Star Wars: X-Wing shares a special place in the hearts and minds of space gamers, making it an obvious candidate to be the first review on the site. Why I've chosen it, however, is as much out of guilt as reverence.
Let me explain.
Seeing X-Wing for the first time in 1993 became, for me, a memory of the type that you recall vividly; not just detailing where you were at the time and what you were doing, but what you felt and what it would lead to. In my case, I was in a shop flicking through a magazine (the first issue of PC Zone, no less) and realising that I badly needed a PC if I was ever going to experience the game that was spread before me. I realised that if Wing Commander wasn't going to appear for my beloved Atari ST (as it had for the Amiga the previous year), there was no way X-Wing would be making the transition. It hit me at that moment that if ever I wanted to play X-Wing - and I did, desperately - investment in some serious new hardware would be required. Unfortunately, being in the final year of university and among the first of future generations to be saddled with a student loan, the truth was that I couldn't even afford the magazine in my hands, let alone the machine it championed.
Clearly my fortunes changed: towards the end of 1994, I acquired my first PC, rapidly followed by my first batch of games - the original floppy disk version of X-Wing among them. I was still in hock to the Student Loans Company, as well as, now, to Alan Sugar (yes, my first PC was an Amstrad), but after spending months poring over system specs and finance plans, I had the PC I wanted: a 66MHz 486DX2 with 4MB RAM, SoundBlaster 32 and 2MB SVGA graphics (this was before 3D acceleration of course). The 80MB hard drive was perhaps a cut-corner too far, but otherwise my gaming life was looking up.
Did I then play X-Wing to death? Nope, I'm ashamed to say I barely touched it. As well as lacking a joystick (another expense too far), like many I was consumed by a procession of visceral first-person shooters; Doom, Doom 2, Dark Forces, Duke, Quake - all more accessible and spectacular than any space combat sim could seemingly manage. Instead, X-Wing endured the ignominy of becoming the first title atop a PC pile of shame that hasn't stopped growing skyward in the 26 years since.
With this blog being, in part, an attempt to pick away at the mountainside, you can understand why it makes sense for me to try to excavate X-Wing first. I only hope it doesn't reveal itself to be one of those games that's best left in the past. Time will tell, I guess.