Steven Spielberg Has A Star Wars Arcade Cabinet In 2023

In a recent, wide-ranging interview with late-night host Stephen Colbert, uber-successful director Steven Spielberg talked about his family, his long career, and his love of films. But we aren’t here to talk about that. Instead, what’s that over there behind you Stephen and Steven? Is that…oh yup. It’s a Star Wars arcade cabinet.

Steven Spielberg is the director behind hit films like Jurassic Park, Jaws, and Schindler’s List. He’s been making films for over 50 years now and is often cited as one of the greatest and most successful directors in history. And as part of the ongoing awards season, Spielberg sat down with Stephen Colbert on the March 2nd episode of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to chat about many things, but also to specifically talk about his recent, Oscar-nominated film The Fabelmans. And it’s a great film. I loved it. However, I was distracted during the interview by an Atari Star Wars arcade cabinet hanging out in Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment headquarters.

CBS

A little research reveals the cabinet seen in the video isn’t original. Instead, based on the shape and artwork, it appears to be the 1up Star Wars Arcade cabinet that went on sale in 2019. It’s not a full-sized cabinet, at only four feet tall, but it does include a riser that makes it taller and easier to play. (You can see the riser underneath the cabinet in the video.) This 1up cabinet collects all three Atari Star Wars arcade games into a playable collection, letting you easily swap between the three via a menu. Today, these games—especially the original Star Wars arcade release—are considered all-time classics. Fun fact: Atari’s Empire Strikes Back arcade game came out after its Return of The Jedi game and years after Empire had premiered.

Steven Spielberg’s history with video games

Interestingly, because this came out in 2019, it means that this isn’t some old cabinet he bought when he was younger, but likely something he bought (or asked someone to buy) recently. That might seem surprising, but Spielberg has long had a connection to video games, even before directing 2018’s okay-but-not-great Ready Player One adaptation.

ET

For example, in 1982, he talked about how much he loved playing games like Donkey Kong and Tempest, explaining that these games “massage” his ego and gave him a thrill instantly, unlike making movies. And in 2005, Spielberg was working with EA on a game with the working title of LMNO about an alien woman that you save and help hide during a road trip across the United States. Spielberg requested the game have no gunplay and instead focus on puzzles. That game would eventually get canned in 2010. However, in 2008, Spielberg and EA released Boom Blox, a physics-based party game for all ages that the director created because he wanted more games he could play with his kids.

It’s fun to see that, even at 76 years old, Spielberg is still playing video games and likes to have them around. Or maybe he keeps that arcade machine in his office to remind himself of all the money he’s made off a silly bet between him and George Lucas.

The Best Advance Wars Clone Is Getting A Sequel

Pirates fight one another in a jungle.

Screenshot: Chucklefish / Kotaku

Wargroove was a very good 2019 strategy game that featured beautiful pixel art and played a lot like the Advance Wars games. Now it’s getting a sequel.

Indie studio Chucklefish announced Wargroove 2 on Wednesday by way of a short teaser trailer. While there’s no release date yet, the new grid-based tactics game will feature additional commanders, factions, and battle mechanics. It will also support local and online co-op and multiplayer, and most importantly, feature a new roguelike mode.

Here’s the trailer:

If you’re unfamiliar with Wargroove, it’s basically a fantasy spin on Advance Wars. You control a series of squads that move around a square grid like chess pieces, fighting enemy units and taking over buildings to gain resources that can be used to add more allies to the battlefield. “It looks great, it’s not too hard to understand, and it’s fun moment-to-moment,” wrote Keza MacDonald in her review for Kotaku.

As someone who’s been enjoying Hitman 3’s dramatic transformation after experimenting with roguelike mechanics by way of its recent freelancer mode, I’m excited to see how a roguelike mode potentially adds new limitations and stakes to the solid bones of the first Wargroove’s combat (the story, while fine in the original, wasn’t really what I was there for).

This time around, Chucklefish is partnering with Robotality. It’s unclear which studio is taking the lead on the project, since the former is also currently developing pirate-themed game Wayward Tide and magic school RPG Witchbrook. Robotality previously developed Pathway, a fun little strategy roguelite that mixes Indiana Jones and XCOM.

The original Wargroove came out before Nintendo announced the first and second Advance Wars were getting a remake collection. Despite Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp coming this April after a year-long delay, there’s still plenty of room for spiritual successors, not least of all because the Nintendo Switch remakes completely ditched the pixel art style that fans of the originals first fell in love with. Wargroove 2 can’t come soon enough.

