Vader says “No” as George says “Yes”

A preview of the 2016 re-release of Jedi when Vader is compelled to say “Yes!”

Since the debut of home video releases of theatrical films Star Wars has been one of the ‘must-have’ films to be in everyone’s collection, often touting an impressive entertainment experience for your home. On VHS they offered stereo sound, later on the LaserDisc and VHS releases were properly letterboxed and offered a THX quality experience. In 1997 George Lucas released the ‘Special Editions’ of the films in the theaters, later making it to VHS & LaserDisc for home video viewing. Although the changes and alterations didn’t sit so well with some fans, the films were cleaned up and never had looked better. In 2004 the original Star Wars trilogy finally made its way to DVD. The picture quality was both good and bad (colors were off, some scenes could use work), the bonus features were nice, but a bit lacking. But finally we had Star Wars digitally on DVD, and it was better than nothing. George Lucas would eventually cave to the pressure and release the un-altered versions of the classic Trilogy on DVD as “bonus discs” in 2006, they were just ported LaserDisc versions of the film, but at least they were now on DVD . Fast forward to last year, the Star Wars Saga is announced to be released on Blu-Ray before the year ends, the High Definition format that would let the film shine like never before and included hours and hours of never before seen deleted scenes & bonus features.

This spurs months of discussions and debates from fans. Did they fix the color issues from the DVD release? What will be improved or changed? Are the Blu-Rays getting a new picture transfer? Will George Lucas add anything new? Well with about 2 more weeks to go leaks of the Blu-Rays start appearing online, before this most of what we saw was positive and enticing. Suddenly a great disturbance is felt on the internet, as thousands of fans cry out and refuse to be silenced! So what’s all the fuss about? Well George Lucas has decided to alter a critical moment in the Saga’s final film, ‘Return of the Jedi’. In the famous scene where Darth Vader redeems himself and saves his son by (literally) overthrowing the evil Emporer Palpatine, there has been an audio change. Where Darth Vader used to perform his sacrificing act in silence he now crys “No” twice before doing so.  It’s not as bad as the howling “Nooooooooooo!” scene from Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, but it’s still cringe-worthy. For those who haven’t seen the clip he looks at Luke and says “No…” then he lunges at the Emperor calling “Noooooooo!” once more. You can see it on YouTube here.

Now some people ask my why I’m upset about this, well I have two bones to pick with this. Number 1, the scene works perfectly with Darth Vader silent. The visuals tell you what you need to know, the camera work and subtle movements of the masked dark lord express perfectly what’s going on. The music carries the emotion of the scene and it works great. If the scene was filmed differently it wouldn’t work as well, but it does here, and it’s a great part of the film. There’s a sense of surprise for first-time viewers, and the dramatic element of the scene works perfectly. But now, instead of having the audience enjoy the mood and the thrill of the scene in silence (like it always was for the past 28 years) Vader has to open his big mouth and say what he’s feeling. I feel like it ruins the mood and emotion of the scene. I’ve watched the leaked clip online again and again, and while repeating the clip for the 5th time or so it’s not that bad to hear as it was the first time. (Almost like a punch in the arm isn’t that bad the 5th or 6th time around.) But it still stands out horribly, and it’s 100% unnecessary. I’m just thankful Vader doesn’t break out into song and sings about his emotions for 8 minutes while Luke and Palpatine pause to politely listen before joining him as backup singers.

My second issue is this. Palpatine is shocking the hell out of Luke, he’s going to kill him with his evil lightening powers. Palpatine can easily sense Vader’s thoughts. Sure Vader could be working hard to “keep it to himself”, but blurting it out loud for everyone to hear should have obviously given Palpatine more of a clue of what was about to happen to him. Giving him plenty of time to think “Wait… what, you want some lightening too?” *BAM!*. Vader’s body is mostly machine, a spark from an electrical outlet could take him out of commission for a few minutes, a shock from the Emperor would kill him (and eventually does). This is explained in depth in the novel ‘Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader’, which explains why Vader must always obey his master the Emperor. Palpatine can read his thoughts and can kill him at anytime he pleases and replace him with other goon just as easily. But it didn’t need to be explained in a novel, it’s common sense. This goes along with everything the movie tells you. Vader says it clearly a few scenes before.  “You don’t know the power of the Dark Side, I must obey my Master.” Which basically means if Vader thinks bad thoughts and trys to kill of Palpatine he’ll see it coming and zap him full of 1.21 gigawatts of regret.

