Matt Meinke reflects as Star Wars turns 35
May 25, 1977, a day that shall live in infamy. The George Lucas film “Star Wars” made its debut on today’s date, and created a disturbance in the Force that’s being felt to this very day. On its surface, the Star Wars saga may seem like a corny space opera with laser swords, weird aliens and spaceships to some, but for those of us who have been profoundly affected by the films, there’s so much more. The classic struggle between good and evil, the mysterious power behind the universe called “The Force,” and even the dynamic of a broken family between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader (“I am your father!”).
After being exposed to Star Wars, a car ride with my parents suddenly became a harrowing flight in The Millenium Falcon, dodging asteroids and shooting down Tie Fighters…a stick in the backyard was transformed into a Jedi’s glowing Lightsaber, striking down imaginary Stormtroopers and deflecting their fire. My mind was literally opened wide by the technology and the philosophy behind Star Wars, and it forever changed who I am.
Then the Star Wars merchandise appeared! I devoted countless hours to playing with my action figures, vehicles and starships, reenacting memorable scenes from the films, and generally losing important weapons and costume pieces (I never could quite keep those tiny plastic weapons from being lost in the bottomless pit of our carpeting, aka the Sarlacc Pit). As the years and the films went on, I found a particular calling to the various Star Wars video games, from the classic arcade vector graphics of 1983’s flying simulation “Star Wars”, to later incarnations like LucasArts’ “Jedi Knight” series in the 1990’s, and a current offering from BioWare called “Star Wars: The Old Republic.”
It all goes back to the release of “Star Wars” on this date, infusing my imagination with “out of this world” concepts that resonate well beyond my childhood years. The Force is indeed with me, always.