New Star Wars Book Expands Fallen Order’s Saltiest Cutscene

In the recently released book, Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars, Cal Kestis and his crew are together again, completing missions and having fun fighting the Empire. But one small moment early on in the book reveals that your alien pilot, Greez, didn’t put all that salt on his food by accident. Instead, it seems like he or his species are just really into our most abundant condiment.

In EA and Respawn’s 2019 Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, we are introduced to former Jedi Cal and his crew of misfits, which includes a short and gruff alien named Greez. He’s the crew’s pilot and also, from time to time, acts as the ship’s chef. And in one infamous cutscene—while former Jedi Cal has an intense discussion with Jedi Master Cere—Greez can be seen pouring salt onto his meal for a solid minute. This unassuming background gag is one of the funniest bits in the entire game. But now, in a new book set after the events of Fallen Order (and before next month’s sequel, Survivor) we learn that Greez is always going to spend a full minute salting his blue goop.

EA / Lucasfilm / The Business Gamer

Early in the new book, Cal is sneaking into an out-of-the-way space pirate base. To reach the base undetected he puts on a spacesuit and hops across floating rocks and asteroids to reach an energy barrier protecting the base. He presses his head and body through the shield, which is only designed to keep oxygen in the base and not keep Jedi out.

As he pushes his way through, he compares the feeling to pushing a fork into Greez’s “Gelatin Surprise” in that the shield—and that meal—“pushed back” a bit. More importantly for all you Star Wars condiment trivia lovers out there is that the “surprise”—according to Cal—is just the large amount of salt in Greez’s gelatin dish. In fact, Cal’s exact thoughts are it’s “full of salt,” emphasis his.

Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars is filled with fun Easter Eggs

It’s a nice touch by author Sam Maggs to connect the book to the original game in a way that rewards fans who played the first and also builds out the relationship between the crew. I can imagine Cal sitting at the table while poking and prodding at some odd gelatin filled with salt that seems inedible. But he’s nice and likes Greez so he endures.

The rest of the book, which I’m about halfway through right now, is filled with little moments that connect back to the game, including more information about how Cal and his droid communicate and how everybody is impressed by all the cool jumping and wall-running Cal does. Guess they don’t meet many video game protags.

Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars is out now and available wherever you buy books or ebooks. And Star Wars Jedi: Survivor launches on April 28 on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

6 Cool Details In The New Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Trailer

The latest story trailer for Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi: Survivor drops some new tidbits that have me excited to play Respawn’s upcoming sequel to its fantastic 2019 soulslike action game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, out next month, is set five years after the events of the first game, Fallen Order. As before, Survivor will follow Cal Kestis and his crew of loveable misfits as they outrun, outsmart, and outlast the Empire. Kestis is a Jedi, which makes him a high-priority threat to the Empire. And having survived an encounter with Darth Vader and his Jedi-hunting Inquisitors in the last game, Kestis and his ragtag crew will now have a more surprising villain to deal with: another Jedi.

Respawn / EA / Lucasfilm

Out today, Survivor’s new story trailer isn’t very long, but it’s jam-packed with interesting details and nuggets of information. Here are six cool things we spotted in the trailer that we think you might care about!

Cal will visit the city planet of Coruscant

Remember that big city world from the Star Wars prequels? The same one seen in Andor, too. Well, it seems that Cal will be visiting Coruscant in Survivor. Keep in mind that at this point in the Star Wars timeline, Coruscant is the literal capital of the Empire. It’s the planet the Emperor hangs out on when he’s not out doing evil Sith lord shit, so not the safest place for a Jedi to visit. Must be a very important mission.

One of the Bedlam Raiders is a Gen’dai

Apparently, this was something Respawn confirmed earlier this year, but considering that we get a good look at raider Rayvis in this trailer, I figured it would be worth shouting out. That big alien in the armor? They’re a Bedlam Raider known as Rayvis, and he’s a Gen’dai. What’s that? It’s a very hard-to-kill alien species made up of regenerating, worm-like appendages. Bounty Hunter Durge, from the animated Clone Wars mini-series, is a member of this species. If Cal has to fight Rayvis, expect a tough boss battle.

Merrin and Greez return (and have new looks)

A screenshot shows Cal, Merrin, Greez and droid BD-1 looking at a hologram.

Screenshot: EA / Respawn / Lucasfilm / Kotaku

While I assumed Cal’s crew of loveable scamps would show up in the new game, it was nice to finally see them in this story trailer. Since it’s been five years, Nightsister Merrin and salt-loving pilot Greez look different. I personally like their new looks. Merrin in particular looks fantastic. I like her modern take on an emo space witch. Oh and if you’re wondering what happened to Greez’s arm, well…you might want to read Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars, a novel set after Fallen Order but before Survivor. (Or just look it up on Wookieepedia.)

