The Game: In the first screen, you’re zipping through the forest of Endor on a stolen speeder bike, with Imperial stormtroopers on their own bikes chasing you. While you can shoot the stormtroopers’ bikes or bump them off the playing field, they can shoot you, and running into trees isn’t good for anyone’s health. Your only advantage? The indigenous Ewoks, those furry little critters who occupy a special, beloved place in every Star Wars fan’s heart, will help you out if you lead the stormtroopers into their primitive traps. The second screen is much like the first, only you’re flying the Millennium Falcon through the Death Star trenches, and the other speeder bikes are now TIE Interceptors. (Atari, 1984)
The Game: Though graphically superior, and almost certainly guaranteed to gross more quarters just because of the Star Wars association, this game was, more or less, Zaxxon with a new paint job. Still, many players at the time hailed it as a vast step up from the vector graphics Star Wars game which Atari had released the previous year, even if the controls were aggravating.
And c’mon, you’ve got to love it – this is the only video game to feature on-screen appearances by Artoo and Threepio (as seen above) and those cuddly Ewoks that everyone loved so much from the movie!
Okay, maybe that’s not a very strong draw. (Though, to be fair, at the time of this game’s release, Star Wars fandom had yet to gain the “received wisdom” that all things Ewok-related were automatically crap.) But Jedi did at least represent a solid attempt on Atari’s part to diversify its Star Wars game lineup (the second Star Wars game by Atari, The Empire Strikes Back, was little more than a refit of the original vector graphics Star Wars game.)