|Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic -- Use the Force! It's the "K" key on your keyboard.|
Perhaps the most common species of fanboy (and indeed, fangirl) is the Star Wars fan. Subspecies include real life lightsaber battle club members, senators in amateur Jedi Councils, and anybody who ever uses the term "nerf-herder" in conversation. And they all share one trait in common: when products concerning the Star Wars universe are released, subpar quality will send them into a bout of wampa-like rage.
Bioware launched Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (or KotOR to acronym fanboys), a Star Wars themed role-playing game set many years before Luke and Han (many years even before other beloved characters like Qui-Gon Jinn and the pod-racer Clegg Holdfast), anticipation was high, and the potential for riots by wookie-costumed fans was higher.
Luckily, KotOR proved to be just what the intergallactic doctor ordered. And as fans soaked up the glorious Old Republic goodness of KotOR, they also learned a few things about life -- both in George Lucas's world and on Earth.
1.) Innovation is an exhaustible resource.
Once this kind of stuff is on the market, everybody can probably stop innovating.
Well, as KotOR emphasizes, there is a limit to how advanced things can get for a civilization. After all, KotOR takes place thousands of years before the events of the Star Wars movies, and yet all the technology seems to be pretty much the same. Sure, small improvements occur, and the political and social landscape varies, but once you build spaceships and laser swords you're pretty much just going to spend the next couple millenia making them different colors and palling around with wookies and stuff.
2.) Love is complicated when you have an active career.
"Why is the Force always coming between us, honey?"
3.) Gray areas exist -- even where things seem black and white.
Some complain, with regards to the strict morality system employed by KotOR, that people are not so simple. That not every decision has a good solution and an evil solution -- most choices fall somewhere in between, usually not entirely pure and usually not motivated totally by malice, either.
And it's true, KotOR (and the Star Wars universe in general) makes a harsh distinction between light side and dark side actions. And those actions have reprecussions -- from the effect they have on personal relationships to the effect they have on the power of your psychic chokehold.
But one thing that KotOR does is, almost without fail, give players a chance to change their mind. No matter how nefarious you've been up to a certain point, there is always time to repent, switch your lightsaber crystal back from red to green, and fight the good fight. Likewise, no matter how noble and kind your actions thus far have been, there is always time to begin a spree of murder and wickedness.
For a world split up into the light and the dark, it's nice for those fans of Star Wars who appreciate nuance to know that at least one can become the other at a moment's notice.
4.) That said, if you want to be evil, your options are manifold.
Can you out-evil this guy?
For instance -- is your character simple pretty evil? Conventionally evil? Like, he'll murder those who stand in his way, seize power at any price, et cetera, et cetera?
Or is your guy the type of dude who, when facing mild criticism from a plucky little blue alien orphan, use the Force to coerce that little blue alien's best friend into killing her in cold blood before your eyes?
Some of the options in KotOR are so fucked up that one wonders if the Marquis de Sade was a story consultant on the game. And it's exactly this commitment to a rich variety of choices that makes KotOR such a seminal game.
5.) Meatbags blow.
Commentary: if you learn nothing else from this game, you should at least understand that you are a worthless organic meatbag.