Transmission Date Dec. 30 2013
The Holiday Season is almost finished up again for yet another year. With the future of 2014 looming just hours away I wanted to put the cap on 2013 with a subject from the Satellite Archival Files. Now loading Satellite log Transmission dated 1984. All Satellite team members congregate in the viewing deck..consider this training of sorts..in the event we run into the Ko-Dan Armada. (Hint)
If you played a video game in an arcade in your life at some point you wondered what it would be like to actually be inside the machine competing for your life on the game grid. Such as it was with Tron. However you quickly wrap your head around the idea that being atomized and sucked into a machine was not really possible…right? Well as far fetched as Tron was maybe as equally possible was being selected by an alien army to help protect the universe from sure destruction. You were selected because you were good..really damn good..so good you KNOW someone was watching and tracking your exploits on that gaming cabinet! Fans of the 80s know exactly what I am talking about..THE LAST STARFIGHTER!
I was 10 years old in 1984 and enjoyed all the fun things that came with that in the 80s. Our home town did not have the luxury of having a theater but from time to time when the moons would align someone would show a somewhat recent movie. It was an event so as it was I gathered in the basement of a local Chinese Food resturant called “The Oriental” to watch this brand new movie “The Last StarFighter” . Displayed on a bed sheet on a wall with a rickety projector I watched Alex Rogan become the “Luke Skywalker” of my day. The premise was simple a small town boy who happened to be great at a certain video game called “StarFighter” is recruited by a warring alien race who is facing imminent destruction. Without a skilled StarFighter their race and the fate of the universe is in peril.
This movie is pure teenage fantasy where a regular kid from a trailer park saves the world in his Starfighter just as he perfected in front of a video game cabinet! Alex Rogan could be any of us and for the first time since Star Wars we believed that the universe was a little bigger than we could see and maybe..just maybe one day we would be called upon to protect it!
The Last StarFighter super served a geek on all levels. Firstly it showcased a very cool Video game cabinet that in reality did not exist but looked cool as hell. I think a StarFighter game in the arcades of the 80s could have been BIG business alas it did not happen .
…but we DID get a semi cool cartridge for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
The Last StarFighter port was actually decent however there was so much left on the table with the potential this franchise offered.Bundle that with the fact the game was released 6 YEARS after the movie was in theaters!??
The game more or less was a generic style clone of many of the space shooter style games of the day in the vain of Konami’s Life Force and the like. Take a look for yourself!
The comparisons of The Last Star Fighter to Star Wars are hard to overlook. Lets review.
In Star Wars a New Hope Luke is looking to eventually leave his Uncles moisture farm to join the academy like his friend Biggs..Alex in StarFighter dreams of leaving the trailer court and going to university. Neither Luke of Alex has their dreams in the cards and are held back by their environment. Luke is asked to stay one more year on the farm by his Uncle Owen and faces the fact he will continue to be the mere servant and fix it boy on the farm. When asked to clean up his Droids Luke utters the famous line “But I have to go to Tachi Station to pick up some power converters!” Alex faces the same fate as he is rejected from attending university and has to give up a trip to the beach with his friends and girlfriend because he has to fix the “electric” at the trailer court.
Both Luke and Alex are recruited by fate to eventually fulfill their destiny. Obi Wan finds Luke and sets him on the path to the Rebellion. Alex is recruited by Centauri and goes on the exact same path to assist a universe stop the Ko-Dan Armada!
Both get the Mos Eisley experience. During their travels Luke is brought to the Cantina where we meet a variety of the creatures that inhabit the Star Wars universe on display.
When Alex is brought to a command ship by Centauri we encounter a very similar group of odd aliens and both Luke and Alex run into some issues with some of the aliens who see them as outsiders.
Of course the end battle scene of Luke bringing down the Death Star is exactly replicated when Alex uses the Death Blossom to bring down the Ko-Dan Armada.
There are so many similarities and more detail is given on one of my favorite podcast’s ThrowBack Reviews where the guys go into extensive detail on Star Wars vs. StarFighter and a bunch more surprises! A MUST listen! ThrowBack Reviews : The Last Star Fighter
The Last StarFighter has lived on in my VHS collection and in a few of my older comic book collections but outside of a random game and a few comics Starfighter merchandise is far and few between!
Marvel did an admirable job with the comic book adaptation of the film but I would avoid the single issue limited series if you can find the magazine style Marvel Super Special #31: The Last Starfighter, a single issue Official Movie Adaptation! Search this one up on eBay you will not be sorry! (It contains the 3 issue limited series from above just in a more colorful slicker edition and better quality!
There exists some very rare Last Starfighter merchandise that I wish I could get my hands on now check it out!
The Coup De Gras of StarFighter merchandise would have been this set of action figures! Imagine a complete set of figures like these under the Christmas tree back in 1984..or hell 2013 for that matter! Galoob produced this line of very good looking figures only to never release them for sale. Beauty set! And great detail on some of these toys that was rare for the time!
So if you like video games…practice up…you may be Centurai’s next selection to defend the universe against the evil Ko-Dan Armada!
For more GREAT Last StarFighter information and fun facts you MUST visit my personal favorite retro site The Retroist! There are plenty of great StarFighter articles and one heck of a retrospective StarFighter Podcast episode devoted to this great film!
If You have enjoyed this blog contact me on Twitter @Charlton_Hero and join the conversation using #SuperHeroSatellite Thanks for reading! Please take the time and visit two of the great retro sites,The Retroist and Throwback Reviews
Happy 2014 Heroes!