10 years ago, Star Wars made one of the worst video games of all time
I'm lovin' Cloud City, my head's in the sky.
Bizzare dance sequences, terrible visuals, and frustrating motion detection are hallmarks the worst Star Wars video game to date. April 4 marks its 10th birthday and it’s still an absolute trainwreck, possibly even worse than we remember. It’s easy to forget about it since it launched for a gimmicky peripheral that was a notorious flop, but let’s take a moment to reminisce about what made this game so god-awful.
A great disturbance
Kinect: Star Wars wanted to make you feel like a true Jedi? In 2012, Microsoft was still pushing the Kinect, a motion peripheral that tracked your gestures without the need for a controller. On paper, it seemed like a great idea that could potentially compete with the Nintendo Wii, a system that sold more than 100 million units.
So what better way to market the Kinect than to pair it with arguably the biggest franchise of all time, Star Wars? Surely, nothing could go wrong.
There was one major problem — the Kinect tracker wasn’t precise enough to register even the most basic movements. There’s something ironic about being a Jedi—one of the most powerful beings in the galaxy—as your character remains perfectly still as you crazily wave your hands around. From a comedic sense, it’s pure gold, but if you’re trying to enjoy the game as intended, you’re going to have a bad time.
Aside from the horrendous controls, the game is flat-out hideous to look at, with muddy visuals that looked bad even at the time. A decade later, time has not been kind to this game. It looks twice as old as it actually is.
Got a bad feeling about this
We have to talk about the dance mode because it’s easily the most infamous part of this game. Kinect: Star Wars features four main modes, one of which throws players into a Galactic Dance-off.
It plays almost identically to Just Dance, requiring you to match the on-screen cues to get points. While this, in and of itself, doesn’t sound too offensive, the fact that the lightsaber battles were so underdeveloped makes it all the more baffling that a dancing mode was implemented in the first place.
The songs featured are all covers of famous pop tracks with a Star Wars twist. Village People's “Y.M.C.A.” became “Empire Today” and Gwen Stefani's “Hollaback Girl” turned into “Hologram Girl.” Seeing your favorite Star Wars characters dance around was and is painful to watch, yet for some this mode was more polished than the main campaign. Emperor Palpatine doesn’t seem so scary when he’s raising the roof.
Perhaps the most enduring legacy of Kinect: Star Wars has been the song “I’m Han Solo.” This remarkably low-effort “parody” of Jason Derulo’s “Riding Solo,” essentially tosses a handful of proper nouns from the Star Wars universe into a blender and calls it a day. Watch in horror as the coolest smuggler in the galaxy boogies like a tispy uncle at your sister’s wedding!
Anything to love?
So, is Kinect: Star Wars all bad? Well, mostly, but it did launch alongside one of the coolest limited edition consoles ever released. The design of the Xbox 360 console was modeled after R2-D2 and even made “beep boop” noises when turned on. The controller was gold, mirroring everyone’s favorite protocol droid C-3PO, making it an enviable collector for Star Wars fans. This awesome system almost makes Kinect: Star Wars worth it.
Happy Birthday, Kinect: Star Wars, I guess.
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