Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Eric Vs. 365 - Day 38 - Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire

For day 38 of Eric Vs. 365 we played Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire for N64. It wasn't a great game in '96 and hasn't aged particularly well, but for rabid Star Wars fanboys back in the day it was pretty much perfect. Video spoilers: We DON'T do the Battle of Hoth and talk a lot about how the Original Trilogy Special Editions don't actually suck. This one's a real winner. Keep reading for more.

When Shadows of the Empire released in 1996 I was a huge, huge, huge Star Wars fan at the tender age of 13. I got the VHS re-releases of the movies for Christmas 1995 (before then I only saw them during the holidays when USA Network would have a marathon) and had read every Star Wars paperback that came out up to that point. I got the Shadows of the Empire hardcover book for my birthday that year, too. Then in the summer of '96 I got a VHS in the mail from Nintendo Power that was all about the new Nintendo 64 and featured Shadows of the Empire. I was in love. 

Star Wars video games, at least on consoles, had been pretty poor up to that point, so Shadows of the Empire featuring the Battle of Hoth and space battles and running around shooting Stormtroopers was the coolest thing ever. I couldn't wait to play it. I was so excited. And, at the time, it more than lived up to the hype. The sound effects and music were straight out of the movies and it looked so amazing back then. 

Of course, now we all know that a lot of Shadows of the Empire is annoying and not fun - even while playing it for this video I was like "I don't want to play this level" a lot - but it still holds a special place in my heart. It's a throwback to my carefree and naive younger days where you could just enjoy things without loudmouths on the Internet ruining everything.

Speaking of loudmouths on the Internet ruining everything, here's an icy cold take I've been sitting on for 22-years - The Special Editions are fine and better than the original cuts. There. I said it. The extended musical number in "Jedi" notwithstanding, pretty much every other change is either innocuous or makes the movies better. The truth is that most of the added scenes are just a few scant seconds of environmental shots or little things to add more flavor to the movies. They don't change anything and certainly don't detract from the movies so much that you can't enjoy the Special Editions. And the more controversial changes - namely Greedo shooting first - DOESN'T FREAKING MATTER AT ALL YOU MORONS. Likewise, Han meeting with Jabba in EP4 makes sense (even if the scene itself is clumsy). Also, "Yub Nub" sucked.

The point is, none of those changes make the movies objectively worse outside of manchild headcanon that was never correct to begin with. I could definitely understand the viewpoint that they also don't make them better, but the amount of hate the Special Editions get for what amounts to mostly insignificant changes is just weird. Like, I feel embarrassed for you if you're a grown ass adult still mad that Han didn't shoot first.