From 2010 to 2014 Richard Cobbett Crapshoot, wrote a column about rolling the dice to bring random, mysterious games back to light. This week, who is the most dedicated crook in the Star Wars interactive legacy? No, not that single guy. Although it’s a solo game, I suppose.
I can probably sum this up in one sentence.
“When you’re nine hundred years old, you tell us lousy stories you wouldn’t, hmmm?”
However, the doctor is still doing well.
It’s a good time for roguelikes and their descendants right now. Regardless of what you think of the game itself, Diablo 3 has managed to sell nearly seventeen billion copies of its randomly generated dungeon crawl, The Binding of Isaac and the FTL have taken off the socks of the indie world, and Torchlight 2 joined the party without fate Little cheer.
Now, of course, not all of these are real Roguelikes, and none of them are role-based and not all of them display the character of life in the traditional style. They’re all at least on the family tree, as was already this week’s little-known slice of darkness.
Yoda Stories is actually a semi-sequel to another game, Indiana Jones And His Desktop Adventures – released in 1997 and 1996 respectively – when the Lucasarts name on the toy chest was practically an industrial stamp for “Great Game Inside” rather than “More Star Wars Door” . Even when it was actually Star Wars. This was a leader of the pre-Force, and long before a streak of horrific heartbreaks with “Episode 1” tattoos crossed through in disgrace – the era of classics like the Jedi Knight, X-Wing vs Tie Fighter, and
Star Wars Monopoly download more. Outlaws. Curse of Monkey Island. Grim Fandango.
Desktop Adventures, to give the two-game series its rightful title, was an odd idea that actually made some sense, but would always struggle alongside it all. Those were polished, polished experiences, with the typical comparison between Lucasarts and arch-nemesis Sierra having Lucasarts made movies while Sierra made TV shows—its adventures in particular were more or less Pixar in point-and-click form, especially classics like Monkey Island and Tentacle Day.
Desktop adventures were cheap and exhilarating using the company’s most famous licenses. A poor office worker hungry for a sick game of Minesweeper and Solitaire can shoot someone during their lunch break, play the whole game while eating a sandwich, and then continue their toil knowing that they made a moderately ugly green doll impressed.
Hal Barwood, creator of Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis, took the lead, with the team putting together a simple randomized system and a sprite-based engine that could be practically run on a calculator. Given that the most popular calculator-based game at the time was entering “5318008” to make it say “boobies”, this instead explains why the idea lasted a little longer than the narrative-based screensaver from Sierra johnny the outcast.
Indiana Jones was easily the more successful of the two, simply because the nature of Indy’s adventures loaned it to tricks, random traps, squawk locations, and the hunt for basic treasures. Which, of course, is all the engine can really manage. Take it to Star Wars and try to pretend there’s a story, and the best you’ll get is… well, that’s it.
“Djoba!” Luke Skywalker shouted, climbing up from his X-Wing and inhaling the swampy goodness. “Yoda must be here somewhere. I’d better find him and see what’s on his mind…”
Luke paused for a moment to suddenly rub his gigantic head, before beginning his journey through the swamp – staggering painfully each time and sometimes staring up at the sky as if to say “I am watching you…” to some invisible observer. Not far, though, he ran into an old friend.
“Arto!” He shouted, because he was having a good day. “what are you doing here?”
“Woo… bzzzzt. I’m here to help!” Arto replied. “Take me with me, then drop me on whatever you find confusing, and I’ll give you some hints?”
Locke paused, trying to figure out what was weirder: the eloquence of the newly trusted robot, or the fact that he could now stick Arto down his pants. chose the first. The second was more than just imagination, especially knowing how many pieces and twisted things the robot had to offer.
Teacher Yoda was a short walk away, for a dagoba consisted of about five screens. Today, he was at his house instead of standing around the swamp useless, although that didn’t actually make any difference. Luke tensed as he entered, as he did when Arto took his long-awaited turn later that day. What would the greatest Jedi in the universe say?
“Here you are, Luke! Listen to my call, yes! General Marutz, the leader of the rebellion, has been kidnapped by the Stormtroopers. Danger there, mmm? You have to fly to the frozen snow planet Etorasp and save the general by Vader tormenting the rebel battle plans from him!” “
There was a long pause.