The big bad villain might be a fallen Jedi from the past

Okay, so if you don’t know anything about the High Republic era of Star Wars, here’s a very condensed summary: Its a new era of the franchise created a few years back that exists mostly in books and comics and tells the story of the Jedi at their prime about 200 or so years before the events seen in The Phantom Menace.

Now, in this trailer, we get a good look at the possible Jedi seen in the very first Survivor trailer. Back then he was hanging out in a stasis chamber of some kind. In this new teaser, he’s walking around in his full High Republic Jedi robes and he seems mad that Cal and the other Jedi let the galaxy fall to the Empire. I expect he’s going to be willing to do anything to save the old system, even if it means teaming up with raiders and turning to the dark side of the Force.

Where’s Cal’s Jedi master, Cere?

In this trailer we only get one brief shot of Cere, the Jedi master who helped Cal reconnect with the Force in the last game. She’s sporting a new look, and seems a bit more chill. This ties in with the recent Battle Scars book, in which she’s become focused on reclaiming past relics of the Jedi Order in hopes of passing down its traditions and history to future generations. Maybe she won’t play as big a role in this adventure as last time, but it’s still nice to see her here as she is great and I’d hate for her to be sidelined entirely.

Wait a minute, was that Moraband?

A man walks through a orange dust storm on a weird alien planet.

Screenshot: EA / Respawn / Lucasfilm / Kotaku

At one point in the trailer, we briefly see Cal trekking through a red dust storm on what appears to be a pretty barren world. Now, this could be a brand-new planet. It could be Genosis from the prequels. It could be a planet ripped from a comic I’ve never read. But it also could be Moraband, an ancient planet with deep ties to the evil Sith. It’s appeared in comics and the Clone Wars and it looks an awful lot like what see a glimpse of in the trailer.

Considering the last game let us explore Dathomir, another planet with dark connections to weirder parts of Star Wars, I could see Moraband fulfilling a similar role. And if I was an ancient Jedi seeking to reclaim the galaxy, I might visit some Sith planets to find more power. Just saying!


And that’s the coolest and most interesting bits I picked up from the new trailer. We don’t have long to wait to play Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. The game’s coming out April 28 on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

Sick Fortnite Map Is Like Spider-Man Meets Star Wars

Another day, another wild showcase of talent in the new Unreal Editor for Fortnite. This latest one, titled “Cyber Rush,” is by a creator called CooliSushi and combines moody cyberpunk visuals and energetic electronic music with a speedy aerial highway action montage that easily brings to mind the opening of Star Wars: Episode II or the chase sequence from the Mass Effect 2 DLC, Lair of the Shadow Broker.

Since its reveal last month, Fortnite’s “Creative 2.0” era has been off to a remarkable start. Back in December Fortnite upgraded to Unreal Engine 5.1, and the new editor harnesses its strengths and versatility to let creators go to town with the fancy new tech. They’ve already released some very impressive maps and mini-games, which are easily shared via simple 12-digit codes you can enter in Fortnite. One of the latest must-play experiences features some fancy grappling action in a fast-paced, cyberpunk highway.

Creator CooliSushi revealed their sick new map, Cyber Rush, in a tweet a few days ago, and it quickly gained attention with its visuals, gameplay, and soundtrack.

The lush lights spilling out from speeding vehicles and highrise buildings provide a beautiful, dynamic environment for high-stakes grappling action and some quick shootouts, so this is definitely one you’ll want to try—and flip ray tracing on if you have the horsepower. You can download Cyber Rush with map code 6124-8356-0703.

How to download and play Cyber Rush in Fortnite

If you haven’t downloaded a creative map in Fortnite before, it’s fairly straightforward. Make sure you have the map code handy (you can copy and paste it easily on PC), and launch Fortnite. Select the game type on the right-hand side of the screen (you can just hit X on an Xbox controller, or Square on PlayStation).

Watch: These Great Fortnite Creative Maps Show Us What’s Possible 

Head on over to the Island Code tab and enter in the code you copied. Provided the code’s correct, you’ll then be able to download and jump into the map.

Cyber Rush is a fun and pretty-looking jam to play through, but you’ll want to be careful not to try and grapple off any buildings, as per the game’s tips. I also found that aiming-down-sights can reduce your peripheral vision in a way that might interrupt the fun a bit and cause you to fall to your death more often. Try to stick to the center areas of the highways, and plan to jump high. There’s no grapple prompt, so you’ll want to try and get as close as possible to the vehicle you’re trying to grapple off of to ensure a successful swing.

