Becoming a Star Wars Gamer: Part 1-Shadows of The Empire

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I felt like writing several short pieces chronicling my experiences with Star Wars video game-This isn’t a review perse but a retrospective of what it meant to be a Star Wars fan growing up in an age where video games were gaining prominence and allowing me to live out my fantasy of fighting in a galaxy far far away.

Star Wars: Shadows of The Empire  was a crucial part of my development both as a gamer and as a Star Wars fan. A bit of history, growing up I remember seeing a lot of commercials for original trilogy. This was the period where Star Wars as a whole was getting it’s second wind, there were theatrical releases of the films and a sudden resurgence of popularity and relevance. Well being a kid who knew nothing about Luke Skywalker and his battles against the Empire, I blatantly disregarded Star Wars and even grew to dislike it. (The commercials always came on during my Saturday morning Cartoons!) I vividly remember visiting a local store, maybe a sears or something, with my mother and walking by a table full of Star Wars figures and ships that were on sale.

I remember my mother turning around and asking me if I wanted any of the toys that were on display. “Nah, I don’t like Star Wars” I now recall myself saying to my mother. Till this very day I still kick myself over my poor, uninformed decision making, I could have at this very moment been sitting on a veritable GOLD mine of Star Wars products!!

Anyway I digress, my dislike for Star Wars changed maybe a year or two later in middle school, it was the Friday before some long break and the teacher at the time decided to treat us by letting the class choose between two movies one being “Barney The Dinosaur” and “Star Wars: Them Empire Strikes Back”. With a pretty much resounding roar my classmates called out for Empire. I could pretty much say at that point the rest is history. From the Battle of Hoth to the Asteroid field chase-Star Wars had managed to hook me for life.

Let the games begin

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I must state that Super Empire Strikes Back was officially my first foray into the Star Wars video game universe-Super Empire Strikes back was part two in a trilogy of Super Nintendo platforming Games loosely based on the movies. Super Empire Strikes back was a hard as balls game and took me several years to finally complete-as much as it was a headache to play, I still look back on it fondly (Hell I still play it from time to time). After Super Empire Strikes Back came the coup de grace of my Star Wars gaming career, Shadows of The Empire. Now Shadows was a game that I would constantly beg my father to rent from the local video rental store. I was just so hooked on it! the part that snagged me (and a lot of gamers at the time) was fighting through the Battle of Hoth in full 3D! I mean how exhilarating was it to fire my Snow Speeder’s tow cable and tangle up an AT-AT’s legs? it was simply amazing!

After that the game takes you from planet to planet facing storm troopers and fighting familiar enemies from Empire Strikes Back (IG-88 and Boba Fett) the game finally culminates in the battle of Xizor’s Skyhook which was a full scale space battle that included an arbitrary “trench run” against a space station. Playing the game today is kind of rough, it looks shoddy and not too impressive but to me as a child, I might as well have been in the cockpit fighting for the rebellion! Shadows of The Empire is a game I still pop in every once in awhile to help quell my old feelings of nostalgia.

 

I’ve always wanted to play the much better PC version but that game is so hardware specific that it’s impossible to get it to run on current computers (so much for being a “master race”) So I often pull out my Nintendo 64 and pop in some Shadows of The Empire just for old times sake.

In Part 2 I’ll go on about my addiction to Rogue Squadron and Star Wars space sims!

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