March 27, 2011
Our Favorite Games
No matter how long you have been in the industry, whether it be 5 years of 25 years there is always that one game that holds a special place in your heart. It could be the latest release of Halo: Reach or back to an old Atari game that nobody has played in two decades. I got to thinking about this the other day realizing that most games barely hold my interest for more then a few months before I shelve them to most likely never play them again and to most likely to forget after some time. I probably own of 400 games across multiple platforms including the PC, Wii, PS3, PS2, Xbox360, N64 and so forth. However there is always that one game that stuck in the back of my head years after I had played it and I still find myself engrossed by the title more then a decade after its release. I still find myself playing this game even though its graphical splendor of the time has long been surpassed by leaps and bounds however that doesn’t stop me from going back to it.
Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II is that one game that still holds that special place in my heart. I’m not quite sure why that was… perhaps it was the fact that is one of the first few games I ever owned. I remember clearly that my parents bought a computer back in 95/96 that could actually play games and as a present they bought me 3 games. Those games were Interplays Starfleet Academy, Lucasarts Xwing vs Tie Fighter and Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. I should mention that this was a hard choice for me between Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II and Xwing vs Tie Fighter as I played both titles to great extent for several years and I even got involved modding community back when they were released because of how much support there was for the games.
Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II is arguably the best star wars title to date when it comes to the FPS genre and perhaps the entire Star Wars video game franchise. It could be argued that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a better game but I guess that’s a matter of opinion and for me at least the pinnacle Star Wars title to date has been Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II.
JK:DF2 is actually still being played today and still has a very strong community supporting it. The game embodies everything that has ever been good about PC gaming and the Star Wars franchise. The story developed for it was top notch and it featured the first live action Star Wars scenes filmed since the original trilogy and while one could say they were cheesy to my 12 year old mind they were just as captivating as the original trilogy. JK:DFII was the first game to really push the limits of the FPS genre since doom and it could be argued that it’s one of the FPS titles of all time in the way it changed the industry and it pushed the graphical boundaries of the time by utilizing both Open GL and Direct3D.
I mentioned earlier that JK:DF2 embodied everything that is good about classic PC gaming. I say this because outside of Half Life JK:DF2 has or had one of the largest modding communities. In fact there is still modding work being doing for JK:DFII and it’s worth mentioning that one of Counter Strikes original developers was part of that modding community. The game is over 14 years old now and there are still people working to create new content for it. There has been a complete graphics re haul patch in the form of JK Enhanced Mod which changes the textures and helps boost the overall graphical performance of the game. The wonderful thing about the modding community is that it boosts the overall longevity of the game. After I beat the game I made countless enhancements to the game including new weapons, lightsabers and force powers and in addition to these many modders made new single and multiplayer levels. JK:DFII was completely moddable and because of this people are still playing and buying it to this day. I myself have personally purchased the game four times. There still several modding communities going strong for JK:DFII such as Massassi Temple and JKhub and if you are still into the game I highly suggest checking out these communities.
In closing I guess it could be my favorite game of all time because its the first game I really ever played hardcore on the PC or perhaps its just a game from a bygone era where games had more attention paid to their story and community support then they did making money. It’s most likely a combination all of these but regardless I find myself still thinking about this game today even though its day in the sun has long passed. I’ve always said that gaming development industry is not longer about making a good game instead its about maximizing a profit. JK:DFII is a game from an age where video game development and creation was still an art form and less about making hundreds of millions of dollars from constant repetitive releases. Developers focused on making a QUALITY game with good content at release and if the game was a success they would release a content filled expansion pack. JK is and always will be a classic example about what is good about the PC gaming industry and the gaming industry in general.
If you haven’t played it I recommend you do. You can pick up JK:DFII, it’s expansion and it’s sequels from steam for $20. There is a great deal of gameplay content across all of the titles and if you are looking for a quality game you won’t be disappointed. If you would like to check it out you can purchase it from steam here.
What is your favorite game? What is that one title that you can always go back to and still feel the same sense and wonderment that you did when you first played it and why?