Between ‘Star Wars’ Trilogies, a Golden Age of Video Games

Though it sometimes feels as if there is a new “Star Wars” installment every couple of months, there was a time when all that fans of George Lucas’s sci-fi universe had were three movies and a lot of imagination.

The 16-year gap between the end of that trilogy, 1983’s “Return of the Jedi,” and the start of the divisive prequels, 1999’s “The Phantom Menace,” was a vast creative void — one that video games helped fill.

Developers at LucasArts, the subsidiary of Lucasfilm known for its adventure titles Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, saw themselves as the standard-bearers of the “Star Wars” franchise for many years, said Jon Knoles, a longtime LucasArts designer. Unlike most games based on movies, its “Star Wars” games were not bogged down by market pressure or rushed to match a film’s release.

“We had all kinds of creative freedom,” said Knoles, who worked on more than a dozen “Star Wars” games in the 1990s and early 2000s, first as a background artist, then as a lead animator and finally as a writer and director.

The ability to take risks resulted in far more interesting games than other film adaptations, including Star Wars: Dark Forces, a first-person shooter released in 1995. On Wednesday, Nightdive Studios is releasing a remaster of Dark Forces that features enhanced lighting and textures but retains the look and feel of the original game. It is a testament to those LucasArts classics that are still beloved all these years later.

Super Nintendo

Super Star Wars (1992)

Inspired by the run-and-gun arcade game Contra, Super Star Wars helped fill in the blanks of the story from “A New Hope.”Credit…Lucasfilm Games

Related Articles

Back to top button