So will I be canceling my pre-order of the Star Wars Complete Saga on Blu-ray like others are? — No.  Will continue to cherish my 2004/2006 DVDs and my VHS & LaserDisc collection of the films? — You’re damn right I will! Because the scene with Vader screaming “No” ruins it for me. I’ll still watch it on Blu-Ray, but I won’t enjoy the change they’ve made. I’ll happily wait for a fan-edit of the Blu-Ray excluding just that audio clip. The rest of the changes (assuming they aren’t as horrible) are easier to stomach.

The force was strong with this one, and now George’s tinkering have gone too far yet again. I can’t wait until the 3D versions to be released where Luke challenges Darth Vader to a lightscycle match to save the lives of Chewie’s extended family on the Eve of Life Day.

Star Wars Trilogy Arcade caught in my tractor beam

So a few weeks back I saw a Star Wars Trilogy Arcade game on eBay. Now this is one of my favorite arcades, and one of my favorite Star Wars games. I’m a huge Star Wars geek, and this was just so much fun to play when I was younger, and even now. Last time I played it locally was at an arcade down by the shore, and after that I managed to find it in an arcade in Las Vegas. However since the game is from 1998 it’s harder to find these days, especially as arcades are being down-sized etc.

A New Hope

So I ended up bidding, and I actually won! The damage was around $370, however shipping wasn’t an option and I had to pick this beast up. Long story short and over 200 miles later I pickup the arcade with my girlfriend’s parents van and drive it home. I finally get it home and I find that it’s 1 inch too large to fit in the doorway for the room I wanted to place it in. Thankfully I was able to take off the joystick area and it fit through the door with the help of my friend pushing.

Now it’s beat up, I didn’t mention that before. But this thing’s in rough shape. The wood is damaged, the monitor is showing funky colors, etc, this thing literally fell off a truck, and it survived! I didn’t get a chance to test it that night, but the next day I did. Plugging in all the odd connectors and wires to each other. I carefully re-connected everything from the very few photos I took of the insides… (Tip: ALWAYS take a million photos of the inside of an electronics component before you start disconnecting wires, you’ll think you will remember. But after a while it all looks the same!). I plugged the power cord into a power strip, so I can have easy access to the on/off switch in case the machine decided to catch on fire. So I flip the switch, and I hear an increasingly loud whirling noise. I panic and shut the system off. Well it turns out there was a cable in front of the fan, so as the fan got faster it made a horrible noise. Whoops! I fix that, and turn it on again – Ta-Dah! It works!

The screen has some burn-in and some colors are washed out/displayed oddly, but the arcade works. She actually works! 😀 I was very excited at this point. I played around a bit and was very happy to get it working.

The Arcade Strikes Back

Over the next few days I’d tinker with it more. I installed it’s subwoofer and as of last night I’ve soldered new ‘Test’ and ‘Service’ buttons to the cabinet. The issue was that these buttons were broken. So now they worked again. Now here comes what I regret, in the Endor level I could never aim toward the far right of the screen. I assumed the joystick just needed to be calibrated. I saw an option in the service menu, so I went ahead and set it up the best I could. Well, for whatever reason this screwed everything up! 🙁

The joystick will now only move vertically, and not horizontally, it’s also all the way to the left. No matter how many times I re-try, or re-read the instructions I have the same result. One odd thing is, under ‘Game assignments’ if I set the cabinet from U/R (Upright) to Dx (Deluxe, Bench) the controls work, but a bit differently, obviously needing of some calibration. So I have a feeling there is something that’s being shorted out, or just not working. The service menu shows the joystick moving correctly, but the game does not. Also I can no longer access the ‘Input’ menu on the Service screen, it will flash for a second and exit. Something is wrong and I have to figure it out…
Update! So the issue was the joystick. I took apart the joystick area and examined the ‘volume knob’ (the knob that sits on the joystick and moves when the joystick is moved left to right, etc) This knob wasn’t sitting right. It turned too far so the movement of the joystick wasn’t making a good connection. So I removed the knob via the four screws… there was an odd bolt in the way so it was hard to remove the knob’s faceplate. Once removed I re-set the position of the knob and screwed everything into place. I used a lot of duct-tape fearing that glue may not be a good idea. Weeks later and it’s still playing fine. I do notice now that the volume knob must have shifted every so slightly. As the cross-hair on the screen no longer will go to the far left side. Thankfully no enemies are on the far left side, they are often on the far right side. Either way I may have to open it up again when I have time. But it’s working at least. 🙂

Things to fix:

Joystick – this is my top priority! (Edit: I got this working! 😀 I needed to adjust the ‘volume’ knob on the joystick to sit properly!)

Monitor – colors are all weird, degaussing didn’t help much.

Wood cabinet – some cracked wood, need to bolt / screw brackets in to help support it.

Marque:- I have some of the pieces, but this needs replacing, I put the light for it somewhere… now where was it?