The Star Wars universe, as we know, is a pretty strange place. That’s just par for the course with science fiction, really. After all, you can’t travel between all manner of planets without encountering their bizarre, lumpen residents, can you? From the super-furry, gigantic Wookies to the super-furry, teeny Ewoks, Star Wars has them all.
It’s the scenes where all the species get together that really show you the strangeness of the Star Wars aliens. That early scene at the spaceport cantina, for instance… holy moly. There are more bizarre and elaborate costumes on show there than at a celebrity’s Halloween party.
Being the vast and all-conquering franchise it is, Star Wars has been adapted into a whole array of video games. Their objective was simple: bring some of that strange, charming, otherworldly spirit to consoles/PC/mobile. Well, it sounds simple, but how many game adaptions have actually managed to pull it off?
In that sense (and just generally), the Star Wars franchise has fared a little better with video game adaptions than some. There have been some awful Star Wars games, certainly, but there have also been some that turned out really well. GameCube launch title Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader looked phenomenal for 2001 and played just as well. A real triumph.
Rogue Leader did have us flying a car through space at one point, though, which just goes to show: even the greatest Star Wars games get a little shonky at times. So what chance do we have with the terrible ones? Buckle up for 25 Things In The Star Wars Video Games That Make No Sense.
25 How Was Masters Of Teräs Käsi Fair?
We’re going to kick this party off the right way, with one of the more peculiar titles in the franchise’s repertoire. Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi was released for the original PlayStation in 1997, their first shot at making a game for the system.
Mechanically, as we’ll see, this fighting game was all kinds of a mess, but the biggest issue is this: why’s it so unfair? Try going through the arcade mode as a Stormtrooper. Matchups like Stormtrooper vs Luke Skywalker and Stormtrooper vs Chewbacca seem just a little one-sided to me. You’ve seen what happens to Stormtroopers in the movies, right?
24 Remember When Darth Vader Was Playable In Soulcalibur IV?
Today, we’re lucky enough to live in an age when third-party characters can make all kinds of cameos. Just look at Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Just a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable to have Mario and Sonic together in a game, least of all with Solid Snake and Mega Man along for the ride. Now Joker from the Persona series is getting on board as well. What a time to be alive.
The Soulcalibur franchise is no stranger to crossovers either, with the likes of Link from The Legend of Zelda previously making an appearance.
The most outlandish guest appearance in the series, for my money, would have to be Darth Vader, who was originally exclusive to the PS3 edition of Soulcalibur IV (before appearing as DLC for Xbox 360).
He was a force to be reckoned with in the series, too, boasting slower, heavy-hitting attacks and a unique force powers mechanic.
23 Who Thought Kinect Star Wars Was A Good Idea?
Prior to the Wii’s release, in the early 2000s, there was a lot of snark about its motion controls. This sort of sorcery just wasn’t really a thing in gaming yet, and many dismissed it as a bit of a novelty. Nintendo just doing their whole wacky ‘innovation’ thing again, just for the heck of it.
They said the same thing about Nintendo DS’s touchscreen, and where would we all be without touchscreen devices now? Motion controls, on the other hand, haven’t really taken off since the glory days of Wii Sports. PlayStation and Xbox have both tried their hand at the whole thing too, which, in April 2012, resulted in the release of the issue that is Kinect Star Wars.
The controls were beyond unresponsive and broken, and the Galactic Dance-Off mode was a rhythm dancing game with Star Wars characters. What more could you need to know?
22 How Did Episode I: Racer Actually Work Out?
The whole concept of the video game adaption still brings many of us out in a cold sweat, doesn’t it? This is totally understandable.
Those who played Superman 64 (a game that took the almighty son of Krypton and had us flying him through colorful rings like it was Baby’s First Questionable Flying Sim) have never quite been able to trust a licensed game again.
The likes of the Arkham titles and Marvel's Spider-Man have surely helped with some of that trauma, but the memories are still raw. Back in 1999, when Star Wars cash-ins were everywhere, Episode I: Racer surprised the world by actually being pretty darn good. An F-Zero-esque affair, it was very well received by critics and sold over three million copies.
21 Ewok-Gliding: The Game
Now, this is a real oddity from the Star Wars gaming archives.
Sometimes, it surprises me just how long this beloved franchise has been going. It’s odd to think that the first movie (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) hit theaters way back in 1977. This explains why Harrison Ford looks so darn young in it, and also how there are licensed games on the ancient Atari 2600.
Perhaps the most peculiar of these is Star Wars: Return of the Jedi: Ewok Adventure. As reported by Star Wars.com,
“…what struck me as particularly odd is that they decided to focus on glider combat, something that only appears in the films for a few seconds. My guess is the team behind it was really trying to push the Ewok TV series and film.”
