Dozens upon dozens of Star Wars games have been released since the early '80s, and the flood has never really subsided over the years. Pretty much every year has seen another game or two appear to reignite our love of lightsabers.
That's not always a great thing. Licensed games have a reputation for being rubbish more often than not, and Star Wars is as guilty as any other franchise for putting out tosh here and there: Kinect Star Wars, anyone? How about Masters of Teras Kasi? It happens. In fact, it's happened quite a bit.
Thankfully, there's a flipside to that: the games that remind us why we love Star Wars so much. The games that let us feel as though we're a part of that vast, wonderful universe. And the games that fill us with the same kind of childhood wonder as the classic films themselves. There's a fair number of them, but we've argued about them all to come up with a list of the 10 very best.
With Star Wars fever renewed agan for The Last Jedi, which premieres in Los Angeles this weekend (5pm PT, Dec 9th), now's the perfect time to loop back on some of these. Enjoy!
10) Star Wars Trilogy Arcade
We may never know why Sega opted not to bring Star Wars Trilogy to the Dreamcast, but it was one of the most stunning arcade games ever released when it debuted in 1999. Revisiting the classic films for a cinematic rail shooter, it put the Model 3 hardware to great use, immersing you in key moments from the series. Assault on the Death Star? Battle of Hoth? Speeders through the Endor forest? We're excited just reminiscing about it.
Available on: Arcade
9) Star Wars: Republic Commando
Republic Commando strikes an odd tone for a Star Wars game: it doesn't star Jedi warriors or have most of the familiar sights and sounds of the series. In fact, it looks like a cross between Halo and Metroid Prime more than anything. Yet this squad-based shooter did a great job of focusing on a relatively unexplored part of the universe, putting you in command of a chatty group of elite clone soldiers. It's an unexpected highlight.
8) Star Wars Episode I: Racer
The pod racing sequence is one of the rare scenes in Episode I that doesn't make us want to gouge our eyes out, and sure enough, the racing game based on it arguably the best game based on all three prequels. It's a Wipeout-esque affair, as you zip around in the rocket-propelled pod avoiding hazards and outrunning rivals. It looks like hell now (especially on N64), but the sense of speed then was incredible.
7) Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
It's easy to forget now, what with seemingly hundreds of licensed Lego games, but Lego Star Wars was the first to render a pop culture juggernaut in virtual plastic bricks and douse the result with plenty of humour. Following a separate game for each film trilogy, The Complete Saga brought it all together in one extra-large game, complete with new and redone levels. It's a gigantic smash-and-bash game that'll have you grinning with mates.
It's also well worth checking out the most recent Lego Star Wars game, The Force Awakens, which not only introduces Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron into the franchise, but which also revisits classic Star Wars locations such as Endor and characters such as Han and Chewie. You can buy it for PS4 here and Xbox here.
Available on: PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii, DS, iOS, Android
6) Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II
Whereas the original Dark Forces was more or less a Doom-alike, Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II went well beyond to make you feel like a proper Jedi in a 3D world. Lightsaber duels, Force powers… it helped Jedi Knight seem distinct from the juggernaut shooters of the era (like Quake II). That was especially true in the new multiplayer mode, wherein lightsabers swung freely through the tight corridors. Good luck in there.
Available on: PC