Throughout literature, film, and any other telling of the Arthurian legend there is usually a hard line stance taken on characters or ideas being indisputably good or evil. The heroes and villains are on conflicting sides of a fundamental and absolute morality despite reality often being much more complicated. The Star Wars franchise followed this school of thought- casting the Empire as the evil and soulless reflection of Western history’s teaching of the axis powers of World War II. It parallels the post-French Revolution narrative that all democracy is good and all imperial reigns are heinous and wrong.
It is because of this that we can remember LucasArts’s 1994 PC flight simulator Tie Fighter as such a refreshingly bold and surprising experiment in a world of video games where the narrative is always fixated on “the good guys.” In Tie fighter, you are- from start to finish- fighting on behalf of a faction that the movies portrayed as dark and merciless dictatorship that is completely void of humanity. No change of heart in your character halfway through (as in this year’s disastrous Battlefront 2), no surprising twist- you’re essentially waging war with all that is good and just in the galaxy. It’s one of the first and possibly few games that take this perspective, and – for one of the first times for a mainstream game of this caliber- Tie Fighter gives the player a unique chance to embrace the understanding that morality is often a form of perspective.
The game play itself is fun and addictive, the sounds and animation were cutting edge for their time, and the complex control scheme really captured the feel of being in a flying vehicle. The music is some of the best that 90’s computer game midi has to offer throughout the score’s triumphant, dark, and militant themes. But the game’s clever and well designed story is what really offers something new and exciting to the traditional video game narrative. As a pilot for the universe’s reigning galactic Empire, you are obediently executing the will of your superiors as you advance in rank and repertoire. When completing the missions and objectives you are praised and dignified by the decorated veterans around you and eventually given a military parade and the chance to join a paramilitary/cult secret order.
Never has anything in Western media made serving an authoritarian/totalitarian state look and feel so badass. Once engaged enough in the character and story of this game you begin to feel the pride when the superiors praise your accomplishments. You get excited at the chance to impress the high ranking generals. You feel that you’re making a difference in the fight against an uprising of chaos. Never does Tie Fighter make you feel like anything that you’re doing is wrong- you’re simply serving the duty to your society and your emperor. The separatist soldiers you’re gunning down are traitors and terrorists, and by fighting to destroy their rebellion you are fighting to preserve the same order and rule that has given you and your journey purpose.
Tie Fighter also serves as an interesting metaphor for today’s (non-mainstream) conservatism. It’s portrayed by the regressive left and its vile mainstream media as abhorrent and immoral, disgraceful and disgusting, and ultimately absent of any humility. But for one to have a look at “the dark side” (a.k.a. being red pilled), you’ll feel the sense of awesomeness, excitement, and superiority that will have you never turning back. And once you’re able to see things, truly, from that point of view- you’ll quickly understand why populism and traditionalism are suddenly so on the rise. You’ll also understand where the real dangers to society are, and that they’re not quite from this side of the spectrum.
With the Star Wars franchised damaged beyond repair by the gruesome and nauseating mess of a film that was The Last Jedi, there is an intensified significance of Tie Fighter’s place in the series’s legend. Serving as the ideological antithesis to the Disney Star Wars’s halfhearted mess of vomitous progressive politics, the game is a testament to the awesome and daring power of authoritarian rule and order. It exudes unapologetic masculinity and darwinistic dominance while . It’s atmosphere is one of strength, victory, mystery, and limitless power. Comparing this game to The Last Jedi is borderline cruel and sadistic as it exposes just how much harm the latter has done to the causes it claims to champion.
Much early 90’s black metal is a testament to the genre’s fall, Tie Fighter is the concurrent monument to the Star Wars franchise’s shared fate. This is fitting as Tie Fighter is also aesthetically the most black metal video game ever created. Hopefully soon a new empire will be on the verge of success, and peace and order will be restored throughout the galaxy.