Tag Archives: Star Wars

Goodbye LucasArts

In light of the tragic death of LucasArts yesterday at the hands of Disney, I thought I’d let a few of my friends give their reactions:

DaisyGetSprouted

OnlyLightsabers

MannyKnows

ThatsOurGoofy

ItsRobertFrost

NoMinnieHave a great weekend everybody!

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Big Deal. We Made Star Trek 7 Back In ’94.

As you might have guessed (full disclosure), I’m a Trekkie (and a B5’er or whatever you call people who like Babylon 5). But it’s not because I hate Star Wars, or think Star Trek is somehow better (I just watched an episode of Next Gen that basically involved the Enterprise fighting a flying pirogi). In fact I love the original trilogy, and even some moments of the prequel trilogy (if nothing else from an ironic stance).

But I don’t know if Disney’s the right fit.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that we’re getting George Lucas out of the picture. That man has been screwing with a good thing for years. The special edition re-release was one thing, but all the additional tweaking and nonsense in the BluRay releases is just ridiculous. It’s worse than the fifteen releases of Blade Runner! Give me my crummy special effects (I’m looking at you too CBS for your Star Trek: Original Series “remaster”), and Han shot first dammit!

And as bad as the prequel trilogy was it was by no means the worst thing to happen to Star Wars. For that we only need look to the dozens of TERRIBLE video games (interspersed with some excellence), the animated Clone Wars, and well, anything Clone Wars related (sorry kids). Hell, my favorite series took 11 movies to make six good ones, so I can cut the Warsies (?) some slack on this one.

And Disney at first glance doesn’t seem like a bad choice. Star Wars isn’t just for the sci-fi crowd after all, it’s fun for the whole family, and nobody does that better than Disney. I’m actually reasonably certain that Star Wars 7 will be excellent, it’s 8 and 9 I’m worried about. I’m not convinced Disney is good at series. Just take Pirates of the Carribbean. The first movie is an excellent romp with a nice love interest, a lot of action and humor. By the end of the third movie, the main love interest is dashed, as one part of it is doomed to steer the dead home and only see his love once every ten years (after knocking her up of course, cause nothing says love like dooming people to single parenthood). And did we really need a Cars II, or any of the direct to video nonsense Disney produces?

And for that matter, do we really want a company that likes to put things in a vault in charge of when and how we get to see Star Wars?

On the up side, I bet there’s a reasonable chance the original movies will see theatrical re-releases prior to the new movie, and that’s always fun. And Disney has had decent success with Marvel super hero properties (hell if you can get Joss to write the Avengers, why not a little lightsaber action?).

I think Star Wars is always going to be a generational argument (and I mean quite literally given the almost twenty years between the start of each trilogy). The originals will always be the best in my heart, and I don’t feel like I need anything else, but that won’t stop Disney from making Spaceballs II: The Search For More Money (though if they did make that I’d definitely watch it). A new generation will grow to love this new trilogy, and maybe cast a glance at what came before, and that’s fine.

And you know what, I’ll watch too, especially if a promo has Donald Duck saying “may the forks be twith you.”

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AGFV: The Best and Worst “Forward Thinking” Game Companies

For this month’s installment of AGFV I thought we’d cover the five best and five worst game companies for getting their older games working. Some games have life even after twenty years, and some won’t work on the next or even their own OS.

I considered a lot of factors when compiling this list; continued support, ease of installation, whether emulation is required, 16-bit installers, broadness of graphics cards/methods supported.

The Best:

5: Valve – Say what you will about Steam, Valves’s game distribution platform, it’s a great service for games like Half Life and its ilk. While games on Steam are not gaurunteed to continue running on all new OS’s, the support structure seems to be there for you to invest with confidence. I also have the stand-alone GOTY edition of Half-Life which installs without problems.

4: Interplay – It’s worth noting that Win 95 games are the kiss of death in forward compatibility and Interplay has several that install in compatibility mode WITHOUT patches (Fallout and Freespace). It’s DOS back catalog installs well in DOSBox, and they have many of the best known series (Freespace, Descent, Fallout, The Bard’s Tale). (Notable exceptions: Giants: Citizen Kabuto was buggy to begin with and remains so, and the floppy edition of Star Trek: Judgment Rites will not install without replacing the extracting program)

3: iD/Raven Software – Doom, Quake and Commander Keen are all emulatable in DOSBox or other third-party enhancement projects (Doomsday, Dark Places). The Win95 distro of Doom still installs and runs well on new systems. Most games that are Quake 3 powered run on Win 7 without modification (Elite Force Series for instance).

2: Sierra (DOS-era) – Also known as the “Quest” Era, Sierra’s adventure games work both in DOSBox and ScummVM. Many have been repackaged and sold with automatic DOSBox compatibility so they install and run on Win XP/7 without modification. Some copy protection in their games requires you to download copies of the original manuals, but these are widely available.

1: Blizzard (pre-2003) – It’s worth noting that Starcraft (the original) is still one of the most widely played games in some circles. Warcraft 3 which came out 9 years ago still sells in stores (as does Starcraft). Even older titles like the original Warcraft or Diablo can be installed as is or emulated in DOSBox. Newer tactics toward online registration have changed how their newer games will move forward, but their back catalog is among the easiest to install and get playing.

The Worst:

5: Nintendo – Yeah okay, I know I’m not a console gamer to begin with, but it’s worth noting that you can’t play a Nintendo game from 20 years ago without repurchasing it. All the games listed in the best category can be installed or emulated using original media.

4: Cyan – MYST and Riven specifically. Some editions of MYST were designed for Win 3.1 only and can’t be run even in Win 95. Those that were designed for 95 use old editions of QuickTime. Riven’s five disc edition can be recombined into one (though I haven’t tried it), but even a conventional installation from the 10th anniversary set on Win 7 does not work. CYAN’s secret, new editions. You can buy MYST and Riven on GOG and they install and run just fine. You can even buy MYST on the iPad (but again repurchasing is not the same).

3: Remedy – The sound libraries for Max Payne have to be recompiled to get them to run in Vista/Win7. Even my XP installation did not work quite correctly (I had to hit the Windows button and click back in to get the menu). Maybe a victim of focusing on console versions first.

2: LucasArts – Where do I begin? Maybe with all the crappy Win 9.x Star Wars games. LucasArts installers from this period are 16-bit and have never been updated for 64-bit systems. The graphics cards supported are very narrow and its a crapshoot as to whether a newer system can interpret them (interestingly had a lot better luck with integrated graphics cards than real ones). The GrimE engine has only recently been emulated sufficiently to be playable and even some Scumm titles (Enhanced Monkey Island 1) require more than a basic level of skill to get running.

1: Simon and Schuster Interactive – They make games? Yeah, a lot of crappy Star Trek titles mostly. What’s unfortunate about Simon and Schuster is that many of these products are interesting (the TNG Technical Manual is one of my favorites but can only be run in emulated Win 3.1!). Again these suffer from using strange 3D techniques tested on only a few graphics cards, or using old versions of QuickTime. Even DOS era games have weird copy protection that requires a very specific configuration (otherwise Spock yells at you for piracy). (Notable Exception: DS9 The Fallen based on the Unreal 1.5 engine. Great game even today)

Tried to get any of these games running yourself? Like to see a game guide on some of the tougher ones?

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