It’s time for a little blast to the past, to the stone age of video gaming’s history: the Atari 2600 era.
The 2600 was a great console with a bunch of great games, some of them were even based on Star Wars. Unfortunately, it also had a bunch of terrible games, some them were even based on Star Wars. Today we’re gonna talk about the worst of the worst: Star Wars Jedi Arena.
The cartridge’s box art: the best thing about the game. That isn’t a good sign
Jedi Arena is simple to define. It’s a multiplayer-focused arena game, based in one little scene from the 1977 movie: the scene where Luke trains with his lightsaber against that little flying ball that eventually shoots him in the butt. Of all scenes they could make a game from, they chose THAT one. Well oh well, how did that turn out?
Look at the picture below. This is the game’s only screen. It is understandable that, during the Atari 2600 days, graphics were really primitive and a lot of imagination had to be used in order to understand what was onscreen. But, for goodness sake, Jedi Arena looks nonsensical. Just compare it to other Star Wars games from the same era. Empire Strikes Back? You can clearly notice a snowspeeder fighting an AT-AT in Hoth. Death Start Battle? If the the Death Star itself looks to ugly for you, you can at least assume you control the Falcon. Jedi Arena? Two colorful pieces of licorice waggling around in a very NSFW way, blocking (not reflecting, as a lightsaber usually does) beams from a little diamond-shaped thingy which flies around. Star Wars!!
If anything, you can always use this as a persian carpet pattern
The game consists in using your neon licorice to block beams shot by the diamond-shaped thingy. At the same time, you can make the thingy shoot a beam at your opponent, which will coincide to how your licorice is being pointed. Basically, you have to block and aim at the same time, trying to attack either the computer or a poor soul playing with you, while the little thingy flies around nonsensically. Before you ask, no, the controls will never respond precisely to your aim. To add insult to injury, the flying diamond will constantly call it quits and start shooting at players randomly and in a berserk-esque fashion, making an ear-bleeding noise at the same time, making the experience even more enjoyable.
The worst part is that this entire paragraph has pretty much summarised everything the game offers.
Notice they don’t even use actual game footage in the game’s own ad
If I haven’t played Life of Black Tiger last month (you can check the review here, by the way), I’d easily say Jedi Arena is the worst bunch of bytes I’ve ever witnessed in my life. Makes you wonder whether or not E.T. was even that awful, or the worst game the Atari 2600 could offer.
I could be here all day complaining about the pure nonsense that is this game, but I truly believe an image is worth more than a thousand words. Better yet, a moving image. Here’s Jedi Arena in its entirety, as a GIF. Try to understand it. Dare to play it. And pretend there’s someone scratching a blackboard at the same time, just so you can pretend you’re playing the game on maximum volume.
You thought E.T. was bad?