Star Wars video games have been around for the better part of 30 years. During that time there have been some pretty awesome digital experiences created by some of the best developers the world has to offer, entertaining gamers for endless hours. While the most important component is always the content, there can be no denying we as gamers like the wrapper that holds the goods. The following are some of our favorite box art, spanning more than three decades of virtual adrenaline.
1. Star Wars: TIE Fighter (PC)
When Star Wars: X-Wing hit the scene in the early 1990s the entire gaming world, not to mention die-hard fans, were sent into virtual nirvana! The fantasy of becoming a member of Rogue Squadron and piloting iconic spacecraft from an in-cockpit view was, at that time, the ultimate experience. As a follow-up to the legendary title, LucasArts and renowned gaming designers Lawrence Holland and Edward Kilham, cooked up the perfect sequel in TIE Fighter. As the name implies (to those “in the know” that is), it was now time to take the throttle as a member of the Imperial Navy. The composition of the artwork is simplistic and highly impactful: the ominous image of Darth Vader subtly stands out as a collection Imperial starfighters (all playable in-game) fan out below him, ready to engage anyone foolishly looking for a fight!
2. Star Wars: Republic Commando (Xbox, PC)
Probably the best Star Wars title created by an internal LucasArts’ team — not to mention the best game set in the prequel-trilogy era — Republic Commando rivals Dark Forces as one of the franchise’s top-tier first-person shooters. Playing as Boss, gamers are tasked with leading elite commandos, Delta Squad, against the Separatists’ forces in multiple campaigns that span between the events of Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Featuring a slick, action-packed image the concept behind the game — the squad is your weapon — is certainly conveyed in concept artist Greg Knight’s artwork.
3. Star Wars: Dark Forces (PC, PSOne)
Up until it’s release in 1995, there was no Star Wars game on the market that enabled gamers to battle the forces of the Empire from a first-person perspective. Hot on the heels of the groundbreaking Doom, Dark Forces introduced a new hero into the lexicon, Kyle Katarn: a Force-sensitive mercenary working for the Rebellion to expose the “Dark Trooper” project. While not overly complex in its composition, you really can’t beat the imagery of Imperial stormtroopers rushing through an entryway, E-11 blasters blazing laser fire. Now we know how those Rebel soldiers felt aboard the Tantive IV.
4. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Xbox, PC, Mac)
Arguably one of the best Star Wars games ever created, Knights of the Old Republic ushered in a new level of gaming interactivity. BioWare created a completely immersive cinematic experience featuring more than 60 hours of gameplay, which explored a time in the Star Wars universe that had yet been tapped. The imagery created for the packaging looked more like a poster for one of the prequel movies as opposed to a pedestrian box-art image, which only added to the grandeur of what awaited gamers once they inserted the disc into their favorite gaming device.
5. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Atari 2600)
Call it extreme nostalgia, but when Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back hit the scene in 1982 it was a gamer’s dream come true. Outside of the Star Wars arcade game there was no other way to become the hero of the Rebel Alliance, Luke Skywalker. Better yet, you could play it at home for hours on end! While the game didn’t feature the graphics we’ve come accustomed to today, it still delivered an experience enjoyed by gamers the galaxy over. The box art conveyed exactly what we all hoped for upon inserting the cartridge into our Ataris: flying a snowspeeder into battle against wave after wave of hulking AT-ATs looking to destroy the shield generator.
What are some of your favorite pieces of Star Wars game art? Let us know in the comments below!