The story of my experience with Star Wars: Starfighter began with a trip to my basement. It took me nearly an hour, but I managed to find my old joystick – a Logitech Extreme 3D Pro I purchased back in 2004. The reason I bought it was so that I could play Jump to Light Speed, the latest expansion of Star Wars Galaxies. I had delusions of grandeur. I was going to be the best star pilot in the galaxy, and hunt-down and destroy the Jedi Knights in my VT-49 Decimator (which I still think is one of the coolest ships in the Star Wars universe). In those days I played Iscariot Salsarian – an evil bounty hunter and killer of the Jedi.After digging up my joystick I sat down at my computer and headed to www.steampowered.com, where I purchased the game. 5 bucks through PayPal later, I was running missions with Essara on Naboo.
15 minutes later I was lying on my couch with a gravol in my stomach. I felt sick. The motion of the flight simulator threw off my equilibrium. Motion sickness has always been a weakness of mine.What was worse, I felt old.
I didn’t return to the game for another two days. I didn’t want to repeat my initial experience. I eventually sucked it up and tried again, this time with more success. I got through the first mission without getting motion sickness and called it an evening there. From there on I was ok.As I played through the game what surprised me the most was the amount of story present; though, with that being said, at the start I found the shift in story sometimes confusing. Moving from a starfighter pilot, to Vana Sage, to Nym discombobulated me, and I found myself asking the question ‘Why am I now Nym fighting the Trade Federation?’ I eventually clued in as to why: The Trade Federation was producing droids on Lok, Nym’s planet hideout (at least that’s what I think was going on), and the pirate was none-to-happy.
There was a lot of good voice acting in this game. The most enjoyable work was done by Charles Rocket who played Nym. There was also a great sub-plot between Vana Sage and Nym – a sub-plot that is mentioned in Single Cell from Star Wars Tales volume 2. On that note, it was nice to come across Nym again. As I said in my write-up on Single Cell, Nym has always been a character I’ve been interested in ever since coming across him in my old Star Wars Galaxies days.Digressing for just a second so I can harp on an idea I’ve already talked a lot about in this blog, here is yet another example if intertexuality, in this case Single Cell, a comic short written in March of 2001 making reference to the Starfighter video game which was released in February of 2001. Recalling the Star Wars EU of the early 2000’s Nym was a character that was more active and present on the periphery of Star Wars mythology than he is now circa 2012. He was a character who frequently appeared across mediums. He seems to have been forgotten by most enthusiasts. I guess Hondo Ohnaka is our pirate of choice these days.
Moving on, the game itself was fun to play, and I always get a greater sense of accomplishment when I finish a video game than when I finish a book. I guess because I finish video games so rarely I still find it a novelty. As it is, I’m not really a big fan of flight simulators in that I won’t go out of my way to play one, but this is the second flight simulator I’ve played. This game took me some time to get used to. The controls were hyper sensitive and the game I downloaded from steam didn’t allow me to adjust the flight controls. There was no ability to adjust the game, so I just had to make-do.As for the game itself, there were 15 levels of fun, my favorite mission being level 11, where Rhys, Nym, Vana, and Reti enter Naboo space to drop off supplies and begin to take on the Trade Federation. It reminded me of Hylo Viz and the coming together of hired mercenaries to destroy the Mandalorian blockade circa 3600 BBY.
But what I enjoyed most about this game was not the game itself; rather, the feeling of depth I felt when playing it. As is a hallmark of the Star Wars mythos, in any given story there are always many other tales occurring “off-stage” from the main action. The main action in this case was the events of The Phantom Menace, and Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan’s rescue of the Queen and their return to fight the Trade Federation. What I love about the Star Wars EU is knowing that when this was occurring, there was also a space battle raging up overhead lead by a motley crew of ace pilots, along with another group of heroes fighting the Trade Federation on the ground outside the city limits of Theed. Here I’m referring to the RPG sources Battle for Theed and Signal Interruption. In The Battle of Theed Deel, Arani, Sia-Lan, and Rorworr fight some battle droids in the city’s limits while in Signal Interruption some other un-named heroes were battling the Trade Federation on the grassy plains.Notably, we’ve come full circle to one of the most boring sources I’ve read so far in the Star Wars Chronology Project: The Starfighter Trap. It seems that Steve Miller’s story was the precursor to the events found in this game, and brought back in to the Star Wars EU the character of Essara Till – a truly forgettable protagonist.
I hope to post at least once a week until the end of the year. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in marking since mid-September, and there does not to be any cessation of work on the horizon. I keep assigning things and the students keep handing them in. I’m in the middle of The Merchant of Venice right now, and there is plenty of work attached to it. To keep me honest I’ve posted the following on my desk, where it’ll stare at me every morning:“No matter how busy you are, one day a week you must work on the SWCP. Remember your goal!”
Let’s see if it works.For my next post I’ll be offering up my reactions to The Battle for Naboo video game. Let me tell you, it was a pain-in-the-ass to get up and running on my laptop. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.