I’m 40 in just over two weeks, and I think that means I’m due for some sort of midlife crisis. Instead, midlife Chris-is finally taking seriously something he’s always wanted to do: Collect every single Star Wars video game. A personal Star Wars “Gaming Holocron,” if you’re geeky enough to get the reference. Just not nearly as compact as an actual one. In fact, they take up a lot of shelf space…
And yes, that’s right. Every. Single. Game. Well…mostly…
You see, collecting “every” Star Wars game comes riddled with more question marks than, say, collecting all the licensed NES games ever produced. But on the bright side, it’s much more realistically completed — you can probably grab all hundred-something of them from scratch for less than the going rate of an unboxed Little Samson.
So, what exactly constitutes owning “every” Star Wars game? Some needlessly nuanced rules:
- Only physical media counts, and you have to be able to insert it into something. So we’re basically talking games for consoles, computers, and handheld systems. When my Star Wars gaming collection earns me great fame and fortune, I’ll add the caveat that arcade games count as well.
- If it’s not complete in box, I might as well not own it. I cut myself some leeway when it comes to ad inserts (I’m okay without that subscription card to Nintendo Power in my Super Star Wars), but boxes, manuals, and of course the games themselves are essential. For PC, this means the “big box” version, should it exist.
- I don’t need every version of every game — just the most well known of each. While I very well might own several versions of what’s essentially the exact same game, the one I need to own is the one that sticks out in my mind the most as having the most buzz around it upon release. So even though I already own Rebel Assault on Sega CD and 3DO, I can’t check the Rebel Assault box until I own the PC version (which I do, as of last week — box, checked). In some cases, it feels rather arbitrary (LEGO Star Wars on PS2, GameCube and Xbox, for example, are pretty equal), so one or the other serves the need. But on a related note…
- Every unique game is essential — even if it shares the same title and marketing campaign as another. A prime example: Outside of graphics and the feel of their controllers, Episode I: Racer shares almost identical content across Nintendo 64, PC, Mac, and Dreamcast (per rule #3, N64 gets the “must have” label, even if the other versions arguably outperform it — again, it got the most buzz). But on Game Boy Color? Completely different story. They may share the same themes and even some of the same characters and tracks, but in no galaxy is a 3D, behind-the-polygonal-vehicle game the same thing as a 2D overhead, sprite-based experience. So in the case of Racer, we have two must-have versions.
- First-edition packaging only. If it’s a second-edition printing that looks like the first edition, fine — but none of this “gold pack” or “greatest hits” business. This rule immediately nullifies my copy of Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, whose 1998 edition featured Darth Vader on the cover instead of a faceoff between Kyle Katarn and Jarek. So tough luck to you, too, Mr. Platinum Hits Knights of the Old Republic.
- Boxed expansion packs, too. Said Jedi Knight edition included the game’s expansion, Mysteries of the Sith. But as a single disc, it doesn’t count — so right now a beautiful box with a 3D polygonal Mara Jade is on its way to my house via ebay.
- International-only games count, and with the same rules. Thankfully, I’ve already claimed the only three I believe to exist: Droids (UK, ZX Spectrum — even as an American I feel obliged to say “zed-ex”), Star Wars with Scorpion Vader (Japan, Famicom), and Attack on the Death Star (Japan, some super-obscure computer by Sharp).
- Star Wars Galaxies counts. Even though it’s completely unplayable. Funny enough, the ebay prices on Galaxies products tend to eclipse most Star Wars games you can play by quite a bit.
- Compilations don’t count. But I might change that rule someday. I certainly have several on my “want” list, at least. (Oh, yeah…there’s definitely a “want” list too.)
- Software, edutainment, and activity centers do count. Because I want an excuse to own Star Wars Screen Entertainment and Jar Jar’s Journey, I guess. In full-sized 1999 PC box, mind you — only slackers settle for the jewel-case versions.
So, where am I in this highly questionable endeavor? Well, let’s just say I’ve finally found a use for Pinterest. I’ve even secured a URL — GamingHolocron.com — where I plan to log what remains of the hunt. (Strangely enough, I don’t believe posts like this one are why Medium was founded.)
And then what? What good is a humongous collection of Star Wars games if I don’t actually play them?
How would you feel about an in-depth rundown of every Star Wars game ever made in podcast form? Would you listen? (I…may have already recorded something I’m keeping to myself for now…)
If I streamed them one by one, would you watch and chime in?
Anyway, I’m kind of nuts for doing this. But I love it. The end of the road is still a ways off…but it’s not so far, far away…