Monday, March 22, 2010

Episode II - The Waffle starts now

Another slightly re-jigged draft of yesterday's entry, it's starting to get better. Who knows I may have something by Thursday that actually looks like an essay.

How does a space opera from the 1970's influence contemporary gaming? Yeah, yea, I know this line is getting old. I'll come up with something better.

Star Wars has had a pervasive impact on the modern human psyche and has left its mark on directors, fans and video game designers. It is responsible for several changes in popular culture, the rise of the blockbuster, the franchise movie, the use of computer generated special effects and for leaving an indelible mark on popular lexicon. (Emerson n.d; Jenkins 2005) Countless references from the series have been used in commercials, video games, books and other mediums.

The biggest game in the industry that Star Wars has inspired is Tomohiro Nishikado's Space Invaders. Nishikado recalls that he was inspired by news of the American movie that was coming to Japan. He had felt that setting the game in space and having aliens as opponents would be less immoral than shooting human enemies. "Human movement would have been easier, but I felt it would be immoral to shoot humans, even if they were bad guys." (Nishikado cited in The Creation of Space Invaders 2005)

Space Invaders is considered to one of the seminal arcade games which launched an industry. The influence on the gaming industry can still be felt today. It pushed video games culture into mainstream consciousness; it created the genre of games known as top-down shooters and became a historical icon of video games. (Edwards n.d)

Its conception could not have happened without a fairy tale sent in space known as Star Wars. Star Wars paved the way for space opera and aliens to be acceptable serious topics for movies and video games. (Edwards n.d) While Star Wars is considered the quintessential space adventure movie, it has also created the archetypal video game moment.

`Star Wars' didn't create video games but it totally influenced them... The Death Star trench run in the original `Star Wars' is the archetypal video game climax: Fire a missile, hit a weak spot and everything gets destroyed. (Schneider cited in Caro 2005)

The battles set in space have been an inspiration to game designers Ted Michon and David Rolfe who in 1979 released the arcade game Star Fire. Due to licensing and publishing issues the game never bore the Star Wars brand but players have made connections between Star Fire and its inspiration.

David Rolfe admits that Michon wanted to create a game in the same genre as Star Wars. The graphics created for the game attracted Star Wars fans through their similarity to the original product. (Thomasson 2006 ; Minter 2004)

Star Wars and Star Fire would later lead to an unusual game inspired by an official Star Wars product.

The review in question described the Walkers as “giant mechanical camels”. “And that just got me thinking about giant camels in general,” says Minter. (The Making Of: Attack of The Mutant Camels 2009)

Drawing inspiration from a review of The Empire Strikes Back, Minter created an imaginative experience which pitted the player against shielded camels that could fire lasers. With an aesthetic borrowed from the Parker Brother's game, Minter's game could be seen as a parody but also as a retelling of the original game. (The Making Of: Attack of The Mutant Camels 2009)

For those born after the inception of Star Wars have accepted it as a site of shared cultural knowledge. (Booker 1997) Peter Krämer (2001) cites during a class, he asked students the role of Star Wars had in their lives and was surprised by the response. They recounted that as children, they were inhabiting a 'Star Wars universe' and still felt that was still applied even as adults.

"... the saga's characters, stories and catch phrases had been a primary reference point for their peer group and also within their families." (Kramer 2001)

More to come so don't winge that it's not going anywhere.
23rd March Edit: No, changed part of it so this is an unfinished draft


Booker W 1997, 'New Hope: The Postmodern Project of Star Wars' in S Redmond(ed), Liquid Metal The Science Fiction Film Reader, Wallflower Press, London, pp. 289 - 307.

Brown J 2005, The impact of the Star Wars trilogy, viewed 10th March 2010,

Caro M 2005, The power of the dark side, viewed 10th March 2010,,0,5154795.story?page=1.

Ebert R 1999, Great Movies: Star Wars, viewed 11th March 2010,

Edwards B n.d., Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Space Invaders Celebrating 30 Years of Shooting at Sushi, viewed 5th March 2010,

Emerson J n.d, How Star Wars Shook the World, viewed 10th March 2010,

Jenkins H 2005, Quentin Tarantino's Star Wars?: Digital Cinema, Media Convergence, and Participatory Culture, viewed 12th March 2010,

Kramer P 2001, 'It's Aimed At Kids - The Kid in Everybody: George Lucas, Star Wars and Children's Entertainment', in Y Trasker(ed), Action and Adventure Cinema, Routledge, Oxen, pp. 358 - 370.

Minter J 2004, The Joy of ZX & Hex, viewed 20th March 2010,

Rickey, C 2005, Debate brews about cultural impact of 'Star Wars', viewed 10th March 2010,

The Creation of Space Invaders 2005, Edge Online, viewed 12th March 2010,

The Making Of:Attack of The Mutant Camels 2009, Edge Online, viewed 14th March 2010,

Thomasson M 2006, Interview with David Rolfe, viewed 13th March 2010,

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