New boss, same as the old boss. So gamers may come to regard Disney since its acquisition of the Lucasfilm family of companies, including video game developer LucasArts. Sitting on a rich catalog of intellectual properties including Star Wars and Indiana Jones, LucasArts should be at the forefront of the gaming community. At times, they have been. But recent years have left much to be desired.
The pairing of Disney’s acquisition with the looming transition to a new generation of gaming consoles presents an ideal opportunity to reinvigorate the brand. In a way, the lull in development from LucasArts in the past several years sets the stage for an all-the-more-impressive breakout. Here are 5 Star Wars games which need to get made already:
5) Remastered X-Wing Series
Steam led the way as a project pioneered by game developer Valve toward abandoning discs in favor of digital distribution. Now an established marketplace for titles from a variety of developers, Steam welcomes players with the latest new releases and a catalog of retro titles, many of which can no longer be played through conventional means.
As one example, Steam offers a large collection from LucasArts, including the Jedi Knight series, some classic Indiana Jones adventures, and the first and second Knights of the Old Republic role-playing epics. However, one franchise is conspicuously missing from the developer’s catalog, the X-Wing series of space combat simulators.
X-Wing, Tie Fighter, X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter, and X-Wing Alliance were once sold as a collection on CD-ROM. Each entry offered a compelling combat experience more akin to a flight simulator than an arcade game. Players had full control over the minutia of their spacecraft, able to direct energy between shields, weapons, and engines, all while targeting enemy subsystems and approaching missions creatively. The series was enormously popular, inspiring a major expansion to the Star Wars Galaxies online experience which offered similar gameplay.
For each passing day that the X-Wing series remains unavailable on Steam, a LucasArts executive should be fired. Releasing these games as digital downloads is an absolute no-brainer. Practically effortless aside from some paper pushing among lawyers, the move would provide LucasArts (and parent company Disney) with profit-bearing revenue on day one. That said, the opportunity exists to remaster these classic titles with updated graphics and modern network capabilities. There’s an entire generation of gamers who have never had the pleasure of experiencing X-Wing. Updated versions of these bar-setting titles would fly off the virtual shelf.
The Dallas Sci-Fi Expo wrapped up on Sunday, February 10. We snapped photos of some of the best, most creative and most disturbing costumes of the show. Click on a thumbnail below to view photo galleries. They’re divided into Girls, Groups, and Guys.
You can see more costumes from the Dallas Sci-Fi Expo here.
We interviewed Battlestar Galactica’s Tricia Helfer, here.
And ran into MickeyDeadMau5Trooper here.
This thing caused a stir this weekend at the Dallas Sci-Fi Expo. I call it…MickeyDeadMau5Trooper. I saw it coming up the escalator and had to grab some video before it got away.
Recently, I argued that we like heroines who act like men and so writers construct stories enabling women to physically compete. So what about the female characters that don’t act like men?
If writers don’t have a female character fight for herself and by herself, then we typically ignore them. Sometimes we ridicule them. If given the opportunity, we rewrite them. Then, we complain that there aren’t enough of them. There are many, and the comment thread on the last article mentioned a few. These are my favorite five.
5. Princess Buttercup, The Ignored Heroine
In The Princess Bride, Buttercup lives on a farm and falls in love with a quiet and dedicated farm boy. The boy, Wesley, goes off to seek his fortune so he may marry Buttercup, but his ship is attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts. Buttercup despairs for Wesley’s death. Years later, the prince of the land choses her as his bride. Powerless to refuse him, she agrees. Soon, Wesley returns and rescues her and the land.
Targeted by an evil prince for her beauty, but with no physical way to resist him — no superpowers — Buttercup relies on her courage and wits to keep the prince and his henchmen at bay until help arrives. With Wesley’s help she escapes and together they save the kingdom from a needless war. But she got rescued and does not physically fight. She engages in elegant verbal sparring, of which I’d provide a video clip, but I can’t find any of those scenes online. They aren’t popular enough that anyone thought to upload them. I’ve rarely seen Buttercup mentioned as a feminist favorite even though The Princess Bride‘s cult following rivals Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s. Strong-willed and spirited she might be, but she’s just not manly enough to merit much attention.
Even while women devour the Twilight books and flock to the recent release of Breaking Dawn 2 most revile the series’ heroine Bella Swan. The savvy modern woman prefers the vampire-slaying Buffy Summers. As a fan of both the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight franchises, I think that we have this partially backward and that the Buffy v. Bella arguments common on the web underscore dangerous assumptions about women. Feminists have co-opted Buffy and the female superheroes for the gender wars in order to perpetuate their illusion of no differences between men and women.
