The Star Wars franchise is beloved by kids, adults and merchandise merchants alike. I mean, people even follow the Jedi religion! If that doesn’t mean Star Wars is a big deal then I don’t know what does. Star Wars has come a long way since its first film back in 1977, back before Hollywood learned the dangers of having an original idea.
Like just about every other franchise with a lot of longevity, we eventually got some games out of it. Star Wars games are practically a whole new genre of game on their own, if you look at a game made by LucasArts, you’re first thought isn’t “Oh its a shooter” or “Oh its an MMO” no – your first inkling, is its a Star Wars game. And, when you think that, you know it’ll be awesome.
Because Star Wars games ARE awesome. Not all of them, I’ll grant you, but a heck of a lot of them. But what is it about these games that draws us (and more importantly our cash) in so much? Well, first thing’s first, it is set in a universe that we all know extremely well. Star Wars has reached that level of popularity, that even people who don’t like the films know more than they expected about the Star Wars Universe, like which planet the Ewoks live on or the name of Luke Skywalker’s ship.
Such things become common knowledge in the franchise’s immense cultural domination, and because of it, thousands of people can enjoy exploring a universe that is already known to them. If you are given the freedom to explore the universe, you’re going to want to find the Wookies you saw in the films, or hunt down the Millennium Falcon you saw fly past. These games feature things we know, and things we do not – a perfect combination in a game of familiarity and mystery. In this, Star Wars games attract many kinds of gamers, not just Star Wars loyalists.
Secondly, along the same lines I suppose, the game’s are able to delve into historical and narrative depths that the films do not touch upon. For example, Boba Fett’s back story, or Aela Secura’s. The films set up a vast range of history and interesting characters, and from this, the games have a whole heaping feast of stories and narratives to pick upon.
The Star Wars universe is vast and never ending, endless space, and this gives the game’s designer ideal room and flexibility to make unique games every time. And, by using characters and stories that are familiar yet unknown, they find the perfect balance that I spoke of before.
Now, a lot of games love magic. Magic is great, it allows games to find innovative game play methods and techniques, and also looks very cool. But the Force is a magic all on its own – a unique one that no other game can steal. The Force, for people who aren’t nerdy, is a metaphysical and omniscient energy that fills the entirety of the universe, a powerful and imperious power that the Jedi and the Sith have the skill to tap into and use for their own devices.
Its a great conception, one unique to the Star Wars universe, which gives their games something which no others can. If you want to play with the Force, which we all do (because its awesome) you can only do so through a Star Wars game. This is their hook.
Their second hook, another tradition exclusive to the Star Wars world that draws we gamers in, is lightsabres. They present the same allure as the Force, that they are only available in Star Wars games, exclusive content restricted to one franchise. And we all want them, because they are iconic, incredible, and great fun to play with in game. Everyone knows that electric “buzz” of the lightsabre as it blurs through the air, and it is bound in Star Wars.
These games present the cultural symbols of the Force and Lightsabres, the image of Star Wars, and it is there we must go to acquire them – which we all do, because we love them both. I mean, look at the below picture, its called the “FORCE” unleashed, and they had to put a lightsabre in there of course. They milk those icons for all they’re worth.
Star Wars also presents a lot of potential in its exploration of space ships and space crafts, for these can pose a dozen or more game play aspects many gamers would die for. Such as crafting your own personal ship, exploring space in it, or battling others. Space war is visually stimulating, being something we as normal humans have yet to achieve, so we seek it in games, and Star Wars is one of the prime franchises for it in doing it so well.
They offer X-Wings, Millennium Falcons, Cruisers, Starfreighters, a whole range of space crafts that we know from the films and the series, that all look brilliant and are great fun to drive in space. Star Wars games are great because of the range of games they can produce, one clearly being space-flight games, space-battle games, or space-strategy games, all gained from the original conception of a New Hope’s epic space war.
In their whole choice of gaming genres, Star Wars gives them access to shooters, RPG’s, MMO’s, Action Adventures and even Lego Games apparently – its as if there were an enormous vault of potential games and genres, and Star Wars has an all access key.
There are a lot of reasons why Star Wars games are such a roaring success in the gaming industry, loyal fans, film culture back up, genre flexibility and much more. They do extremely well with every release, and have fans waiting with bated breath for the next one – I mean, seriously, when will Star Wars: BattleFront 3 be out? We’ve waited so long! All I know is I love these games, I love being back in Star Wars long after the films have finished and I love what they produce. LucasArts have done well for themselves, and I sincerely hope Disney do not neglect us gamers in future!