We’re not even a full month into the Unreal Editor for Fortnite’s life and maps like Cyber Rush are showing just how exciting this tool can be. Keep it coming.

Star Wars Brings Back Daisy Ridley As Rey In Jedi Order Sequel

Rey holds a light saber in The Force Awakens.

Image: Lucasfilm / Disney

Daisy Ridley’s role in the Star Wars universe isn’t over. Disney announced that The Force Awakens actress will return as Rey “Skywalker” in a sequel to the most recent Star Wars trilogy as the character seeks to bring back the Jedi Order again.

One of three new films announced at Star Wars Celebration 2023 in London on Friday, it will be directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy with a script by Steven Knight. All Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy really said about it was that Rey would be looking for fresh force-sensitive recruits in the formation of a new Jedi Academy. I’m sure nothing will go wrong this time either.

The character of Rey has at times been a lightning rod for controversy in the Star Wars fandom over the course of the troubled Episode VII through IX trilogy, not least of all because she was a woman, a pedestrian factoid that nonetheless drove some self-proclaimed fans into endless internet tizzies.

More recently, The Rise of Skywalker made the bizarre choice to retcon her parentage, switching her backstory from that of a nobody to the weird child clone of Emperor Palpatine, compounding some of the worst lore choices from original creator George Lucas’ own beleaguered prequel movies. Rey’s character has also been an unceasing source of fanfic fascination, with her fraught romance with Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren spawning a million Tumblr debates, now simply known as the “Reylo” wars.

This newly announced The Rise of Skywalker sequel also raises some new questions about how Disney will frame this New Jedi Order period in the Star Wars timeline. Director and writer Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi did a lot to try and tear down the existing mystique and hackneyed tropes surrounding the Skywalker family drama, while J.J. Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker attempted to bandage them back together. Rey forming a new Jedi Academy just as Luke did certainly feels like business as usual and another soft reboot of the repetitive cycle. But maybe not.

Lucasfilm announced a bunch of other new Star Wars content as well, including two other additional films that will each be set in different parts of the fiction’s timeline. So far none of them have titles or release dates though.

8 Things In Star War’s Ashoka Trailer That Has Us Hyped TF Up

A Loth-cat in Ahsoka series

Screenshot: Disney / Lucasfilm

These adorable little guys should be in every Star Wars thing. Loth-cats are native to Lothal, an Outer Rim planet that is a key location in the Rebels series, and will clearly be one in Ahsoka, as well. At the start of the reign of the Galactic Empire, Lothal invited the Empire to come take over its industries in the hopes that it would fix its economic struggles. The Empire did, at first, but stripped the planet of all its natural resources and fought off several rebellions. Sucks.

But we’re talking about Loth-cats here. These guys are fucking adorable. Look at their little smushed faces. Their black olive eyThey’re carnivorous little fox-cats that can get quite spicy when cornered, but are also sold as pets in Batuu. There’s a Loth-cat in The Mandalorian, too: It snarls at Grogu from under a table on the planet Sorgan.

It seems Sabine’s Loth-cat is a pet, and a very cute one at that, but I’m excited to see it be a bit of a nuisance, too.

Grab 14 (Mostly) Good Star Wars Games For $21

Over a dozen Star Wars PC games from the past three decades are currently on sale in one big bundle. Normally, it would cost you about $100 to get them all, but for the next few days, you can grab all of these games, including greats like Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars Republic Commando, for only $21.

Long ago in a galaxy far, far away some wild space stuff happened involving laser swords, alien monks, and evil dudes who love black robes. This became the franchise known as Star Wars, created by a young George Lucas in the ‘70s. Since then, the films have gone on to become massive box office hits and inspired countless games, books, comics, spin-offs, and reactionary right-wing rants on YouTube. While we can’t help with the comics, what if you could get 14 Star Wars games for less than the price of a carton of Coruscant death sticks? Well, this isn’t science fiction my friend, this is reality, at least for the next few days.

Fanatical is currently offering a 14-game “Star Wars Collection” for $21. The deal ends in four days, on April 16. So don’t wait around too much, especially because some of these games are really good. And some are just fine. And some are, well, Clone Wars: Republic Heroes. They can’t all be winners.

Here’s the full list of included games:

  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  • Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
  • Star Wars: Republic Commando
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
  • Star Wars: Dark Forces
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
  • Star Wars: Empire at War
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II (2005)
  • Star Wars: Starfighter
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Republic Heroes

Fanatical’s codes for this bundle will provide you with copies of each game on Steam. (This is a deal for PC users only, so sorry, console players.) Meanwhile, if all you care about are the Jedi Knight games, Fanatical has a separate bundle of only those five. This bundle is regularly $20 but is on sale for $4.20. (This deal also ends on April 16.)

Of course, if you want to know more about Star Wars video games, you can always check out our thoughts on the best Star Wars games ever made. Or you can check out our coverage of the upcoming EA and Respawn sequel, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. But if you’re more the “shoot first” type, by all means, go ahead and score one of these extremely discounted bundles.

VR Star Wars Jedi Outcast Game Looks Absolutely Incredible

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast was first released in 2002. It was, and remains to this day, one of the best Star Wars games ever made, a near-perfect blend of the original Dark Forces’ FPS combat with third-person lightsaber combat that even modern games could take notes from.

If you went and played the game as nature intended in 2023, it would be great! But this standalone port/version, provided you’ve got the hardware, looks like a huge—and decidedly more modern—improvement. It takes the original Jedi Outcast and gives the player full VR support, along with the ability to wield your lightsaber via motion controls and use force powers via hand gestures.

I need to be clear when saying the original was a very good video game in every respect. But people’s lingering memories of it, especially in the wake of Fallen Order’s all-ages combat, was the way you could absolutely go to town on Stormtroopers with your lightsaber, something this trailer is very aware of:

JK-XR: Outcast – Jedi Knight II VR – Release Trailer

It’s called JK-XR, and was created by fans as a “standalone VR port” of the original, which means this is a complete reworking of Jedi Outcast’s engine with an all-new download (though you’ll still need a copy of the original for everything else). That explains why the team have been able to cater this so specifically to VR, down to the new weapon and force power menus.

You can download it here if you’ve got the hardware (Pico 4 and Quest 2/Pro) on PC and want to try it out. The available demo can be played on its own, no extra download required, but like I just said if you want to play the full game you’ll need a legal copy of the original, which is still available on all major PC digital shopfronts.

The Disc Version Of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Is Incomplete

The next big Star Wars game is nearly here and it sounds way too big for the Blu-ray disc it’s copied on. Jedi: Survivor requires 155 GB of available space to install on PC, and a warning on the front of the box indicates at least some of the data will have to be downloaded, whether you own a physical version of the game or not.

The New Zealand retailer Mighty Ape Games shared a photograph on Twitter of hard copies of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor arriving in advance of its April 28 release. Users on Reddit (via VGC) quickly noticed a warning on the PS5 case that read “download required.” That means the disc alone wouldn’t be enough to play the game. Instead, an online connection would be required to finish its installation.

EA confirmed as much on its website, stating a day-one patch would be required to play the game. DoesItPlay, which tracks which games work just off the disc, claims players can begin Jedi: Survivor but can’t proceed after the first mission until the patch is installed. That puts it in the same boat as Hogwarts Legacy, which lets players complete the tutorial but locks the rest of the game behind a day-one patch.

Exactly how much data would need to be downloaded to make the game playable is unclear. While the total size of the game on PS5 isn’t yet confirmed, the Xbox landing page states players on Microsoft’s platform will need up to 133.97 GB for the Xbox Series X version. Still, even if the online installation size was minimal, it would still mean the game can’t function offline, at least not at first.

While players have become used to that requirement for online multiplayer games, it still remains rare for single-player ones. 2021’s Halo Infinite (96.43 GB) was one of the more notable blockbuster releases to be incomplete on the disc version of the game, despite its multiplayer being a separate free-to-play mode. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, meanwhile, didn’t bother to put any data on the disc, essentially being just an authentication key to begin the over 200 GB download process.

Though understandable in some situations, making some big games digital-only can have huge consequences for game preservation down the road. In the event that companies go under, or server support for old platforms eventually goes offline, games like Jedi: Survivor would become inaccessible, despite not actually requiring any online connection to play the game itself.

Some games have gotten around Blu-ray data limits by adding data discs to the physical versions. Red Dead Redemption 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 both have those, letting players access the 1.00 versions of the game with the discs alone. But as the new-gen console push for 4K graphics increases file sizes, that might not be a practical solution either, at least for companies looking to cut manufacturing costs wherever possible.

Locking some content behind a digital download is also potentially one way to prevent players from accessing leaked copies of the game early. Jedi: Survivor is the latest blockbuster release that appears to have made it out into the wild ahead of its official release, and EA is currently asking players to restrain from sharing spoilers.

        

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