Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
The one who will bring balance to the Force: the Star Wars game that is simultaneously the worst Star Wars game and the best Star Wars game. Depending, of course, on who you ask.
And if they say worst, they are mad and dangerous and at the very least haven’t played that kart racing one with the big heads.
Teeny, top-down adventure (for lack of a better word) game Yoda Stories in hindsight feels like it came from a later age of Star Wars – today’s age, specifically, the age when we see daily BoingBoing stories about C-3PO slipper-socks or an energy-efficient lampshade made of old Jawa figurines. An age when, no matter how much portentousness The Force Awakens’ marketing might try to conjure up, everything Star Wars has been cutseified and re-merchandised to infinity. Yoda Stories took Star Wars, several years before its big Special Edition comeback, and wilfully made it silly.
It also zoomed in on and then blew up a small portion of Star Wars – Yoda dickishly making Luke Skywalker perform menial chores on Dagobah – and made it into a full game. That’s something Star Wars games and merch and comics do constantly now.
I’m not saying it’s a great game. The repetitive tasks and the fiddly combat are rapidly miserable. But it was picking up the delightfulness of Star Wars, and the characterfulness which informs much of today’s adult ardour around it, long before that became the norm. Yoda Stories, in other words, understood Star Wars some time before Star Wars entirely understood Star Wars.
It also pre-dated the faux-retro, consciously downplayed graphical style that has informed so many latter-day indie games. Basically, Yoda Stories was the first Star Wars hipster.