Star Wars has the Guinness World Record of being one of the “most successful film merchandising franchise”. Before the subsequent trilogies afterwards, many would argue that is one of the most perfect franchises in cinema. As such it has built up a fandom that is right for the targeting. In 1997 Parroty Interactive changed tracks, aiming bigger at not just a single property but an entire fandom, in their send-up of the original Star Wars trilogy, devilishly named: Star Warped.
This interactive C.D. has a plot, you meet two Star Wars obsessed fans Aaron & Brian and peruse their bedrooms for franchise related minigames and props. More specifically hearing these fans talk about all this stuff, while you admire how much effort went into making this disc. Their commentary helps guide you through the jokes and often provides more jokes of its own. The voice actors capture the caricatures well, with recognisable names of Robbie Rist and Brian Posehn behind them. There is a vault that locks away even more content (and the menu hides these three options away until you unlock it). The boys kindly give you a clue on how to unlock it (for those who get stuck).
Star Warped, like its predecessor, despite looking like it has less content, doesn’t appear to waste a single kilobyte of its C.D. space with content, this includes animations and catalogues of recorded dialogue. The gameplay consists of discovering what objects correspond with certain commentary, and what trigger the many minigames the disc contains. Though you’re given a menu at the start if you want to get straight to the action and there is a fair selection of them. One imagines how different directors handle the films, e.g. how Tarantino would use Samuel L. Jackson as Han Solo, (remember this was before the prequels). It works better seeing it in person, but if that discretion enticed you, there are many more games like it.
The games themselves are simple but have a certain charm, and if given a couple of years of waiting time, would have made some excellent flash games. It is clear the writers are passionate about the material they are working with. The send-up of different countries approaches to movie posters is something I see joked about today. With the polarizing fan reaction to The Phantom Menace just around the corner, there is a feeling that if Parroty just waited they could have struck gold, but as a send-up the Original Trilogy and the masses of Extended Universe content. It works well and helps keep everything focused.
While the world of Star Wars and its fandom is a bountiful field of comedy to pluck. Star Warped zings the franchise and more. If Parroty lasted a little longer it is easy to see how they could have sequealised the concept. Some of its jokes and concepts feel strangely prophetic with hindsight while others feel like children of their time. Overall, it’s quite nostalgic to look back at a time that feels far far away and a long time ago.
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