first RPG for many folks out there and considered to be the first real RPG title for Star Wars as, until Disney took over, followed canon.
Empire at War Series
RTS fans, even some non-Star Wars fans will remember Star Wars: Empire at War. The game was just a packed CDROM of fun. In a time when RTS games were simply a ground map and base building, Empire at War allowed you to go beyond the norm and actually have both ground and space combat. After all, Star Wars is far more fun in space right? Who didn’t want to command a Star Destroyer and obliterate some Rebel Scum? Empire at War still had its ground combat, which allowed you to have your own Jedi army (if you wanted) or Sith army if you succumbed to their delicious cookies.
LEGO Star Wars
I know what you’re thinking, why is LEGO Star Wars on a list of classic games that essentially made Star Wars great for nearly ever major genre? Simple – LEGO bricks! Every kid loves LEGO bricks right? Why not combine them with Star Wars and introduce an entirely new generation of kids into the series? I can attest from first hand experience with my kids, LEGO Star Wars had a profound impact on how much interest a child had for the series. It wasn’t until after they played this game that they thought anything about Star Wars, even after mentioning that it had space battles and light sabers. Once they played it in a child friendly setting, they wanted more.
Aside from the fact that it’s just a damned fun game to play (sometimes frustrating!), especially if you have kids, the amount that it helped bring interest to a new series merits it being here.