Top 10 Star Wars Games You Probably Never Played #MayThe4thBeWithYou

Star Wars has been a staple of gaming for decades.  We all know and love the popular titles like Knights of the Old Republic and Battlefront, and love to hate ones like SWTOR, but there are many Star Wars games you’ve probably never tried — many you’ve never even heard of! Allow me to share a few of my favorite lesser-known Star Wars Games.

Rebel Assault 2

Rebel Assault I (1993) & II (1995)

I combined these two games into one because most of you probably never played or even heard of either of them. I remember playing Rebel Assault I & II. At least I remember trying to play them. Buying a game for the PC was hit or miss when it came to getting things to work with DOS. Once they were finally up and running, these games boasted live-action cutscenes flying ship levels, ground combat, and cover mechanics all woven into a fascinatingly cheesy storyline.  I think the only thing I remember is hating half the levels and some prototype TIE fighter.

TIE Fighter Game

TIE Fighter (1994)

“You are now the hand of the Emperor!” Oh yeah, that’s right. Nothing like managing shields, speed, powers, etc., all from the cockpit of a TIE fighter. This made the simulation genre come alive for me.

Dark Forces Game

Dark Forces (1995)

Way more than a Doom clone, Dark Forces put the player in the role of Kyle Katarn for the first time. While tasked with stealing the plans of the Death Star, Katarn learns about this super secret Storm Trooper being built: The Dark Trooper. The story and levels were awesome. Dark Forces easily spawned the Star Wars shooters genre.

Yoda Stories

Yoda Stories (1996)

Yoda Stories is often hated on as one of the worst Star Wars games ever, but I think it’s simply misunderstood and before its time. Yoda Stories was a quasi-RPG map-solving game all about going on little mundane quests and exploring procedurally generated top-down tile maps. Graev absolutely loved it.

Dark Forces 2

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II (1997)

Katarn is back in the continuation of what will become one of the most important stories to Star Wars video games. Katarn sets off on a journey (taking place right after Episode VI) to find the Dark Jedi who not only killed his father but also intends on rebuilding the Empire. Katarn discovers the force is strong with him and based on the player’s actions can become a Jedi or the next Emperor. Epic!

Rogue Squadron N64

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (1998)

A departure from the simulation style play of its predecessors, Rogue Squadron features amazing arcade-like flying and action. I remember flying in the X-Wing, A-Wing, V-Wing, Y-Wing and Snowspeeder. Roping walkers was a pita. Rogue Squadron on the N64 was the first game to ever use the Expansion Pak, which upped the resolution. I remember buying that thing just for this game!

Battle for Naboo N64

 

Star Wars Episode I: Battle for Naboo (2000)

Made by the same team as Rogue Squadron, Factor 5 continued their arcade-action-flight series with Battle for Naboo. Featuring lots of cool vehicles from the era , Battle for Naboo was the first chance we had to experience vehicles and things like this from the prequels.

Rogue Squadron 2 Rogue Leader

Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (2001)

Oh yeah, they made a second Rogue Squadron (and a third but I never played it), and it was pretty awesome. Rogue Squadron 2 was probably my favorite game on the Gamecube. Although the story was a little lacking compared to the original, it was simply awesome to fly all of the different ships.

Jedi Knight 2

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (2002)

Jedi Knight 2 is one of the best Star Wars games ever made. Continuing Katarn’s story is one thing, but where this game shined was in its multiplayer. From mods to roleplay servers, Jedi Knight II was yet another game before its time. JK2 featured different lightsaber dueling styles and force powers! I remember Graev and I played on a server all about recreating the Jedi Academy. He was an instructor and trained in light saber dueling styles. Graev and I even competed in a tournament competition hosted by Gateway computers. Good times.

Empire at War

Empire at War (2006)

If there was ever a franchise that would lend itself to a rich RTS, it’s Star Wars. Large epic battles in space, on land, and utilizing all of the Star Wars vehicles, characters — all in RTS format — makes Empire at War an easy addition to the list. Empire at War was much, much better than Galactic Battlegrounds which was the Star Wars RTS from 2001 and impossible to run on my computer.

Wow, that was an adventure down memory lane. Did I miss one of your favorite lesser-known Star Wars games?

May’s Releases and Keen’s Backlog

I have high hopes for May being a great month of gaming. I have a rich backlog of games to go through, and several games are/might come out this month.

This Month’s Hyped Releases

EverQuest Ragefire Server

EverQuest Progression Server: Ragefire

Looks like the new EQ progression server coming soon® will be named Ragefire. The poll is still up but apparently Ragefire has such a lead that it’ll win no matter what. While I think Zordalicus Ragefire is an awesome dragon, I can’t help but think of Ragefire Chasm from WoW. Oh well! It’s still a cool name. I’m hoping this means that they are on track to give us a beta for Ragire Progression sometime near the end of this month. Chances might be good since Ragefire is already on the server list when you sub to EQ and log in.

My friends and I in the K&G Community will be playing. I’m going Bard for sure. Yep, my body is ready (for carpal tunnel).

Splatoon

Splatoon

Nintendo’s first real foray into multiplayer online shooters in the Wii U comes out May 29! I’m really looking forward to playing this one with Graev. We’ll team up and ink people to pieces. I’m hoping for some depth to the customization and advancing, but in the end if it’s just a great game with fun shooting mechanics I can still totally get behind that. I’ve been looking for this kind of game on a console.

