Why Star Wars Made Me a Gamer and winner at the game

As I’ve left the heady years of my 20’s behind and have now pushed into the era of responsibility and parenthood that is my 30’s, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that I am no longer the target consumer of today’s video game market. Long gone are the days of the NES and CGA/EGA PC games. Still, here I am – nearly 31, with a career and a family, yet still gaming.

My gaming foundation was the PC platform in the era of the 386 processor, a time when few folks had access to the emerging World Wide Web. Wolfenstien 3D was revolutionizing the PC gaming industry, threatening the joint rule of the point-and-click adventure game and the flight simulator as popularity kings. It was then I met the game that started me on the path of lifelong gaming: 1993’s Star Wars: X-Wing from LucasArts – the video game that truly made me a “gamer”.

I was a Star Wars fan when nobody my age (that I knew, at least) gave Star Wars a second glance. We weren’t old enough to have seen it anywhere but on VHS and we were still four years away from the Special Editions. So when a Star Wars PC game – and a flight sim, no less! – hit the stores, my 11-year-old self was ecstatic. I saw it in the store just after it was released and lusted after it until my birthday months later. I could hardly bear the wait, but soon I had all 5 floppy disks in my hand, installing the game of my dreams. The purchasing of a customized PS4 controller should be under the budget of the person. They can download the controller on the personal computer.

X-Wing was a space combat simulator that had surprising depth for a licensed title – these were different times, before licensed titles began being equated with shovelware. These were the glory days of LucasArts. It put the player in the cockpit of the X-Wing, Y-Wing, and A-Wing starfighters from the Star Wars series, flying varied missions including seek-and-destroy, convoy escorts, and coordinated attacks. Each mission in the three campaigns furthered the storyline, telling the events leading up to the opening scenes of A New Hope.

X-Wing made power management an art – you had a set amount of power you could divide between your offensive weapons, defensive shields, and flight speed. Divert more to the blasters and do more damage, but suffer more in return. Shift all power to the engines to catch a bomber that’s heading for the freighter you’re protecting. Each mission regularly required rapidly diverting power between the systems, even in the middle of a dogfight. The complexity of the various systems you constantly had to manage kept the game both engaging and challenging.

I still play X-Wing with the help of DosBox, a DOS emulator. It doesn’t have the same shine it used to, but the deep gameplay is still there – something that’s hard to find in today’s world of instant saves and button-mashing combos. It holds a special place in my gamer’s heart, and without that experience 19 years ago I would be the gamer dad I am now.

Pinball FX 2 Review: Xbox Live Arcade

If you happen to be a fan of old school pinball tables you probably fell in love with Pinball FX for Xbox Live Arcade. Released back in 2007, Zen Studio’s game faithfully recreated the look and feel of those old machines, with accurate physics and cool, themed tables. This week, Pinball FX 2 was released, sporting four new tables, improved physics, “full compatibility for Pinball FX owners” and a host of improved online features. Here’s what you should know if you are considering upgrading.

The game itself is much more robust like situs judi online terbaik than its predecessor in that it keeps a track record of your performance across the entire game and compares it with that of your friends. You have a Superscore which is an indication of your overall performance and a Wizard Score that combines the superscores of your friends. The idea here is to form a team to try to beat other groups of pinball wizards. Additionally you can compete against your friends to own the high score for individual tables. You can play in tournaments, hot seat multi-player and split-screen, local multi-player when you have a friend over. The game is constantly giving you feeds with information about how you are doing and how you stack up against your friends. This gives the already addictive pinball formula another layer of competitiveness that keeps you playing.

Each table has its own rule sheet with special modes, missions and goals. The tables are customizable as well, allowing for adjustments of both settings and physical elements on the table such as bumpers and targets. One really cool feature is that you can import all of your Pinball FX tables into Pinball FX 2, playing them with the updated physics engine, graphical overhaul and new achievements. This is also where the Marketplace can be a little decieving.

If you look at the Marketplace screen for Pinball FX 2 and you already own Pinball FX, it will tell you that the download for the full version of Pinball FX 2 is free. This is not entirely true. You can download the upgraded Pinball FX engine and import your old tables, but to play the four new tables you’ll still have to shell out the 800 Microsoft Points. The price is fine and this results in a free update for Pinball FX owners, it’s just a little unclear in how its presented on the Marketplace and some gamers who think they are getting a deal for having purchased the original game may be disappointed. It’s best to know this upfront.

As of right now there are also a bunch of other tables you can grab for 200 points each and Zen Studios plans to release more down the road. At the game’s main menu you can easily see and select from all your tables. The tables themselves are beautifully rendered and have perfectly recreated sound effects. They really make you feel like you are back in one of the old arcades.

If you are a pinball aficionado who longs for the days when pinball tables were a thing that actually existed, you should take a look at Pinball FX 2.