This essay may contain stuff you consider middlin’ spoilers for various entries of the Star Wars Sextology and minor spoilers for Fiddler on the Roof. It also contains a full-throated recommendation for Knights of the Old Republic (also available for XBox). If you have any time/inclination to play games at all, and if you have any ragged shreds of love for the Star Wars Universe left, you will be delighted by this game.
I saw Star Wars in the theater when I was a little kid. I was entranced. A few years later, I started elementary school and, on the playground, everybody at my school was able to discuss the mythology of Star Wars like we were Talmudic Scholars (well, the boys anyway).
The statement “I heard that Han Solo was a Stormtrooper before he was a smuggler” was the equivalent of Tevye saying “it was 12 years old” in the marketplace.
The first kid who explained that Darth Vader got all that stuff because he was dropped into a volcano by Obi Wan Kenobi because his brother told him and his brother read allllll the books was pumped for all kinds of information. Of course, he didn’t know the answers to anything but the whole “dropped into a volcano” thing and you can tell the difference between legit info and made up on the fly info, even in third grade.
Empire Strikes Back came out and, whoa doggies, we learned *THE TRUTH*. This started no end of squabbling all over again. What did the tree *REALLY* mean? Why was Luke’s head in Darth Vader’s helmet? (You wouldn’t believe the theories we came up with for this one.)
Revenge of the Jedi was going to come out and explain how everything was going to wrap up! It was going to be awesome!!! And then… we heard that it was going to be called “Return of the Jedi” which was, let’s face it, less cool. Half of the kids refused to call it by its new name. (I was one of them.) When it finally came out, we had the resolution we all dreamed of. The Ewoks danced and they danced for us. Yub yub. It was only later that we realized we weren’t supposed to like the movie as much as we did.
Someone told us his older brother heard that there weren’t going to be any more Star Wars movies until the late 90’s. This was unthinkable. That was, like, never. What if there was a nuclear war? This is an outrage!!! And then, well, time passed. We read Dragonlance. We watched The Next Generation. We watched Clerks and then all this stuff came bubbling back up and we discovered that most of our College friends were also Rabbis. “Hey, we’re a lot closer to the new Star Wars movies!”, we laughed.
Well, The Phantom Menace came out. Maribou and I watched it opening weekend in a packed theater.
Maribou and I walked back to the car in silence.
On the drive home, she asked me “what did you think?”
“It was good!”, I said with all the enthusiasm I could muster. In the days that followed, there were a number of arguments online over how Japanese, Black, or Jewish this character was or wasn’t. Whether the race scene was reminiscent of Ben Hur or not.
Whether it was worth the wait or not.
You probably remember how good Phantom Menace probably ought to have been.
Well, if you are open to somewhat older games, I’ve got some good news for you:
The original Knights of the Old Republic feels as good as Star Wars felt in 1985. No spoilers here (well, in this post, anyway… one’s coming up that will discuss RPGs in general and Bioware specifically), no breakdowns of what happens in the game. It’s available for the computer (if your computer would be good for 2001, it’ll run it) and for the original Xbox. If you felt regret after seeing Phantom Menace know this: this game will make everything okay again.