My Backlog

AC-Unity

Assassin’s Creed Unity

The biggest game in my backlog is AC: Unity. Assassin’s Creed games are amazing. Black Flag was my game of the year in 2013, and AC Unity is the next in the series and I have to get through it before the next AC game comes out. I got this for Christmas and have just now have the time to really start playing. Already I’ve noticed that much of the emphasis on the ‘out of game’ experience is removed. The part where the ‘main character’ in ‘real life’ gets out of the animus (where the real story is being told) doesn’t happen. I’m on the side of people who love the convoluted AC story, but I get why Unity focuses much more on the ‘in-game’ gameplay where you control Arno.

Ridiculously cheap on Amazon right now: $19.99 on PS4 and Xbox One.

The rest of my backlog consists of…

  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
  • Dragon Age Inquisition
  • Shadows or Mordor
  • Lego City Undercover

Yep, lots of somewhat older games but ones I definitely want to try and get through before the summer. What’s in your backlog? What are you looking forward to playing in May?

 

Yooka-Laylee: Spiritual Successor to Banjo-Kazooie

Yes, yes, yes, yes, YESSSSS!

Spiritual Successor to Banjo-Kazooie? Awesome, but back to the roots of what made N64 platformers amazing? Heck yeah!

Just a quick look at the video above, and before I even knew who was on the project I was thinking to myself that this visually looks like Banjo-Kazooie meets Viva Pinata with a bit of Donkey Kong. Sure enough, it’s a lot of the same people!

God bless people who look around and say to themselves, “Hey, this idea worked. This worked really well. People loved this. We’re good at making that kind of game. There’s a need for this n the market.  Let’s try to recreate the kind of game people loved.” See what happens when you just focus on making something people love, identifying a need in a market, and moving toward fulfilling that need? You don’t have to worry about chasing money. It will come to you — in under 40 minutes!

Yooka-Laylee was funded in Kickstarter in ~40 minutes. Playtonic Games only wanted £175,000 and at the time of writing this post they are 450% funded with £790,000 and rising. If Google is correct, that’s roughly $1.2 Million.

While I’m not backing because I can’t tie up money I don’t have right now in a Kickstarter, I am going to buy Yooka-Laylee for the Wii U when it launches.

An MMO Without a Focus on Loot

I was having one of my regular MMO discussions with a friend yesterday when we brought up a subject that started to make a lot of sense. MMOs didn’t used to be about the loot; sort of, but not really. The following are just thoughts we came up with while having this discussion.

We started thinking about a few examples of the older games we played extensively, and tried to identify in as few words as possible why it is we played — what was our drive or our reason for logging in each day.

Ultima Online – We were essentially living life. We made houses, started careers, accumulated wealth, and everything centered around making the act of living life easier.

Asherons Call – The world was constantly changing and we wanted to see it evolve; all about seeing what happens next.

EverQuest – Building relationships and creating dependencies on others was what kept us logging in. EQ (before Velious) wasn’t about raiding or looting as much as it was seeing how far we could advance and what challenges we could overcome.

Dark Age of Camelot – We lived in the world to defend our realm.

Loot can’t be the focus in a MMORPG that is going to recapture our attention. An MMO can and should have loot; we decided to nix the idea that maybe an MMO didn’t need loot at all, but can’t be the center where all roads lead.

When loot isn’t the focus, the other aspects of the game suddenly because exponentially more important and visible. There’s a reason players don’t participate in things like exploration, socializing, housing, or care about things like “realm pride” anymore. Those things do not actively drop epics, nor should they because that doesn’t make sense.

An MMO without a focus on loot is set free to be so much more. Design becomes a slave to gear when too much focus is placed upon it.

Smedley: Daybreak is Focusing on Shorter Session Times

Daybreak Games Company Logo

In a recent interview discussing mostly ‘company vision’ stuff, John Smedley made the following statement: “I firmly believe the days of the WoW-style MMO are over.” He went on to discuss how he believes the days of long arduous raids in World of Warcraft are over, and people now prefer shorter play sessions. That statement caused a bit of an uproar, and gave Smed cause to post the following on the EQ2 subreddit. I’m going to paste bits of it below.

I’ve read some of the threads about my comments in that interview. I wanted to clarify what I was talking about. I was asked in the interview about what things we’re doing differently for our new games going forward and that’s when I said we’re focused on shorter session times because not many people have the time anymore to spend on a 4 hour raid. [… insert minor back-pedaling and we will still support EQ/EQ2/EQNext raiding] […]

However, when we’re choosing what new games to make we’re focused on games with shorter average session lengths. Why? Because that’s the way the gaming world has evolved and we need to adapt. That’s precisely why we aimed so high on Everquest Next. We know we needed to change our aim on these games. We can’t just expect our users to want to grind through an epic 8 hour raid encounter or treat these games like it’s a second job. We need to make sure our games are just as fun in smaller time increments. […]

Well John… AMEN.

I completely agree that play sessions should be capable of being shorter, and MMOs should be designed in such a way that we do not have to wait for the fun to begin. HOWEVER, there is a caveat: Those shorter sessions must still have the same depth, investment, and experience of the longer play sessions. That’s a challenge for MMOs, and that would be a huge step forward in their design. Single-player and console games do this quite well. Why? Because you can just hit save and pick up right where you left off — often right in the middle of something epic.

My average play time now on a week day is roughly in the 1.5-2hr range. That’s much shorter than my 5-8 hour range, which was shorter than my 10-15 hour range. My time to play games has shrunk, but my desire to enjoy them the same way hasn’t. I don’t want to go on an 8 hour raid or even a 4 hour raid, but I want the same kinds of experiences of killing big monsters and getting loot. Etc.

If Daybreak wants to be the company to try and let me have my cake and eat it too, then I’ll happily cheer them on.