Conventional wisdom tells us that women can do anything men can. With rare exception owing to strength or stature, this is true. But we don’t always want to do what men do, and even if and when we do we have to account for our biology. Sometimes it is the strength and stature deficit, sometimes it is our heavier role in reproduction. The feminist intelligentsia thinks this unfair, so, couching their advice in terms of equality, they tell us to ignore biology. Accordingly, the female heroes who we admire today are the ones who work around reality.
It is great that we have heroes who happen to be women, but we mistake them as role models for womanhood. Five pop culture heroines to illustrate my point:
5. Hermione Granger, The Maligned Hero
Hermione helps Harry Potter figure out how to defeat the evil wizard Voldemort and, at great personal sacrifice, she accompanies Harry on his final quest.
As a role model for womanhood she is the best of this list. She shouldn’t even appear but for what we like about her. The oft-cited favorite Hermione part in the movies: when she punches Draco Malfoy.
Over eight films loaded with powerful women defying evil—Luna Lovegood, Molly Weasley, Lily Potter, Narcissa Malfoy—that inconsequential punch makes number six of the 50 greatest moments. What was a slap in the book was rewritten as the crowd-pleasing punch because we like it when a woman acts like a man, which is ironic considering the next most overrated heroine, Wonder Woman.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
Now that Disney owns Star Wars, clearly Princess Leia needs a little “re-education.” Lucky for her, the others willingly teach her the Disney Way.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
The Walt Disney Company announced today it has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm and is planning Star Wars Episode 7 for 2015! In a later conference call, Disney revealed that they are planning a new trilogy starting in 2015 with a new movie coming every other year. They were also asked about “Indiana Jones,” but said that they were going to concentrate on the “Star Wars” franchise for now. This is following such big purchases as Pixar and Marvel Entertainment.
At first blush this sounds like horrible news. Outrageous, even. But giving it a second thought, it’s probably the only thing that can possibly save Star Wars.
George Lucas has absolutely destroyed that franchise. He tinkers with the good ones and the prequels were disasters for the storyline. The only part of it that still holds any interest to me, a Star Wars fan since Han actually did shoot first, is in the games. The Force Unleashed was solid and probably more than half of the LucasArts games have been worth playing. The Battlefront games were pretty good. But the movies…eh. Out of the six, two and a half are still watchable. The prequels aren’t among those.
To kids, Star Wars is not cool. I don’t know if it was the prequels or the Clone Wars stuff, but kids now just don’t pay the whole thing any mind. I tried watching the Clone Wars series just to see if it was worth my time. It covers an interesting part of the story but the way it’s done is somewhere south of meh.
Can Disney make it any worse? Possibly, but not probably. They want to make money and they’re very good at not wrecking properties that they acquire. If you’re worried about Disney cartoonifiying Star Wars, well, Lucas already did that. He also made it political and ham-handed and kind of stupid. Lucas selling to them at least means that he’ll stop tinkering with everything that has managed to survive his butchery. It also means that we’ll actually get a new Star Wars movie directed by someone who knows how to direct real live people in a couple of years. Maybe Disney will hire Spielberg or Joss Whedon to direct one. Disney owns Marvel, Whedon did The Avengers. It could happen.
So after the initial feeling of outrage wore off,
If Disney fixes Star Wars, great. If not, well, I didn’t sink $4 billion into the swamps of Degobah.
Update: Heh, look who else is buying stuff. Obama is buying ads in Michigan for very different reasons than Disney bought Star Wars.
Burbank, CA and San Francisco, CA, October 30, 2012 – Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.
Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.
“Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”
This is fantastic news! Disney purchasing Lucasfilm is akin to buying a drunk driver’s corvette before he smashes it up again. It looks like Mr. Lucas’s Wild Ride has now concluded.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
The quality of discourse for women today is poor. The many and varied reasons for this will make a post for another day, but for the moment, note that the Mommy Wars and hookup culture discussions might be heartfelt but rarely resolve anything.
Notable recent examples of unproductive chattering: Naomi Wolf has created a new range of vagina puns with her anecdotal account of her technicolor orgasms in her latest book Vagina. The Life of Julia is a left-looking faceless cartoon claiming that women need government to take care of them. (I linked to Iowahawk’s parody because the original is too depressing.) Hanna Rosin seeks to convince us that replacing domineering men with domineering women amounts to positive progress. And a fan fiction author addicted to “shouty capitals,” E.L. James, captured the imagination of women across the English-speaking world with a poor specimen of a bondage novel that has since spun off a line of sex toys with little Fifty Shades of Grey logo tags. (British comment threads are always informative. Why pay for trademarked logo pleasure balls when limes work just as well?)
Missing has been someone to show how absurd this all is. We, the most privileged and independent women in history, find those discussions compelling? Sure, the Right has been pointing out the absurdities in such discussions for a while, but we are written off as the bigoted and biased Other. Feminist thought needs some honest criticism from the inside.
