There’s no denying the massive impact Star Wars has had on the world, and over the last few decades its influence in pop culture has been clearly felt. From TV shows to movies, there are countless references and Easter eggs. Video games are no exception and some Star Wars characters have popped up in some surprising places. Let’s take a look!
Star Wars cameos and references aren’t exactly new even in the video game world where characters had full roles in games like Soulcalibur IV, or cheeky references/quotes. It happens casually and it’s a testament to how embedded Star Wars has become into our overall culture. Even so, there are still some games that have managed to sneak in Star Wars characters unexpectedly...
Dragon Ball Z: Buu’s Fury
Buu’s Fury on the Game Boy Advance is the third game following on from Legacy of Goku I and II. This trio of games comprises some of my favorites on the handheld, serving up a simple, yet incredibly addictive action RPG that follows the Dragon Ball Z series very well. I’ve often lamented that the larger consoles games haven’t been able to be as engaging as these handheld titles, but it is what it is.
During the game, players will journey to the “Other World” as Goku trains with legendary warriors from all time periods. At one point, gamers will enter into a tournament, and it’s here that eagle-eyed fans will see a popular Star Wars character in the stands. It’s a blink and you miss it moment (hell, even if you’re looking closely it’s easy enough to overlook), but careful inspection will reveal Admiral Ackbar! In fact once you notice him, you'll quickly notice that Ackbar seems to populate a surprising amount of the stadium. I wonder what horrible incident befell his homeworld to have some many end up in the Other World...
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
Tony Hawk games have had a fairly rough run of things over its last few iterations, but the first few games remain something fans cherish. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (THPS) was the first in the series to land on the PS2 and Xbox generation (even bringing in online play) and remains one of the series’ highest rated titles.
The games have always been known for featuring a bunch of unlockable items and challenges for gamers to tackle/uncover. If you’re able to 54 goals in the game, while nabbing all the gold medals in the career mode as Tony Hawk you can unlock the secret character (and my personal favorite), Darth Maul! Of course, you could also you cheat codes, but hey, the fun is in the work you put into it.
Darth Maul features his iconic look from The Phantom Menace and even comes with his own special move within the game. The half-pipe is definitely a strange place to find a Dark Lord of the Sith, but Tony Hawk continued the Star Wars fun in THPS 4, where Jango Fett joined in on the action.
Fallout: New Vegas
Obsidian’s Fallout: New Vegas did a lot to satiate fans eager for another Fallout experience. Using the engine and basic mechanics of Fallout 3, developers were able to move quickly on the title and incorporate some ideas from previous entries in the franchise fans had been wanting. The setting enticed fans as well, and it’s a game that many RPG lovers continue to enjoy even several years after its release.
The Star Wars character appearance in New Vegas is a tad more on the morbid side of things, but in a way that makes it all the better to discover. If you have the Wild Wasteland trait and enter the town of Nipton, near the entrance of the town you’ll find a burned down house. Outside the entrance you’ll find a pair of crispy skeletons, people who obviously suffered the same fate as the house. Put your aiming reticle over them and you’ll see their names are Owen and Beru.
This is, of course, a reference to Luke Skywalker’s unfortunate Aunt and Uncle who are murdered by the Empire while he was away hanging out with a space wizard. It’s a fun, albeit grim, cameo from the galaxy far, far away that manages to work within the apocalyptic setting of Fallout.
Duke Nukem 3D
Duke Nukem 3D took the action franchise and its macho, over-the-top, womanizing ‘hero’ out of the series side-scrolling roots and into the first-person shooter genre. The transition was a smooth one, and its off-kilter humor, level design, and gameplay mechanics made gamers take notice. When many people think of Duke Nukem, even now, this is the game that likely springs to mind.
It was something a little different for the budding FPS genre, and wasn’t afraid to poke fun at itself and the tropes it utilized. There are references to pop culture (and their own games) aplenty within Duke Nukem for gamers to enjoy and laugh about. In the seventh level, Lunar Reactor, of the game’s second episode, Lunar Apocalypse, fans can find none other than Luke Skywalker hanging upside down by the legs.
The reference, of course, is to Luke’s predicament inside the Wampa’s lair during the opening of Empire Strikes Back. Obviously, there’s a sicker twist put on it, as it’s a bloody corpse, which you can blow to pieces with your various hardware. Also, for some reason he’s wearing Stormtrooper armor. Regardless, I think the last place we ever expected to see Luke is in Stormtrooper gear in a Duke Nukem game…
With the Star Wars brand back and bigger than ever with new movies and games for the foreseeable future, its impact on pop-culture will only continue to expand. I wonder what other characters will make unexpected appearances in future games.
Which of these cameos is your favorite? If I missed any, be sure to tell us all about them in the comments below!