The good news is, Ewok Adventure was canceled, so we were spared its release.
20 Who Wanted A Game Starring Jar Jar Binks?
Now, call me cynical, but there aren’t many things you can rely on in this world. A friend will tell you that they got McDonald’s delivery through UberEats, you’ll excitedly open up the app, only to discover that they don’t deliver in your area. You just can’t get your hopes up, ever. You can’t trust anything.
Okay, yes, that does come off as just a little on the cynical side. One thing I can say with complete confidence, though, is that nobody likes Jar Jar Binks.
Why, then, did Jar Jar’s Journey Adventure Book ever become a thing? As we reported previously,
“Part of a rather extensive list of "edutainment" titles for the PC, this game places Jar Jar in an interactive storybook adventure complete with terrible animation all about The Phantom Menace.”
Does that sound like a good time? That’s because it isn’t.
19 Why Put Jar Jar In Video Games At All, Come To That?
At this stage, our outright loathing for Jar Jar Binks has become much more than a meme. After all, fans have felt it since before internet memes were even a thing, really.
Now video game adaptions don’t often get a lot right, but one thing they do appear to have a little freedom to do is take a few liberties with the source material. My question is this, then: couldn’t they have just written Jar Jar right out of existence? Why feature him at all?
He and the rest of the Gungans have appeared far too often, as we’ll see. At least The Force Unleashed saw Darth Vader freeze him in carbonite, like a great, ridiculous and irritating paperweight.
18 How Did Masters Of Teräs Käsi Go So Wrong?
While we’re on the subject of Masters Of Teräs Käsi, there’s something else I’ve got to address too. The whole thing might be totally unbalanced (just ask the poor generic Stormtrooper who’s being thrust into battle against a future Jedi master), but there was potential for greatness here.
The game sold very well, after all, which is no surprise. The allure of matchups like Luke Skywalker vs Han Solo and Han vs Chewbacca would bring in the curious crowds if nothing else. It’s just a shame that the game was such a disappointment.
Unresponsive controls, questionable mechanics and a tacked-on story ruined what could have been an intriguing Star Wars experience.
17 The Pain Of Star Wars Famicom
Retro gaming, by definition, definitely isn’t for everybody. Lots of gamers these days are all about the high-def, 60fps, 1080p, visual extravaganza. As much as I love the Genesis (my favorite console of all time, bar none), there are some things that the gaming tech of the 90s just can’t quite handle.
We’ll have to forgive Star Wars for the Famicom for its many transgressions, then. It was released in 1987, after all. The game makes absolutely zero sense, though, as StarWars.com reports:
“…instead of familiar encounters, you’re fighting weird apprentices of Darth Vader, all of whom seem to turn into bizarre animal constructs before you fight them. Of course, you remember that part of the films, right? Right?! Yeah, we don’t either. This strange take on Star Wars vaguely touches upon the subject matter of the films, but really just feels like the weird adventures of a black-haired Luke Skywalker as he adventures around the galaxy.”
16 Did I Mention The Darth Vader Wannabes?
Following on from that last entry, here’s something I’m a little conflicted on. I’m just not sure how to feel. It’s important to remember that the apprentices of the Star Wars universe may be trainees, but they’re not people to mess with. Just ask Obi-Wan Kenobi, he’ll tell you what unpredictable troublemakers they can be.
On the other hand, who wants to fight their way through said swathes of animal-transforming Darth Vader acolytes when you could be going up against the wheezing wonder himself? These sorts of battles are what make a dramatic Star Wars title, after all. What was even going on with the Famicom release?
15 The Flying Car Of Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
Now, as an avid fan of Harry Potter, I’ve come to accept flying vehicles. Motorcycles? Sure, they can fly, and while carrying Hagrid’s enormous self too. The Weasley’s battered old Ford Anglia? Sure, why not? That little car flew from London all the darn way up to highlands of Scotland.
All of this, I’m totally fine with. But a Buick Electra 225 that can fly through space? Now you’re pushing it, friends. This hilarious vehicle was an unlockable secret in Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, which players could acquire by entering the password !ZUVIEL! followed by !BENZIN! at the passcode screen.
14 What Did Super Star Wars Do To The Plot?
So, yes. Over the course of this rundown, we’ve really run the gamut of Star Wars games. Some have been irreparably awful, others a bit boring, some fantastic but more than a little odd in places (I’m looking at that Buick Electra 225 again).
The 1992 SNES title Super Star Wars falls into the latter category too. While very challenging, and quite simplistic in its run-and-gun sensibilities, it was an excellent and fondly-remembered take on the series. It spawned two sequels, which covered The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi respectively.
