Saturday, July 24, 2010
Once the force is with you, it stays, and nowhere is this more evident than Comic-Con. Friday was Star Wars Day, with special events and exhibits devoted to the seemingly infinitely expanding Star Wars universe.
It’s been over 30 years since Star Wars debuted and the famous fan following continues to grow: dressed as their favorite characters, fans could be seen walking the halls or gathering for the popular Star Wars Trivia Game Show (Who shot first? Han or Greedo?) for a chance to win prizes. The day was filled with announcements for new comics, games, toys, and, tantalizingly, future Star Wars projects.
Of course, the most important thing for many fans remains the fantastic movies created by George Lucas set “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away:” the classic struggle of good versus evil in a place filled with dashing heroes, dark villains, epic battles, and a menagerie of aliens and robots. Because of the alien setting and the extraordinary storytelling, the movies remain excellent entertainment to this day.
But the new stories - in comics, books, toys, and video games - build on the familiar storyline and help bridge the generation gap between mature fans and younger ones. One dad I met shared his excitement for Star Wars with his young son, noting it was something they both enjoyed watching together. Dad had been a fan since the first Star Wars movie and now his son enjoys the whole series, as well as the new cartoon Star Wars: The Clone Wars (now entering its third season.)
Video games, in particular, are an expanding sector of the Star Wars universe. The Clone Wars Adventures is based on the Clone Wars TV series, with animation almost identical to the show. Players I spoke with enjoyed the familiar settings and being able to play their favorite characters like clone troopers Captain Rex and Commander Cody or Jedi Knights Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi. Clone Wars Adventures is an online game where players from all over the world can play together. Unlike other online games where there is a subscription fee to play each month, Clone Wars Adventures is free to play after initial purchase of the game.
Another online game getting a lot of attention is the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Old Republic developed by award-winning BioWare (Dragon Age, Neverwinter Nights). Set 3500 years before the events of the Star Wars movies, The Old Republic takes place as war rages between the heroic Jedi Knights and the evil Sith Lords as both sides battle to control the galaxy. The artwork and animation are amazing, and players can choose to play Jedi, Sith, bounty hunter, or smuggler in this expansive multi-player online role-playing game. Cinematic trailers have been released detailing the backstory and promoting the game.
If neither of those games appeal, there is a third option to get you your Star Wars fix: unlike the other two games, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 makes use of motion technology made popular by the Nintendo Wii console game system. Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 now have motion technology of their own for added gameplay. Unleashed 2 is set just prior to the movie Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and continues the adventures of Starkiller, Darth Vader’s secret apprentice. Critical to this game’s thrill is the ability to wield two lightsabers at once.
“May the Force be with you," indeed.