5 Ways 'Star Wars' Influenced Video Games

"Video games, I am your father." 'Episode IV' created an influential paradigm for games that's still at work today

Trench warfare
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Trench warfare

The Death Star in Episode IV has a sort of narrow canyon known as the meridian trench that runs from one end to the other. (Nerdy side note: most people assume that this trench runs along the equator of the man-made moon, but it actually runs longitudinally, from the North Pole to the South Pole.) In the film’s climactic battle, Rebel starfighter pilots were required to race down this trench, dodging obstacles and enemy fire from TIE fighters and turbolasers.

The idea of piloting a spaceship through a constrained space, dodging obstacles and enemy fire, crops up in many games. The innovative isometric 1982 shooter Zaxxon from Sega is a prime example. There’s no explicit reference to Star Wars, but all of the elements of its gameplay are reminiscent of the trench sequence.

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