Re-enter Camille Paglia, the “pro-sex, pro-porn, pro-art, pro-beauty, pro-pop” sixties feminist and heavily published art and culture critic, quiet for the past few years while writing her latest book due out on October 16th, Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars. Our debates suffered from her absence.
As a capitalist, it’s tempting to say that box-office receipts are a better judge of a movie’s worth than Hollywood award ceremonies. However, that ignores the sad reality that Americans sure do love some crummy movies. We’re not even talking “good crummy” either, like a fun zombie or chop socky flick; we’re talking “bad crummy.” Big-budget, high-powered, star-filled atrocities that bank hundreds of millions of dollars despite being average at best and mediocre at worst. Like, for example….
2010: Adjusted Domestic Gross — $295,152,300
Admittedly, in a theme that you’ll see repeated multiple times on this list, the movie looks great. It’s really cool to watch city blocks folding over on each other like a crisp dollar bill. The problem is that’s the only thing that makes the movie worth watching. Yes, it’s pretty… but it’s barely watchable, pretty garbage. The plot is dumb, the characters aren’t likable, the movie is full of overly forced action, and the rules the filmmakers come up with for their invented world are nonsensical. It’s almost like the CGI version of what’s going through someone’s head right after he takes bath salts, but right before he starts to eat people.
What would the last 40 years of pop culture be without John Williams? It’s hard to imagine Lalo Schifrin scoring Star Wars or Alfred Newman composing the soundtrack for E.T. The Extraterrestrial.” Don’t get me wrong. Both are wonderful artists. But Williams gave life to each and every film he has worked on, elevating film from a primarily visual medium to a complete experience of sight and sound that meshed with such perfection we barely noticed how completely we were taken in by the magic.
Yesterday, at Tanglewood, a star-studded event was held to honor John Williams on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
Tanglewood, one of the country’s premiere summer music festivals and summer home to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, celebrated John Williams’s 80th birthday on Saturday, August 18, a highlight of the festival’s 75th anniversary season which continues through Labor Day weekend (details at www.tanglewood.org). Pictured above from left to right are Jessye Norman, John Williams, Steven Spielberg, Yo-Yo Ma, Keith Lockhart, and James Taylor.
Steven Spielberg and James Taylor made surprise stage appearances, with President Barack Obama, The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton, George Lucas, Brian Williams, Seiji Ozawa, and Gustavo Dudamel featured in special video birthday messages to Mr. Williams. The musical program featured the Boston Pops Orchestra, conductors Keith Lockhart, Leonard Slatkin, and Shi-Yeon Sung, and guest artists Yo-Yo Ma, Anthony McGill, Gabriela Montero, Jessye Norman, and Gil Shaham, as well as members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The program opened with John Williams’s Olympic Fanfare with the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, followed by beloved themes from E.T., Harry Potter, Star Wars, Schindler’s Listand Memoirs of a Geisha.
No word on whether they recorded the event for future broadcast, but I would imagine that we’ll see it on either PBS, or one of the arts channels in the near future.
A five minute film of the evening’s festivities can be downloaded here.
I haven’t seen the movie that the PJ Tatler’s editor Bryan Preston calls “the best film of the trilogy and the best comic book film yet made” and that Breitbart Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro dubs ”probably the most conservative film of all time” and ”the end of probably the greatest movie trilogy in film history.” And I won’t see it for at least a week and a half — when my wife finally returns from her artist residency in Spain then we’ll get caught up on all the big movies we’ve missed this summer. Nowadays I see little point in watching a film if she’s not there to enjoy it with me.
One of my friends shared this image last night on Facebook:
If this is the case then I’m even more excited to see Dark Knight Rises. Empire is certainly a better, deeper, more sophisticated film than Jedi, but it’s not the more emotionally satisfying one. If I’m wanting some fun, Star Wars childhood nostalgia then I’ll stick Jedi in the DVD player. Or I’ll watch just the scenes from Empire where Luke meets Yoda for the first time. As a 3-year-old I would demand to re-watch this sequence over-and-over again, celebrating it as “Star Wars with Yoda.” Thank you Youtube, I’d never seen the scene before in French:
Does Dark Knight repeat the pattern?
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
5 Reasons Star Wars Actually Sucks by Kathy Shaidle
George Lucas Confirms It: The Star Wars We Loved Never Existed by Dave Swindle
The hood actually goes over your face, as though it really were Boba Fett’s mask. What more could you want?
Well, since you asked, in a search for other Boba Fett accessories, consider perhaps a jetpack backpack?
No word yet on whether Mandalorian is a recognized religious tradition, thus allowing you to deny requests to unzip your hoodie when passing through airport security.
Meanwhile, George Lucas relaxes at home: