Star Wars: TIE Fighter is the best dog-fighting action space sim ever made. Fight me for it. But there was a time before 1994 when TIE Fighter wasn’t a sure thing. Larry Holland and LucasArts had an earlier hit with Star Wars: X-Wing, but this was a game from the bad guys’ point of view! The disposable Imperial pilot, no less. Would it actually sell? We laugh about that question now, but imagine trying to market that game.
PC Gamer dug into the history of how the game was made, and one of the often forgotten bits of TIE Fighter’s success was that its demo was pressed and marketed thanks to Dodge Neon. Yes, that pokey little car that hit the streets in wacky colors like “Nitro yellow-green” and “Lapis Blue” along with other questionable choices.
“I wasn’t in much of a bargaining position; I didn’t have a whole lot to give in return, other than they get to use Star Wars in their advertising. For the Dodge Neon, which was nothing like a sci-fi or futuristic car. It was from Michigan. There was nothing sexy about it; it looked like a family car. But it was a big win, because we couldn’t afford to distribute 400,000 demos on our own, or do a TV commercial.”
Imagine Grand Admiral Thrawn’s personal Neon. It would likely be the pimped-out one with the headlight hoods and chrome accents.