I have been a table top gamer for almost 30 years. Like most I started with Dungeons & Dragons but true to my geeky nature I was always on the look out for a science fiction themed game. Then in the early to mid 1990’s, after the Thrawn trilogy novels had been released, a friend of mine introduced me to Star Wars The Roleplaying Game by West End Games. A chorus of angels sang and the heavens opened.
For most of decade we, us merry band of smugglers, rebels and Jedi, ventured around a galaxy far, far away. In the theater of our collective imagination we fought the Empire, saved a few days but mostly got in trouble that we barely got out of. The key here is all of these great lightsaber battles, exotic locales and heroic deeds occurred only in our mind’s eye.
Then 1999 happened. For the first time I saw, with wonder, amazement and joy, Jedi cutting through doors and droids. I saw force powers in use like ‘burst of speed’ and ‘force jump’. I saw a vicious Sith warrior fight with a two handed lightsaber.
We saw these things. The little kid in me from 1977 was delighted and thrilled. For years only words and conflicting imagery had sustained us. Dice rolls and in character moments breathed life into our beloved world. Now… now we could see it. Finally me and my merry band understood what our characters had been doing for all those years and we could look to the screen and remember when we did those things too.
I will always be grateful for this. I remember this every time I watch the Phantom Menace. Lucas may have many faults but the prequels are not one of them. He did not ruin my childhood. He enhanced my adulthood.