Only 90s kids will remember (their training).
Here at KontrolFreek HQ we love Star Wars, and we’re bubbling with anticipation for Solo: A Star Wars Story. We’re experts at managing our excitement though. So we’re channeling all of our hype-related energy into the nostalgia hyperdrive. Anyone remember this gem?
Gotcha! Its fake… It’s time to look back at some of the best real Star Wars games from when we were kids. This is KontrolFreek’s official list of 10 Star Wars Games That Defined Our Childhoods.
Star Wars: Dark Forces (1995)
Dark Forces, the first Star Wars FPS, made its way to MS-DOS systems everywhere. It might be hard to imagine what playing a Star Wars FPS for the first time might feel like, but those of us who are there recall Kyle Katarn’s journey to steal the death star plans with great fondness. Even if you had to download QEMM just to get the game to run.
Star Wars Millennium Falcon CD-ROM Keyboard Playset (1998)
Behold the wonderful world of kids’ computer games in the 90s. Before Kinect, VR, AR, 3D TVs, and Dolby 5.1 surround sound there was the Millennium Falcon CD-Rom Playset; the pinnacle of immersion for kids.
This contraption clipped onto your keyboard (most likely a Gateway) and came packaged with a companion CD ROM game. The disk games gave players the ability to “control” the Falcon in a variety of different scenarios.
For a lot of us, it was the closest we would ever feel to piloting the hunk of junk ourselves. People who owned this set will most likely never forget the feeling of sending the Falcon into hyperspace on command.
Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance (1999)
I think you might start to notice as you keep reading, this list contains a healthy amount of Star Wars themed dogfight sims. And for good reason! They’re so awesome!
X-Wing Alliance is no exception. It’s the fourth installment in the series of computer games centered around playing through epic battles from the OT. Alliance put players in the cockpits of the most iconic Rebel ships from the series, and our designer, Carlos, credits it as the source of his unhealthy obsession with Star Wars spacecraft.
Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (2002)
Once upon a time, there was a whole universe of stories that occurred after the battle of Yavin (ABY). The first order didn’t exist, and Han and Leia had twins. Also Kyle Katarn (recognize that name?) made his Jedi Journey in one of the most satisfying Star Wars FPS games in history, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast.
The story was original, the gameplay was fast and engaging for the time, and the multiplayer was addicting. This was THE game for anyone who wanted to lightsaber duel with their friends to their heart’s content. We spent countless hours living our best Jedi lives in this game, and that’s why it belongs on this list.
Star Wars (1983 Arcade Game)
How could we not make a Star Wars games nostalgia list without mentioning the original arcade classic?
In 1983 the Star Wars merchandising machine gave us this classic arcade cabinet that created so many great memories. The game came in many forms, even eventually released as a cartridge, but the most iconic would have to be the cockpit model.
The sweet, sweet sight of what it would be like to make the iconic trench run was just too hard to pass up. The Star Wars cockpit arcade cabinet was at the top of the short list of things that we would rather spend our lunch money on.
Star Wars Galaxies (2003)
Star Wars Galaxies was the first crack at a Star Wars MMO. And boy was it fun. It was essentially WOW with a Star Wars coat of paint. There were so many places to explore, factions to join, and quests to go on.
Galaxies was one of the first experiences in a Star Wars game that let characters create their own character and play how they wanted to play. Player agency in the Star Wars universe is just the perfect recipe for successful weekend all-nighters.
Star Wars: Episode I Racer (1999)
Depending on who you ask in our office, you might hear that Episode I Racer was one of the only good things to come from the release of The Phantom Menace. Star Wars fans loved this game when it came out. Now, almost 10 years later it is still the one to beat when it comes to full-fledged Star Wars racing games.
Star Wars Battlefront II (2005)
I mean c’mon. Who wouldn’t put this game on this list? Pandemic’s Battlefront series takes a main seat in the pantheon of great shooters from that console generation.
We spent an embarrassing amount of hours as kids immersed in the large scale battles across the galaxy far, far away. Battlefront II was able to capture our imaginations by putting the “what if” scenarios that occurred in our heads onto the screen in front of our very eyes. It was the world’s best virtual Star Wars toy box.
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (1998)
Rogue Squadron is the grandfather of all of the great Star Wars games that came after it. The fast-paced third person dogfighting was robust and provided countless hours of fun.
But perhaps it’s best known for being widely regarded as one of the best looking games on the Nintendo 64. It may look crummy nowadays, but back then we couldn’t even fathom how great this game looked compared to the dogfighters that came before it.
Lego Star Wars Series (2005 – Present)
This series has made our list almost solely for one reason: the character roster. If you completely disregard the faithful Lego recreations of all of the movies, the funny dialogue, and the addictive build-centric co-op gameplay, you’ll still find a game with the most diverse roster of Star Wars characters ever.
Lego Star Wars continues to be the only franchise where Jar-Jar and the gonk droid can go to Kamino and have a dance party with some clones. And if that’s wrong then we don’t want to be right.
Knights of the Old Republic (2003)
What can be said about this game that hasn’t been already?
Before Bioware took Sci-fi RPG stories into their own hands with Mass Effect, they cut their teeth on KOTOR; a game widely considered to be the best original Star Wars story for a game.
KOTOR was ahead of its time. It put player agency at the forefront with decision based mechanics and a story that dove deep into the lore behind the Force, the Sith, and the Jedi. This was the first game that ever made us truly feel like we were molding and shaping our very own Star Wars story that had implications that actually affected the universe of stories that we already knew.
Every Star Wars fan owes it to themselves to play KOTOR at least once. It is the prime example of how to make a Star Wars game into a classic.