The Game: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…you mean to tell me there’s someone out there who doesn’t know this story?! You’re an intrepid X-Wing pilot participating in the last-ditch Rebel attempt to destroy the Death Star – before it destroys the Rebel base on Yavin IV. TIE Fighters try to intercept you, but you can destroy them (as well as use your own lasers to blast their incoming fire out of the sky). Then you move in to attack the Death Star itself, with its incredibly hazardous system of gunnery towers and bunkers. Once you’ve gotten past the surface defenses, you dive into the trench that will lead you to an exhaust port which is the only means of destroying the Death Star – but there are defenses in the trench as well, and your deflector shields can only take so much… (Atari, 1983)
Memories: In a sad way, Atari’s uber-Star Wars game puts Sega’s rival Star Trek arcade game in its grave. The eminently playable and addictive Star Wars is fast-moving, gut-wrenching, and best yet, you actually have at least a chance of winning the game, offering some satisfaction that you’d accomplished something. The game also had voice samples of Ben Kenobi saying “Use the Force, Luke!” and a faithful electronic rendition of almost the entire musical accompaniment from the movie’s Death Star attack scenes – an incredible accomplishment in and of itself.
Never mind Dark Forces, Battlefront, Star Wars Galaxies or Rebel Assault – this was the first really good Star Wars game, and with the thundering sound of the enclosed sit-in cabinet, it was the closest anyone could get to actually flying an X-Wing back in those days when there was still at least one more Star Wars movie coming up that summer.