Have You Played... Star Wars Battlefront?
Fantasy vs reality
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.
The new one's out right about now, but I feel little pull towards it. Two years ago, I couldn't stop staring at Battlefront screenshots, almost disbelieving about how Star Warsy it looked. What changed?
Two things, I reckon.
One was that even I, embittered old bastard that I am, could not resist the siren call of New Old Star Wars, Star Wars that more-or-less resembled the Star Wars of my youth, as opposed to the gaudy, weightless Star Wars of the previous decade. I bought Lego AT-ATs, I looked at Episode VII spoiler sub-Reddits through my fingers and I read frighteningly, pointlessly long Wikipedia pages about half-remembered characters. And I watched those Battlefront videos and thought, "Gosh, yes, this is the multiplayer shooter for me because it looks a bit like a late-70s/early-80s science fiction movie."
The second thing was that, for all the authentic plastic helmets and pew-pew noises, Battlefront turned out to be just another twitchy online shooter with a Lucasian skin. It was shallow, and it was also a bit miserable unless you really went all-in on becoming great at it - something not entirely compatible with the lifestyle of the jaded dads the adverts tempted into Battlefront by ads suggested a world of do-anything exhilaration. Repeatedly losing a six-player race to the one icon that granted you thirty seconds in an X-Wing was not quite the same as the suggestion you'd be engaged in breathtaking space dog-fights.
But now I know what Battlefront is and know that those lovely 1977 graphics don't really mean anything, and more pertinently, Star Wars is everywhere now, again, and if anything the dark promises of more Star Wars everywhere forever only serves to kill the nostalgia-fuelled enthusiasm of 2015.
However! Give me AT-AT simulator and I will eat every one of these words.