Flashback: In Defense of Namco's Bizarre 1987 'Star Wars' Game

Making sense of the most nonsensical Star Wars game ever

Will you ever be able to play Atari 'Star Wars' again now that you realize TIE fighters don't actually shoot fireballs?1/8


Let's start with one of everyone's favorite arcade experiences – Atari's 1983 classic, Star Wars. That game remains a joy to play even 34 years later, with timeless vector graphics, sound clips ripped straight from A New Hope, and one of the best flight yokes ever constructed. But do you remember the very first gameplay instruction the game relays to you? "SHOOT FIREBALLS." Is there a single moment in Episode IV when anyone in Red Squadron shoots down a fireball shot from a TIE fighter? That's what I'm tryin' to tell ya, kid – it ain't there.

By comparison, most of the dogfighting in Namco's Star Wars puts you in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon against the trademark green laser blasts coming from Imperial spacecraft powered by twin ion engines. Granted, it's way less fun than Atari's game, and you'll probably give up playing due to frustration before you even make it to Kessel – but in terms of representing what a TIE onslaught looks like, it's way more on the money.