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The Force Is Strong with This One (but Not That One): What Makes a Successful Star Wars Video Game Adaptation?

School of Computing Science, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8RZ, Scotland, UK
Arts 2020, 9(4), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040131
Received: 24 September 2020 / Revised: 29 November 2020 / Accepted: 7 December 2020 / Published: 16 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Art of Adaptation in Film and Video Games)
The Star Wars films have probably spawned more video game adaptations than any other franchise. From the 1982 release of The Empire Strikes Back on the Atari 2600 to 2019’s Jedi: Fallen Order, around one hundred officially licensed Star Wars games have been published to date. Inevitably, the quality of these adaptations has varied, ranging from timeless classics such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, to such lamentable cash grabs as the Attack of the Clones movie tie-in. But what makes certain ludic adaptations of George Lucas’ space opera more successful than others? To answer this question, the critical response to some of the best-reviewed Star Wars games is analysed here, revealing a number of potential factors to consider, including the audio-visual quality of the games, the attendant story, and aspects of the gameplay. The tension between what constitutes a good game and what makes for a good Star Wars adaptation is also discussed. It is concluded that, while many well-received adaptations share certain characteristics—such as John Williams’ iconic score, a high degree of visual fidelity, and certain mythic story elements—the very best Star Wars games are those which advance the state of the art in video games, while simultaneously evoking something of Lucas’ cinematic saga. View Full-Text
Keywords: video games; game studies; adaptation; Star Wars; George Lucas; game reviews; criticism; thematic analysis video games; game studies; adaptation; Star Wars; George Lucas; game reviews; criticism; thematic analysis
MDPI and ACS Style

Barr, M. The Force Is Strong with This One (but Not That One): What Makes a Successful Star Wars Video Game Adaptation? Arts 2020, 9, 131. https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040131

AMA Style

Barr M. The Force Is Strong with This One (but Not That One): What Makes a Successful Star Wars Video Game Adaptation? Arts. 2020; 9(4):131. https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040131

Chicago/Turabian Style

Barr, Matthew. 2020. "The Force Is Strong with This One (but Not That One): What Makes a Successful Star Wars Video Game Adaptation?" Arts 9, no. 4: 131. https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040131

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