Well, I say it covered them. The issue here was how the games glossed over the plot in quickfire cutscenes. There was no darn time for plot intricacies in the nineties, friends.
13 What Was The Deal With Battlefront II?
Now, see, this is exactly why we can’t have nice things. Because the makers of nice things think that our cash is a VERY nice thing, so they scramble desperately for it, to the detriment of the nice thing they were making.
Our old buddies at EA are particularly notorious for their money-grabbing ways, and they’ve turned players off some of the biggest franchises in the industry as a result. Star Wars Battlefront II suffered terribly as a result of this. It was a real mess on launch, rife with pay-to-win microtransactions.
It was all looking so darn good, too. How could you, EA?
12 Dude, Where’s My Single Player?
Yes, I am super-fond of putting these Dude, Where’s My Car? references in entry headings. Thanks for noticing.
Never mind that, though. On to the reason we’re really here right now. While we’re griping about Battlefront II, there’s one super-important thing that we need to address with its prequel. Yes, online play is increasingly becoming the core focus of a lot of genres (fighters and shooters, in particular, revolve around online play), but it’s rare to totally eschew single-player content.
The Battlefront reboot offers a Missions mode, which can be played solo or with bots, but that’s as far as it goes. The complete lack of a campaign (especially when you’re dealing with the Star Wars universe) is every kind of uncool.
This decision was so odd that John Boyega, Finn himself, took to Twitter to ask EA about adding a campaign mode. "Will fans get a full on offline story mode? It's more of an enjoyable way to learn controls," he asked them on social media in 2016.
11 Did Somebody Say Gungans?
No. Nobody did. Nobody ever. Not in a positive light, anyway. There’s nothing more difficult than being the comic relief character who amuses nobody, and that’s the proud legacy of Jar Jar Binks in a nutshell. He sees to have personified everything that the internet disliked about the prequel trilogy (which is most things about it).
You’ll forgive us, then, for not all rushing to save Jar Jar’s race, the Gungans, in odd strategy sim The Gungan Frontier. This 1999 release was a SimLife sort of deal, in which you develop the colonies of Jar Jar’s species.
Wow247 probably summarizes the experience best:
“In the early tutorial stages, you’ll randomly click the screen until various animals and plants appear, which is apparently progress. Who couldn’t get excited at birthing new populations of all our favorite Star Wars creatures like the ‘geejaws’, the ‘motts’, and who could forget the adorable ‘yobstrimp’.”
10 Did EA Actually… Back Down?
We all love a good underdog story, don’t we? There’s something inspiring about hearing the underestimated one, the little guy, carrying the day for once. It makes a welcome change for us ordinary mortals, who are often left at the whims of those who are richer, higher up, more ‘important.’
As the outcry against loot boxes, season passes, and other such shenanigans has gotten louder, even the biggest publishers have been forced to listen. As we reported last August, the Battlefront II controversy was such a mess that:
“The whole thing caused an uproar the likes of which EA has never seen. It gave them so much bad press that they eventually took down the entire loot box system and replaced it with one that only made players pay for random prosthetics.”
Somehow, impossibly, EA had been taught a lesson. One that they’ll learn from going forwards? Well, let’s not be too optimistic.
9 Why Does Star Wars Chess Exist?
Nobody’s snarking on Star Wars chess sets here, you understand. Chess is one of the most iconic games in human history, and there have been some great limited-edition sets released over the years. The game’s far too deep and technical for me to actually play, but I want to own some of these sets just because they look beautiful.
Star Wars Chess the video game, on the other hand, sure as heck does not look beautiful. The concept’s quite cool, but this ancient relic was a real chore to play.
Chewbacca, C-3PO, and the rest of the gang as chess pieces? Okay, I suppose I can get down with that. Having them do horrible, slow, laggy walking animations as you make moves, followed by horrible, slow, lagging battle animations as they ‘take’ each other? No. Only Harry Potter can pull off the living chess pieces thing.
8 So There’s A Pterodactyl-Vader In An Egyptian Tomb Now?
Come on, Star Wars Famicom. You’ve been warned about this sort of thing. Your whole ‘bizarre transforming animal/Vaders’ shtick is a neat party trick, I’ll give you that, but you’ve just got to take a time out and sit down awhile. You’re getting a little overexcited now.
Sadly, Star Wars Famicom doesn’t care about any of this and is determined to be as peculiar and inexplicable as it's possible for a Star Wars game from the late eighties to be.
As I’ve said, we really want to be battling Vader himself, not just his feeble henchmen. You get an opportunity to do so early on, in an Egyptian pyramid-type locale, and he transforms into a pterodactyl. Just, you know, because he can.
