Star Wars: Tie Fighter, the Best Game You’ll Never Play Again


Lego Star Wars, The Force Unleashed, Star Wars Battlefront. All good games, but none of them have yet to capture my imagination as much as the original Star Wars: TIE Fighter flight simulator released in 1994. TIE Fighter placed the player into the cockpit of not only the empire’s workhorse fighter, but several other crafts as well, including the TIE Bomber, and my personal favorite the TIE Interceptor.

I loved everything about the TIE fighter: the whine of the twin ion engines and the BLAT BLAT BLAT of its weaponry, the cool pilot’s uniform and the very design aesthetic of the craft itself – not a thought toward air resistance (obviously useless in space) or even a perfunctory nod toward resembling anything organic. While piloting the fighters was a blast, TIE Fighter was no mere simulation: this was a deeper look at the Empire itself. Your pilot character’s missions were presented in a more nuanced context than that of his cinematic counterparts. No mere anonymous Stormtrooper, your pilot served an important role in preserving order in a lawless universe. In suggesting a pay-off to be gained for the Empire’s totalitarian rule, Star Wars: TIE Fighter sidestepped what could otherwise be a dubious moral dilemma for some players, as well as brought some badly needed gray area into the franchise’s painfully black-and-white morality. However, much like real evil, your character’s good intentions proved to be the first steps on the road to hell. Successfully accomplishing sorties against pirates and other bad guys led to initiation into the Emperor’s secret society and new, more difficult missions against rebels and other traitors to the Empire. Ultimately, the player found himself enmeshed in the Empire’s evil web and another pawn in a greater war against freedom. This was a mature take on the Star Wars universe.

Despite the game’s cult following, there’s been no indication from LucasArts that the game will ever be revisited. There’s certainly an audience for it, but is it worth pursuing?

  • dpomerico

    This was my favorite game on the computer. And I wouldn’t want them to update it–just let it still work on my computer!

  • This game is my all time favorite and I still play it on occasion. I keep an old computer in working condition specifically to play the CD Edition that came out a few years after the initial floppy disk release.

  • I’ve been within one drink and a 5 minute conversation of being convinced that I should get the secret order of the emperor tattoo on many occasions. This is my all-time favorite game, and I doubt I’m ever going to replace it with something else.

  • lspiderl

    I woulkd love to see them just retouch the graphics and release this for pc and modern consoles it would be a HUGE hit

  • Ammaranth

    I’m pleasantly surprised to see something like this. Tie Fighter is one of those games I have always remembered, but was left feeling like I was the only one who ever played it, and it’s great to know there are other fans out there. The game crossed the lines of flight sim, shooter, and non-traditional RPG. It’s attention to details, like the importance of choosing the proper power settings to divide between your engines, blasters, and shields (if you LIVED long enough to get into a craft with shields), and the window it opened into the largely blank world of what life would be like for the pilots who flew for the Empire all combined to make it something special. I wish there were more Star Wars titles exploring these kinds of themes.

  • smegger

    if it is dos it would work in dosbox,or you might get it to run under wine in linux.

  • yeti_bomb

    Best game of all time. I miss it like crazy!!! Please Lucas, bring it back!

  • futurepacker

    I agree Best game of all time. Every time I look at my Joystick I remember this game…I still at least twice a year look for away to play it again on google.

  • Scaffold

    The game is so great that I believe it is going to remain in the best PC games list forever (especially provided the quality of modern games).

    But why do you complan about it not running on the modern PC’s? I run it through dosbox on my modern machine with Windows Vista. Only some patches have to be applied, and those are available on the net.

    ‘Let not your anger blind you, rather let it consume you and in the purity of your hatred you will find the deaths of your enemines. Long live Emperor Palpatine!’

  • Play it Now!

    There’s a great version of the collector’s CD out on torrent that has DOSBox wrapped around the game – worked right out of the zip file on my mac.

  • Jet

    I loved this game so much I actually BOUGHT a joystick to play it. Before that it needed so many keys on the keyboard I had my friend work some controls while I steered, we needed all 4 hands! Worth every minute.

  • Carlos

    From Spain another crazy fan, on my list of top 10 all time (along with pacific strike on 9 floppys)
    we played at 4 hands as well on the keyboard, so much fun!

    can anyone point me to what do I search for in google to obtain a torrent of a working copy?


  • Costa

    I just received a copie of Tie Fighter colletor`s cd-rom by UPS today, cant run it on my modern computer, no surprise there. So Im now hunting for a way to run it on google. First star wars game I played and one of my favorite to be sure, its way better than rogue squadron, and if you guys have not played it, there was Star Wars Galaxies, an online pay game which had a similar flight simulator to tie fighter and x-wing where you can free roam over each planets you could land on, parts of the ships were fully customizable, no ship had the same speed, firepower, shields and such. Too bad they scraped it to make way for The old republic and its crappy bombing run Star Fox style of space flight gameplay.

  • Ben Schwab

    I liked the entire series (though I never got very far in the original X-wing). Even if Lucas Arts wouldn’t make many functional changes to the game engine from X-Wing Alliance or even Tie Fighter (my guess is that the engine would need to be reprogrammed to work on the modern PC/MAC/Linux), adding some new plot lines would allow Lucas Arts to make some money. It would be even more appealing if Lucas Arts would add some new elements, ships, and/or update the old storylines to take advantage of X-Wing Alliance’s or the new game engine. If Lucas Arts would get creative (they did with the Tie Fighter plot, it is one of the best plots in a ridged video game plot I have seen) they could design a few starting points from across the Star Wars universe and allow for some pathing in the plot development when players chose what action to take. They could also add some personnel activity (how you interact with superiors, subordinates, civilians, comrades) to give another dimension to the game. If they don’t make these additions I would still purchase the game.

    There is a market here even if it is a niche market. I don’t know how much updating it would cost but I don’t and I think a lot of others don’t require a flashy game. If Lucas Arts would update the engine to allow for the processing power of modern computers (a full scale battle of Endor maybe) but I wouldn’t even mind that. I want a painless way to play these games on my modern PC legally and something new would be wonderful. I know piracy is an issue with PC games and that is way there isn’t a lot of new good ones but I hope game developers are solving this issue. I don’t know if releasing to programs like Steam help. I don’t know how kickstarter works but perhaps it could convince Lucas Arts to take a look at this series again.

  • Pingback: ‘Star Wars Battlefront’ is Returning. What Do You Want to See? | Star Wars Books()

  • GM

    This worked for me I’m gaming it as I type

  • Pingback: Classic Star Wars Games ‘X-Wing Pilot’ and ‘TIE Fighter Pilot’ Released Again! | Star Wars Books()