The Dream of a Lightsaber Simulator

Every young boy (and many girls) have had the same dream after watching Star Wars for the first time – using a lightsaber. We’ve all tried desperately to replicate what it would actually be like to hold that glowing bar of energy in our hands. Sticks in the backyard, empty cardboard rolls of wrapping paper, cheap plastic toy replicas. All temporarily satiated our desire for the real thing, but in the backs of our minds we all really wanted something more.

While the reality of actually constructing a lightsaber was out of reach, the quickly evolving technology of video games seemed to offer the next best thing, a genuine lightsaber simulator. The most important aspect of any dream lightsaber simulator game would be perfect one to one movement, so every intricate swing of the controller in your hands would be perfectly replicated on the screen. Using it would have to feel like how one would imagine using a lightsaber would actually be like. When the Wii was first announced in 2006 with its motion controlled Wiimote, the lightsaber simulator dream seemed on the horizon.

However, when lightsaber games were finally released on the Wii, the dream started to slip away. The Wiimote’s sensors were not up to the task, and instead of the perfect one to one movement needed for a true lightsaber simulator, you would swing the Wiimote, which would then activate a preset movement in the character. This was not what anyone truly wanted, and no where near the exactness needed to live up to the lightsaber dream.

So we all waited, hoping the technology would soon appear that would allow the dream to live. When Nintendo released the Wii MotionPlus accessory that supposedly increased the Wiimotes accuracy exponentially, this seemed the breakthrough needed to finally allow for the lightsaber simulator to exist. Yet, LucasArts never released a Star Wars game that utilized the technology. We were left with Star Wars games that, while they included lightsabers, were unable to meet the one to one expectations we all had.

Soon Playstation 3 got the Move and the Xbox 360 got the Kinect, both motion sensing technologies that seemed like they might give us our lightsaber dreams. Yet for some reason LucasArts failed to utilize these technologies properly, and none of the subsequent Star Wars games had anything close to a lightsaber simulator. There was a promising title called Kinect Star Wars, but it was awful and only seemed to tease us by alluding to what we all really, really wanted.

Now Microsoft has announced the Xbox One, and the promise of an upgraded Kinect to fully immerse you in the game. Could this be the technology that will finally give us what we want? Could we finally see the lightsaber simulator and live out our childhood fantasy of dueling with Darth Vader?

I don’t know, and the past has given me less hope. LucasArts was recently sold to Disney, who have apparently licensed the Star Wars games to EA. Maybe EA will be the savior that can finally deliver the dream. If the technology is ready, there is no way EA shouldn’t use it and allow us to truly experience the lightsaber duels we’ve always imagined.

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