There have been plenty of classic and memorable Star Wars video games over the years, from 1993’s Star Wars: X-Wing to 2003’s Knights of the Old Republic. But there are just as many games that for some reason never took off and are now remembered with about as much fondness as Anakin has for sand.
Some of them you probably never knew even existed.
Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi (PlayStation, 1997)
The late 90s was a weird time for fighting games. Street Fighter 3 bombed on release, and most fighting game fans invested their time in ‘next-gen’ 3D fighting games like Tekken 3, Soul Edge, and Virtua Fighter 3. Eager to cash in on the hype, Lucasarts released Masters of Teräs Käsi, a 3D fighting game featuring characters from the Star Wars universe.
Ignoring the practical aspect of what would actually happen if Darth Vader squared up for some 1-on-1 combat against one of Jabba’s pig guards (spoiler alert: instant dismemberment), the game’s terrible mechanics and clunky motion-capture animations doomed it to failure from the start.
Also, inexplicably, Princess Leia and Slave Leia in her gold bikini, are treated as two separate characters.
Star Wars: Jar Jar’s Journey Adventure Book (PC, 1999)
After the massive success of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace and its lead character, Jar Jar Binks, Lucasarts released as much Jar Jar merch as it possibly could, which included an “edutainment” PC title that retells the story of the movie for some reason.
The educational value of the game remains questionable to this day, unless you’re looking for a way to teach your four-year-old about the nature of trade tax disputes and theoretical intergalactic politics.
Star Wars: The Gungan Frontier (PC, 1999)
Another Star Wars game that tried to capitalize on the unprecedented popularity of the Gungans from Star Wars Episode 1, The Gungan Frontier tasked players with the job of “introducing organisms to the Naboo moon of Ohma-D’un in an attempt to develop a stable ecosystem capable of supporting Gungan colonization.”
If that tagline doesn’t have you immediately scouring eBay for a used copy of the game, I don’t know what will.
With gameplay that would later be blatantly ripped off in EA’s 2008 hit, Spore, I just can’t imagine why this game failed to take off. Maybe people didn’t like Gungans quite as much as Lucasarts thought they did.
Star Wars: Jedi Arena (Atari 2600, 1983)
The most exciting thing about Star Wars: Jedi Arena is its name, which conjures up images of some kind of lightsaber-based combat arena-style deathmatch.
Instead, this game for the Atari 2600 is based on that one scene in A New Hope where Luke practices his lightsaber skills against a training droid.
Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing (PlayStation 2, 2001)
Following the somewhat surprising success of 1999’s podracing game, Star Wars Episode 1: Racer, Lucasarts decided to see if they could get lightning to strike twice with another racing game, this time taking its cues from Super Mario Kart.
Using the thinly veiled title of Super Bombad Racing, the game featured chibi versions of eight characters from the Star Wars universe — including Yoda, who raced in an armchair — in a kart-style race across nine different tracks.
However, wonky controls and the fact that no-one ever actually asked for a kart-racing Star Wars game saw Super Bombad Racing condemned to the forgotten list of Star Wars video games.
You could say it… bombed bad.