Matthew Barr deposited The Force Is Strong with This One (but Not That One): What Makes a Successful Star Wars Video Game Adaptation? in the group Game Studies on Humanities Commons 1 year, 10 months ago
The Star Wars films have probably spawned more video game adaptations than any other franchise. From the 1982 release of The Empire Strikes Back on the Atari 2600 to 2019’s Jedi: Fallen Order, around one hundred officially licensed Star Wars games have been published to date. Inevitably, the quality of these adaptations has varied, ranging from timeless classics such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, to such lamentable cash grabs as the Attack of the Clones movie tie-in. But what makes certain ludic adaptations of George Lucas’ space opera more successful than others? To answer this question, the critical response to some of the best-reviewed Star Wars games is analysed here, revealing a number of potential factors to consider, including the audio-visual quality of the games, the attendant story, and aspects of the gameplay. The tension between what constitutes a good game and what makes for a good Star Wars adaptation is also discussed. It is concluded that, while many well-received adaptations share certain characteristics—such as John Williams’ iconic score, a high degree of visual fidelity, and certain mythic story elements—the very best Star Wars games are those which advance the state of the art in video games, while simultaneously evoking something of Lucas’ cinematic saga.