When I was growing up, Star Wars was the center of my world. I loved everything about that universe, and it was the coolest freakin' thing when Star Wars video games were introduced to the world. Being able to transport myself into that universe and be actively involved in it was a dream come true for a kid like me — and some adults as well! Hell, I still enjoy playing Star Wars video games!
With the recent Star Wars mania caused by the new movie casting announcement and Star Wars Day, I started thinking about all of the things I loved about the franchise and memories of playing that very first Star Wars Atari arcade game popped into my head. That took me back to some good times. Then I started thinking about all of the other Star Wars games that I played. So I started to compile a list, and it was a lot of fun reintroducing myself to these games that entertained me for hours-on-end. I haven't played them in years, but watching videos really brought back some great feelings and more memories.
I didn't include any Star Wars games after 2001 on my list. Even though some great games have come out in the last few years, this list is focused on the ones that I grew up with and haven't even thought about in a very, very long time.
Star Wars Arcade Game - 1983 - Atari
This is going on my list because it's the first Star Wars game ever made. At the time, who the hell cared about graphics?! The vector graphics were incredible for a little kid like me! The blue, green, and red colors were all that I needed. One of the main things that made this game so special for me is that I got to sit down inside an actual cockpit in the arcade to play it. This was the first time I got to participate in the Death Star Trench run, and it was mind-blowing! Whenever I went to Disneyland when I was a kid I just wanted to go to the arcade in Tomorrowland and play this game — screw the rides! I have so many good memories playing this badass game. I'd love to play it again, but I have no idea where I would be able to find one to play. It was at the Disneyland arcade for as long as I can remember, but that is gone now! It was replaced by a Star Tours gift store.
Super Star Wars - 1992 - Super NES
This game was 16-bit awesomeness! I played this game for hours on end at my friend's house growing up. I remember thinking the 3D graphics were amazing back then. It featured mostly run and gun gameplay, but it also had level where you could pilot a landspeeder and an X-wing. You could also play multiple characters. What sucked is the fact that you couldn't save the game! You just needed to play and survive in one sitting.
Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - 1993 - Super NES
A year after Super Star Wars came out we got this one, and it was just as awesome! At the time there wasn't a lot going on with Star Wars. Between Return of the Jedi in 1993 and the Special Editions of the original series, all that Star Wars fans had to keep them happy were toys, books, and video games like this. This game was so cool, and it had a save system!
Star Wars: TIE Fighter - 1994 - PC
This game perfectly captured the feeling of piloting a TIE Fighter in the Star Wars Universe because it was a freakin' flight simulator, and it was the first time that Star Wars fans finally got to be in the cockpit of one of these things. I had a ton of fun playing this game, and it had a lot cool stuff to offer fans, like the fact we got to play as an Imperial star fighter, have some awesome dogfights, and take on secret missions for the Emperor. I remember it being frustratingly intense, but the graphics were great for the time. The events of the game took place between Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
Star Wars Trilogy Arcade - 1998 - Sega
This game was made specifically for the arcade. It's a 3D rail shooter based on the original Star Wars trilogy, and it was released at around the same time the special editions of those films were released. This might just be the most fun I ever had playing a Star Wars video game: the gameplay was fun and players got to reenact the best scenes of the movies. It's also another one that I used to play a lot when I went to Disneyland. I do have to say, though, it was a really easy game to beat. All you had to do move the crosshair on the screen using a joystick and press the fire button. I also owned the game on Sega 32X.
Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader - 2001 - Game Cube
This was everything any Star Wars fan could want in a Star Wars video game. It had everything from big epic battles from the whole original trilogy, to Luke Skywalker straight up murdering womp rats just because he could. This was just such a fast-paced, fun, and solid-looking game, and it's Death Star trench run was amazing. You could even play as Luke Skywalker's friend Wedge Antilles.