7 Worst. Story. Ever.
As we know, then, the Star Wars universe is populated by some of the most unusual and unforgettable characters in movie history. It’s like a who’s who of popular culture icons around here.
One of my personal favorites would have to be Yoda. I’m darn curious about his origins, and I really liked the idea of diving into all of that with Yoda Stories. Sadly, this 1997 title proved to be just about the biggest missed opportunity of all time. As Wow247 rightly asks,
“…at what point did anyone, ever, throughout the history of time, watch The Empire Strikes Back, see Luke training on Dagobah, in the sludge and rain, with Yoda incessantly badgering him about having zero work ethic, and think: “That looks like fun. I’d love to expand on this part of the story more in video game form”?
Never, is the answer. The game is about as fun as you’d expect it to be, hosting about a squillion mundane quests and just as many irrelevant characters and items.”
6 How Did Star Wars: Demolition Go So Wrong?
So, yes. Over the years, the Star Wars franchise has tried its hand at just about every genre going, from strategy games to chess sims and racers. Naturally, it’s seemed a better fit for some of these genres than others.
One thing that surely should have been a winner, however, was a vehicular combat game set in the Star Wars universe. After all, there are countless awesome vehicles showcased in the series. How much fun would that be?
Well, apparently, it’d be about as much fun as Star Wars: Demolition; which is to say: not much.
This Dreamcast and PS1 release from the year 2000 was set in a reality where Jabba the Hutt’s podraces had been banned, so he starts up vehicle combat matches instead. A winning premise, but everything about the game was just average.
How about vehicles a little cooler than a rancor or Boba Fett’s jetpack?
5 The Impossible Lego Death Star
If you’ve played the Lego games, you’ll know that, like the movies, they’re pretty darn good. Accessible for children, while still also quite fun for adults. Solid offerings all around; right down to the Jack Sparrow of Lego Pirates of the Caribbean running just like the real thing.
If you’ve played Lego Star Wars, meanwhile, you’ll know that the Death Star features. This is, as such, a Lego Death Star, which makes no sense in and of itself.
After all, nobody in history has ever actually successfully assembled a Lego Death Star, whether in the real world or otherwise.
Do you know how many darn parts these things have? I’ll tell you how many: 4016, that’s how many.
4 Why Was Return Of The Jedi For Arcades So Darn Difficult?
Gamers often say that there’s far too much hand-holding these days. Tutorials, easy modes, guide modes in Nintendo games that steer for you in Mario Kart and get you past a tricky part in a Super Mario stage.
Back in the day, games didn’t have a single drop of mercy on us. Take something like The Lion King for the Genesis, which I recently revisited. It looks harmless, but that sure is some difficult platforming right there.
The same can be said of the Ye Olde Return of the Jedi arcade game. As IGN put it,
“Remember that hoverbike level from Battletoads and how hard it was and how much you hated it and just how terrible it was? Imagine that, but an entire video game.”
3 Why Are Force Powers In The New Droid Army The Worst Thing Ever?
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a lifelong admirer of the Jedi and the Sith alike. Not only are lightsabers the coolest weapons in the history of fictional weapons (Samuel L. Jackson’s purple one? Yes please), but force powers are just awesome.
That is, they seem to be, when you’re watching Darth Vader doing his little pinchy-finger-chokey party trick (Force Choke, to use the technical term). In The New Droid Army for the Game Boy Advance, on the other hand, they’re hilariously bad.
In this title, you’re fighting waves of said droids, and can only attack (or, indeed, move at all) using laughable force powers.
2 What’s Happened To Everybody’s Heads?
As I say, Star Wars certainly hasn’t been shy about venturing into different genres of game. We’ve seen just about everything, from ‘edutainment’ with Jar Jar Binks to chess sims and racers.
The last racer we saw in this rundown, Episode I: Racer, was pretty darn solid. At the time, the Star Wars license was being milked as much as humanly possible, and this was one of the better titles that resulted from such.
Super Bombad Racing, on the other hand, was just plain BomBAD.
The super-deformed thing really, really doesn’t work with characters like Darth Maul, and the gameplay itself was totally shonky.
1 THAT’S A Jedi Arena?
Here on the internet, many people like to think that they have in-depth expert knowledge on just about every topic that comes up. The trouble is, someone will then come along who knows more than you, and it all gets a little embarrassing.
It’s important, then, to stay in your lane, not to write checks that your hardware can’t cash. Just look at the poor old Atari, trying to bring us an intense Star Wears experience and… well, it ending up looking like this.
Star Wars: Jedi Arena is supposed to recreate that moment where Luke’s training to use a lightsaber, deflecting bolts from the little droid. Instead, it looks more like an odd Pong knock-off with a strange color scheme.