Borg: A (Real Life) Star Wars Story
Hello fellow Star Wars fans!
It has been a while since I did an article outside of the typical Twin Suns Foundation news posts! Twin Suns keeps me pretty busy these days! It is fulfilling work but it does keep me from doing things sometimes… like writing an article that I have had the idea for since about this time last year! So this is an article I have wanted to write for quite some time and it stems entirely from a single question, “How has Star Wars changed me?” When I brought this idea up to my fellow website contributors they were all quick to back the idea, some even sharing a few things about themselves that were changed by the franchise either directly or indirectly. (I imagine we will be seeing other articles on this topic by other contributors in the future and I look forward to it!) It dawned on me just how deeply the Star Wars franchise has influenced some of us when I thought about this for myself and listened to a bit of how it has affected others. That is what finally pushed me to write this!
So with today’s article I wanted to go over some of how the franchise changed me into the person I am with the hopes it will get all of you thinking about the same for yourselves! Without further delay, this is how Star Wars helped shape me into who I am today.
When I look at who I am today, my skill set, my appreciations, hobbies and general motivations, even my ethics, it is actually a bit disturbing just how much Star Wars has affected my life.
Most of you do not know me beyond these articles or beyond my charity work with Twin Suns Foundation. Long before Twin Suns existed, a twelve-year-old me was given some computer games for my birthday. Those games were Tie Fighter, Dark Forces, and Rebel Assault II.
Up until that point, I had never had much interest in Star Wars beyond the original films (which were the only ones that existed on tape at that point…Yeah tape, I’m old, leave me alone). I did have some action figures I had played with regularly, some ships and even some micro machines, but beyond that, Star Wars was only the movies to me. These video games changed a lot in my mind, including being my first real steps into the video gaming realm. They were all quite a bit of fun and I still play them from time to time. (Tie Fighter remains among my favorite games!) These games drove me to find more like them and find them I did!
That is how Star Wars became the reason why I have developed a love for the activity of playing video games, one of my favorite things to do to this day. Initially it was only Star Wars games, but I soon branched off into others, mostly role-playing games or action adventure games.
Shortly after getting those three games, I would find out about more Star Wars games from my cousin. This happened mostly by chance as my family was visiting his family’s house when I saw him playing this amazing game in which he was using a lightsaber to cut down stormtroopers.
This game turned out to be Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight, of course, and it was this game that made me realize there was much more beyond the movies out there! This was a direct sequel to Dark Forces, the game I had enjoyed so much. I had to have it! Naturally it was quickly added to my library! Yep, my true journey into the Expanded Universe began…. with video games? But wait, don’t I now share my love of Star Wars with book donations? How exactly did that come about?
Believe it or not, 12-year-old me was not the most interested in reading. In fact, I struggled with it quite a bit in sixth grade. Up until that year, my grades had been A’s and B’s. But in sixth grade, reading was rough. Perhaps it was a lack of interest, but that subject made sixth grade the most challenging I ever had. The prospect of seventh grade was, consequently, a bit daunting….at least until my mother took the neighborhood kids and myself to our local library!
My mother made it a requirement for all of us to get at least one “chapter book” or novel during our visits that summer. Looking back on that time now, I recognize what she was doing, but at the time I loathed the idea completely. I did not want to waste my time away from my Legos (with which I built many Star Wars ships before those actual sets existed) and video games.
It should come as no surprise, then, that I was quite disinterested and reluctant in my approach to the bookshelves that day….at least until I saw those wonderful, beautiful words on the spine of a small group of books.
I remember thinking “What? There is a book about the game?!” Thankfully by the time I was close enough to read the binding on the spine, there was not enough space for me to break into a run or I might have gotten into some trouble!
X-WING – The Bacta War
Next to it was STAR WARS: X-WING – The Bacta War.
Yep, grabbed that one too! There were several other Star Wars books that I took as well, but those are the two I distinctly remember, the first because it is what grabbed my initial attention and the second because it is actually the one I read first. While the first book was a bit shorter than my mother had in mind, the second was not. But what probably surprised her most was not that I found a couple books, no, what probably surprised her most was that I went to that checkout counter with TOO MANY books. (I sadly did have to put some back!) SPOILER – Future visits would see them all checked out eventually! Hah! My mother probably did not know what to think about her son, who had previously struggled with reading in school, grabbing so many books and actually reading through them so quickly when I got home. Needless to say my reading scores never struggled again throughout my remaining years in school. Hah!
So there you had it, Star Wars not only taught me an important skill in reading, but it saved my academic career and continues to be extremely useful to this day. (Something that would eventually help drive my work with and formation of Twin Suns Foundation.)
But that is not all Star Wars ended up teaching me. While my love of reading was still developing, Star Wars continued to fulfill my craving for video gaming!
Force Commander, computers, music, writing, and beyond!
In my final year of Jr. High (ninth grade), I found a game called Star Wars: Force Commander on PC.
For whatever reason, I first got the chance to play this game on a computer belonging to my uncle. The music in the game was amazing! I recommend looking up the Imperial March Rage Mix which is the title screen music from the game! The game itself was so much fun too! I could not wait to get it home and install it on my computer when we left my uncle’s house that night.
Turns out I would have to wait. Not to get it home, but to play it. Why? Because my computer at the time was incapable of running the game! Being who I am, stubborn and unwilling to let it go without trying to do something about it, I quickly started reading up on why I could not get the game to work. I found out that a specific component in my computer, the video card, was insufficient and that, to play the game, I would have to install a new one.
Thus, I took my first steps into learning how to put a computer together, a skill I would eventually use to build my own computers in the years to come. (Yes, I did fix my computer to play that glorious game.)
Too, Force Commander’s soundtrack was so good that I found myself developing an appreciation for music where I had little interest before. (Yes, I did not really ever listen to music prior to this time in my life! Weird, right?) Obviously, it started with music from Star Wars games but quickly branched out from there to all kinds of music. Check out this piece which is from the title screen for the game and you may understand why!
Star Wars: Force Commander, Imperial Rage Theme
So again, my appreciation for music actually stems from Star Wars as well!
In my high school years my love for reading Star Wars books got me into writing some stories of my own. Some earlier ones were indeed Star Wars based, quite terrible reads with unoriginal characters, but others were not based in the galaxy far, far away. This hobby of writing continued into my college years where I had some of my favorite classes in creative writing. (It was like adding gasoline to a flame!)
At one point my stories were liked by the class so much that they would tell me I should look into becoming a screen writer. Quite a bit of praise from one’s peers, especially when unsolicited. While I did not go on to become a screen writer as it was not an interest of mine, I did continue to write for fun, using my skills to chronicle a game of Pathfinder RPG my friends and I played for a few years. (If you are curious, most of that can still be found here: https://flames-and-steel-the-chromatic-war.obsidianportal.com/) These are just a few of the ways Star Wars has influenced my life and who I am. And really, this is only part of the story! I have many, many other stories that I may share some day here. But for now, I am curious about all of you, my fellow Star Wars fans. I ask that you think about who you are today and determine what influence the franchise has had on you.
Perhaps you too have developed skills because of some interaction you had with the franchise. Perhaps it helped you out of a tough time in life like it did with me and reading? Perhaps it is something else entirely unlike myself and others! Whatever it may be, because it is undoubtedly going to be something for literally every fan out there, I look forward to reading your own Star Wars stories! Let us know in the comments below!