Forgotten Star Wars Entry Rewrites How You Become A Jedi Master

By Zack Zagranis | Published

Becoming a Jedi Master seems like hard work, doesn’t it? First, you have to train for years as a Padawan, and then you have to train your own Padawan for years as a Jedi Knight. What a hassle! Thankfully, Star Wars: Jedi Arena for the Atari 2600 introduced a much easier way to achieve the rank of Jedi Master: cause an opponent to take three blasts from a practice remote during a sparring session. Winning what’s essentially a glorified fencing match sounds so much quicker than all those years of training.

Star Wars: Jedi Arena

star wars jedi arena

Star Wars: Jedi Arena was a 1983 video game developed by Parker Brothers for the Atari VCS/2600. Parker Brothers’ first attempt at a Star Wars video game, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1982), sold well enough that the company decided to make another one, this time focusing not on any specific movie but the concept of the Jedi themselves.

A Ridiculous Way Of Becoming A Jedi Master

In Jedi Arena, two Jedi Knights stand across from each other with their lightsabers drawn. In between the two Jedi is a remote—the little floating ball Luke trained with on the Millenium Falcon—that routinely fires blasts of lightning at the two opponents. The goal is to deflect these blasts with your lightsaber in such a way as to send them flying into your opponent.

Seems So Easy Even Anakin Could’ve Done It

hayden christensen anakin

Hit the other Jedi three times, and, according to the instruction manual included with the game, you become “The Jedi Master.” Not “a” but “the” as in the one and only. If Star Wars Jedi Arena had its way, leadership of the entire Jedi order would hinge on a single sparring match between two trainees.

Somehow we doubt that Yoda got where he was just by defeating Mace Windu in a game of Jedi Pong.

If It Were Canon, It Would Be Insane

star wars jedi arena

Obviously, Star Wars Jedi Arena was never meant to be canon. For one thing, the overhead gameplay features one Jedi holding a blue saber and the other holding a red blade—the color primarily associated with the Sith. For another thing, canon wasn’t really a thing anyone was worried about in the ’80s, especially not when it came to video games.

It is, however, still funny that they chose the term Jedi Master specifically. Parker Brothers most likely just wanted to get players jazzed about beating their friends by giving them a title to play for. Empire Strikes Back had come out three years before Jedi Arena was released, however, meaning that the concept of a Jedi Master had already been established.

That means that either the Parker Brothers employee tasked with writing copy for the game had never seen ESB—highly unlikely given how much money the movie made—or, upon seeing Master Yoda decided, “I bet that Muppet knows how to train Luke because he beat the floaty ball from he last movie.”

A Glut Of Jedi Masters

star wars jedi arena

We’re probably overthinking it—scratch that, we’re definitely overthinking it—but the existence of Star Wars: Jedi Arena posits a weird alternate version of Star Wars. A version where the Jedi Order as we know it operates in a manner that can only be described as cuckoo bananas. Imagine, if you will, a Jedi Order where the rank of Master can be achieved so easily that practically anyone can do it.

Being a Jedi Master would mean almost nothing. Worse, there would be an abundance of Jedi Masters and almost no Jedi Knights for them to send on missions. Anyone losing a match like the ones in Star Wars: Jedi Arena would just try again until they won and became a Master. If all Jedi are suddenly Masters, who’s left to train the next crop of Jedi?

Masters have their own stuff going on, which is exactly why they leave, taking an apprentice to the Knights. With no Knights, the order would fall apart pretty quickly. If Star Wars Jedi Arena were somehow made canon, it would singlehandedly destroy the very fabric of the Jedi Order.

Thank the Force it’s just an obscure vintage Atari game and nothing more.

Subscribe For

Star Wars News

Expect a confirmation email if you subscribe!