In middle school, my best friend and I were playing the original Star Wars: Battlefront game on my family’s shared desktop computer. Fighting a battle on Naboo, I found myself longing to run off into the vast fields without being forced to turn back to the battle zone.
“I want a game where you can just keep going,” I said out loud. “I just want to explore.”
“Why would you want that?” they sneered, finally taking their turn, never straying from the laid-out battlefield. “That sounds dumb.”
But it wasn’t — not to me. To this day, I long for an experience like that — where I can take a mouse or controller and steer my playable character anywhere I want. No objective, no endpoint, no boundary. Just a game where the only thing I’m asked to do is roam the galaxy on my own.
Of course, Star Wars MMOs have been around for a long time. The Old Republic, for example, gives players a lot of freedom to go to a vast set of planets, collect items, battle enemies, and level up your character. That’s closer to what I want, but still doesn’t quite hit the mark for me.
Star Wars: Biomes is also fascinating. It’s a beautiful look at various locations across the galaxy that I like to put on in the background while I’m at work. But it’s a passive means of exploration. I want to be in control. I want full access to the galaxy. I want more.
I think what I’m looking for is some hybrid of The Sims and The Old Republic, and probably a mix of many other Star Wars game elements sprinkled in. I don’t want a story mode that I have to complete in order to unlock things. I like leveling up and completing quests as much as the next person — give me tasks to complete, I want that sweet dopamine rush. But I also want to be able to create a character, complete jobs so I can buy my own ship, maybe make some friends. Build a house. Grow some plants.
But I want to make discoveries about the galaxy at my own leisure. I want to contribute to this virtual, fictional society with a set of skills I’ve acquired and refined on my own. I’ll complete some missions, I’ll even make some bad choices.
The freedom to do all that, though. That’s what I want.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. She’s never heard of Star Wars: Galaxies. She’s never even touched it. What a loser.
False! Galaxies is, again, so very close to my dream Star Wars gaming experience. But! I am a Simmer and also built my foundations as a gamer through virtual city building. I’m not interested in an online multiplayer experience. (I know that’s where the money is, and why MMORPGs like this rely on subscription models to thrive — and sometimes even that isn’t enough). I want everything Galaxies has to offer … I just don’t want to share the galaxy with other “real” players. When I play games, I want to be alone. It’s a time of recharge for me. I want to be left alone.
Logistically, I’ll never get my Sims in Star Wars experience (beyond that Galaxy’s Edge pack in The Sims 4, which doesn’t really count). I’ll never get my solo version of Galaxies. It’s not a financially sustainable ask.
But I can dream. I’ll always have that.
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