Wednesday, October 29, 2014

X-Wing and Tie Fighter Are Back!


Initially, I was going to post about one of the fastest turn-around times for a game court case, involving former Panama Dictator Manuel Noriega - it was thrown out by the way on the grounds of, well, absurdity.

But greatness happened yesterday.

Star Wars: X-Wing and Star Wars: Tie Fighter were re-released.

Holy f-balls!

The 1994 and 1998 PC games were the shiz in my time. I realize that it's been 20 years, but I was a kid back then, and I LOVED X-Wing and Tie Fighter. They were the only flight simulators that I could handle that didn't completely screw with my spatial awareness. Which is funny considering that the games take place in space (Bazinga!). Flight simulations and I have never gotten along well. I have astigmatism and it really began developing around 1992/1993. It has always caused me to have difficulties examining the size of the area around me in my peripheral vision. Which, in turn, has made me a much better driver because I spend so much time checking my mirrors and craning my neck to ensure no one is around me while I change lanes. I put forth extra effort to keep myself and others safe...something Texas drivers could learn a thing or two about.

Star Wars fan aside, I should hate X-Wing because flight simulators fail for me. They just do. My eyes can never properly adjust to the system and I end up crashing or getting blown up by a missile more then half the time. They're infuriating.

Not X-Wing and Tie Fighter.

I think the lack of confines made it easier for me to dive into the games. There wasn't a set course or path. I didn't have to worry about barricades to my left and right that prevented me from making reasonably adjustable turns. I was in the vastness of space, and it was awesome. That may seem trite to some of you; today if a flight simulator didn't include "wide open spaces" we would think the game is trying to cheat us of it's value. But back in the 1990's there were limitations. A diskette could only hold so much, and the Star Wars flights were above and beyond any iteration of simulators for it's time. You could control the location of your shields, the guidance of the laser system, change the boost in your engines, key lock targeting with your enemies and allies - X-Wing and Tie Fighter made use of every damn key on your keyboard! And the joystick too, because hardcore pilots need the joystick (some that is required in order to play the games properly). I was ecstatic when a Tie Fighter version came out: glory for the Empire by shooting down the good guys and defending our way of life! Or something to that effect. Both games were a joy to play for hours on end, leveling up with each mission and challenging my brother to beat the others score. 360 degrees of space battling at it's finest.


the games are still in circulation, if you're lucky to find the CD-Rom versions. However they require a lot of tweaking just to get your system to run the games. Most modern computers, even those built in the earlier part of the 2000's, over compensate on the power and make the games difficult to play (from clipping issues to unexplained overclocking). So the re-releases are a welcomed addition to 2014, and have updated coding to work on existing computers without compromising the integrity of the games.

But for $10 a piece, I can't imagine a better way to spend that money. Except for gas for your vehicle to get to work, to make the money, and then buying said games. I know what I'll be playing this weekend. You can buy X-Wing: Special Edition and Tie Fighter: Special Edition at GOG.com.

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