There have been a lot of shitty Star Wars games over the years. The Force Unleashed was a disappointment; Masters of Teras Kasi was notoriously lazy, un-Star-Wars-y and awful; The Clone Wars is straight-up one of the most infuriating games I have ever played. There have also been some good ones, and most people seem to agree that X-Wing and TIE Fighter are among them. For those readers who weren’t conscious beings until after the year 2000, these were best-in-class space combat games, pretty similar in design except for TIE Fighter lets you play as the bad guys, which is like actually being a bad guy but without the guilt or psychosis. They captured the action and atmosphere of the original movies without being either too silly or too gritty, somehow, and delivered many hours of white-knuckle stick joy in the process.
Up until now, though, they were only playable on computers so old they were legally adults.
So rejoice, for thanks to classic-game buyers Disney and classic-game sellers Good Old Games, X-Wing and TIE Fighter are now playable by computer minors, too. But these aren’t fancy-pants HD remakes like the upcoming Grim Fandango, previously upcoming The Secret of Monkey Island or somehow already upcoming Grand Theft Auto V remasters. We’re talking visible pixels and polygons, awkwardly grimacing Emperor’s envoy* and all. Two versions of each game are available: the 1994 OG version, and the 1998 Collector’s Edition with moderately upgraded graphics and controller/joystick support. But who cares about graphical quality - or even gameplay (though this gameplay is great) - when nostalgia is on the table? Fans have been clamouring for this release for over a decade. It’s time to be thrilled by scanning cargo vessels once more.
The games are being re-released alongside the likes of the also-great Knights of the Old Republic, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Sam & Max Hit the Road, as part of an ongoing trickle of classic LucasArts games onto GOG. One can only hope the full-motion corn of Rebel Assault is next.
* TIE Fighter is the game that taught me the word “envoy.” Now I use it all the time in conversation. It’s really annoying to most people.