Atari - 1983
Machine: Arcade, and many others
Genre: Simulator, Vehicle Shooter
It's not hard to see why Atari ruled the arcades in the 70s and early 80s. They were constantly pushing forward the boundaries of gaming, and Star Wars is the perfect example of this. Blisteringly fast, fully 3D vector graphics, sampled speech, it's very hard to believe this game was made in 1983. To say that it was ahead of it's time is an understatement, this machine was so advanced that despite being ported to just about every computer in the 8 and 16 bit eras none could do it justice.
Still the best Star Wars game on any system, it puts you in the cockpit of an x-wing attacking the Death Star. The game is in three stages: First you have to shoot the Tie-fighters before they shoot you. Then you fly down to the surface of the Death Star and shoot the towers. Lastly you get to fly down the trench and shoot photon torpedoes into the exhaust port to finish. Then you get to go back to the start and do it again only it gets harder each time.
I'm just going to say this again just in case you didn't get it the first time: Fast, 3D space combat in 1983. New Star Wars games come along all the time, each more detailed and complex than the last but still I long for the immediacy and simplicity of this one. This was the game I searched for every time the fair came to town, and I got more game for my 10p credit than many a £1 thrown in the slots of a modern arcade.
Jakey 01 Nov '02
MAME - Don't bother with emulating the many ports on generation three and four computers and consoles, none of them can match the arcade. Mouse control best emulates the arcade controller.
Arcade History's Star Wars page - Much info and trivia.
Wikipedia's Star Wars page - Lots of great information.