Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kickstarting Nostalgia and Tie Fighter

Some of the most successfully funded gaming Kickstarters are those that pull at our nostalgia heartstrings for genres the huge publishing companies have long considered dead.

Double Fine's Adventure game and Project Eternity are two of the better examples. The adventure game promises to scratch that Maniac Mansion, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango itch, and Project Eternity that hardcore DND adventure game.

I feel I know what to expect from those games, but one that I backed and am interested in seeing the finished product is Star Citizen, from the creator of Wing Commander, Chris Roberts.

I'm most interested in seeing this space flight simulator because what has been promised just doesn't seem possible for the $2,000,000 pledged. We are being promised the Earth and moon quite literally.

Every Friday my email inbox lights up with a well produced and often comedic variety show on art assets, updates on game development, and staff bios from the RSI Comm-link. It's obvious the passion is there, but since none of my Kickstarter games have yet shipped, I'm wondering what the final product will actually look like.

But I'm excited, even if it is cautiously.

I never played Wing Commander on the PC, (I put in some time on WC4 on the Playstation) but I put in massive amounts of time into Tie Fighter.

Daily I was pounding in the DOS line to start the game, listening to the CD Rom spinning hard in our Windows 95 HP desktop, and listening to the choppy intro movie.

I spent hours gladly escorting Imperial shuttles, inspecting space containers, and earning every badge in the training courses. It was a game I had to fully digest before I could put it back into the CD wallet.

It was a game of discovery. Not only of different planets and ships and tactics, but you were learning things about your ship well beyond the final credits.

I was able to get through most of the game chasing down A-Wings and switching between my primary and secondary weapons, but then I started discovering how I could divert power from my shields to a gun to have the recharge time shortened or I learned how to charge while barrel rolling to quickly take out an X-wing.

Now, I should've gone home and poured over the thick instruction book to find out how to use everything at my disposal before I booted the game, but I was 10 and I wanted to fly alongside Darth Vader immediately.

I loved the game. The story was gripping, pulling me into this world of Imperial factions and backstabbing. I forgot that the Rebels were supposed to be the good guys, and soon I understood the Empires side of the story. That's some powerful stuff. A game made me rethink three films that had been ingrained in my from the age of four.

I don't expect to be wowed by Tie Fighter, but it's been so long since I've played a real space sim that I can't imagine how when I leave my hanger the first time and see the billions of miles of stars around me that I won't have a chill down my spine and a smile on my face.

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