“Yoda’s great story, brother,” Lock sighed, remembering the days when he was already doing important things. How far they looked now. Almost as far as the pleasure planet Zeltros, where he has now decided to fly and hopes that Yoda will die of old age before he is found out. No bodo was given that day.
There were three primary problems with Yoda Stories – the first being that the engine simply wasn’t quite that much, with its blocky movement, hilariously bad combat, and reliance on short clips of Star Wars music and sound effects reminiscent of the old Newgrounds movie from an officially licensed product. It wasn’t because of Lucasartes Not possible Make a better one if they so choose, simply everything should be reduced to a minimum for the target audience of the series.
The fatal problems were despite the lack of assets and the lack of content. Yoda Stories randomly arranges its maps and puzzles, but it only has 15 pieces, and it can’t even swap out things like names to extend it a bit. These fifteen plots are spread over just three worlds, which have names like Etorasp and Argavat but starkly Tatooine, Hoth and Endor. The upshot is that while all Rogue games will be repeated after a while, billions and billions of promised games become obsolete after about two hours. Yoda gives you an item. You fly to the planet. You’ve been around fighting the locals for a while. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get to the story with an Indiana Jones cameo. She returns to Yoda, who politely agrees to waste more time. Repeat until Minesweeper is great again.
(Speaking of which, here’s a fun fact: While it doesn’t exist in recent versions, earlier versions of Minesweeper had a cheat code. Type “xyzzy” followed by Shift and Enter and a white pixel will appear in the top left of the screen. Hover Click a safe square and stay white. If it turns black, there’s mine. If you find yourself in 1997, you now have an easy way to impress office workers everywhere, or maybe cheat your way into the slowest esports of all time!)
But let’s say you decide to continue your Jedi training, instead of calling Yoda’s trick and wondering if it’s okay to deal with a long-lost relative if you pretend you simply don’t know. In most cases, they simply land and start exploring, although there are exceptions – Luke starts into a medicinal bay after being brought down by Ewoks and humiliatingly rescued, for example, with his ship in a swamp. (“How am I supposed to get her out of this quagmire?” he demands, before feeling a turbulence of strength, as if a little green doll shrieked “What’s wrong with your memory?!”) Many stories have similar unique moments. Like these besides the main work.
Mostly, it’s a matter of locks. Yoda gives you one essential item at the beginning of the game, and you can choose the other items as you explore, and sometimes trade them. A power adapter for the Droid part for example. Keycard to open the door. The worlds themselves are full of enemies to be shot at or… hmmm. Lightsword Slash is very powerful. Perhaps best described is oscillating with a lightsaber until it disappears into thin air. Sometimes you go to someone’s house, or to a traditional location like a cantina, in search of more items. And yes, the cantina actually plays the Star Wars classic pop song “The Only Music Anyone Plays In The Whole Damn Universe.” you know what I mean.
Oh my God, it’s this bloody band, playing one song they know again
If I hear it again, I’ll kill myself or –
Maybe he’s stuffing a heat detonator in the anus of the trombone player
Please, oh, please stop, I beg of you!
Not this song!
Not this song!
This song is not agaaain!
stop it now!
stop it now!
It melts my mind!
Change the melody!
Change the melody!
Should I cry in vaaaain?
I’m sorry to evolve my species ear
**** This attractive moon.
This is then followed by a long segment of what is known, for good reason, as “scat”.
As hard as it was, as a must-have game on the shelves (albeit cheap), the basic Desktop Adventures concept actually holds a fair amount of promise – especially considering new things like F2P, Facebook, and everything else Instead of having to sit side by side with “real” games in software stores. The main problem with Yoda Stories, apart from starring in the blocky Yoda movie I’d seen in my life, was one of the resources really – how much could be assembled into what was small size the amount of space. Yoda Stories is 9MB uncompressed. FTL gets 323MB. Not surprisingly, it is very limited.
(Not as limited as the GameBoy version, which offered only 15 canned missions in a similarly simple engine, and was later revised as well as plague-flavored lollipops.)
The same basic concept with modern resources can be great for killing time, with easy patching, downloadable content and social stuff to help add to the fun. Smugglers’ stories, perhaps. Or Bounty Hunters: Top Hits. Anything but what we might end up with: Jaunts Jar-Jar. Even so, I think it could work if the usual death animations were brutal enough. Hmmm. Someone calls Ed McMillan. I think I just created the perfect concept for The Binding of Isaac 2…