Past Imperfect

I’ve recently fallen in love with Star Trek.

I used to detest it. I’d skip past channels that were broadcasting episodes of it, thinking about how pointless it was and of all the stereotypical people that watched such bilge: lonely, overweight people with little social skills versed only in the fiction of a sad science fiction universe (or was that gamers?). I went on feeling this way for years…

What Star Trek fans actually look like.

Until I saw the 2009 film reboot with the original generation of characters. I loved it: everyone was imbued with personality, the action scenes were pulse-pounding and the special effects were simply stunning. There was even one scene about halfway through (it’s a major spoiler, so I won’t mention it here, but anyone who’s seen it will know the one I mean) made me audibly squee with delight and excitement despite the fact that I knew next to nothing about the franchise. It proved to me that my initial negative reactions to the franchise were unfounded and showed me just how much I’d been missing by disregarding it for so long.

Since then, Star Trek has become a influence on my life: aiming to view at least one episode a day, I’ve watched the large majority of the episodes from The Original Series, the entirety of The Next Generation, made a start on Deep Space 9 (I think I’m in love with Jadzia Dax) and watched all the movies. I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside knowing that I still have so many more episodes to enjoy.


I was about halfway through watching The Next Generation when I suddenly remembered that I had the videogame based on the series on Game Gear lurking somewhere in my house. I was young when I used to play it so, being unable to read, I never actually understood what was going on: I’d just travel to a planet whose colour I liked the most that day and then shoot down any ships I came across. Suffice to say, I don’t think I made the best starship captain.

I decided to give it another shot now that I would actually know what I was being asked to do, so after months of hunting for it, I found my Game Gear (which was under my mum’s bed), slapped The Next Generation cartridge in the back, positioned it under a lamp so I could actually see the screen and entered the galaxy at my fingertips.

And my God, how rubbish it was. After being presented with Captain Picard telling you what your current mission is, you’re thrust into the bridge of the ship with no clue given as to what you’re supposed to do. You’re given the choice of conversing with a number of characters to achieve your goal: Worf controls the combat readiness and shield status of the Enterprise, Data allows you to choose which planet you next want to go and at what speed (although why anyone would want to go at anything slower than warp nine is anybody’s guess); Geordie controls the engineering and power status of the ship; O’Brien manages who leaves and boards the ship via the transporters and Riker gives you clues as to what you should be doing.

It’s a good idea in theory, but it’s done so painfully badly: when restoring or rerouting power to the ship, you have to partake in some weird, confusing puzzle game of some kind wherein you need to control the flow of power through a grid or something; beaming people up consists of finding shapeless red blobs on a boring, sparsely-detailed grid and consulting with Riker basically amounted to him saying ‘herp derp I don’t know lol.’

The most useless man in the universe?

The fact that it’s so difficult to navigate through doesn’t help matters: you’ll frequently consult a character when all you meant to do was explore the system you were in, fly past planets you were meant to enter into orbit over due to the clunky controls and accidentally fire upon a ship whose crew you were meant to be rescuing, causing you to bugger up the mission in a fantastically unintentional manner.

It’s a shame that the game based on the series is so rubbish: it has its nice touches, such as the passwords being the names of minor characters in the series, but the fact that it’s so difficult to play and just plain boring makes it highly forgettable, unlike a large portion of episodes in the entirety of the canon. I should probably have guessed it wouldn’t be very good, but it’s still a little disheartening to discover it’s nowhere near as cool as I remembered. Perhaps, as Kirsten discovered in her review of Crazy Taxi for XBLA, our happy memories of some games should be strictly left as exactly that: memories.

Awesome then, awful now.

Oh, well. Back to the television programmes for me. Engage, make it so, etc.


16 responses to “Past Imperfect”

  1. Deltorroelsorrow avatar

    Great blog bro, the new Star Trek film blew me away as well. Everytime I see that beginning scene I get a huge lump in my throat (no blowjob gags please).

  2. Comic Book Guy avatar
    Comic Book Guy

    “It’s a shame that the game based on the series is so rubbish”.

    That’s because Star Trek as a series is so rubbish.

  3. paul slevin avatar
    paul slevin

    Jadxia dax was in becker ahahahah

  4. Dean avatar

    The reboot was awesome, and quite daring (blowing up Vulcan for instance), i made a reference to it in my review on the recent Castlevania series reboot. Sometimes it takes a massive change to make you appreciate something again.

  5. Simon avatar

    The reboot was excellent, and like Del Torro said, the opening is especially good.

    I’ve never even heard of that Game Gear thing.

    There are some good Star Trek games though. From that era, I’d recommend Final Unity – it’s an adventure game where you have to select your TNG away team and head down to a planet for some good clean point and clock fun. Also features space combat, though I hate to think how that would look now. You could totally just ignore your mission and head into the Romulan Neutral Zone for a ruckus.

    Bridge Commander was similar to that but better. You had to make difficult decisions, such as whether to abandon Data on some planet.

    Also, Birth of the Federation was a Civ clone, but really rather good. You could be Ferengi, Federation, Klingon, Romulan or Cardassian, and you basically had different objectives for each. It was all fun and games until the Borg showed up.

  6. Christomad avatar

    Another Trek game to get, if you can ever find it, is Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. It’s a Quake 3-based FPS and a lot of fun. Tons of mods and maps too, including a TOS-themed total conversion.

  7. Optimus Pints avatar
    Optimus Pints

    Can you tell Will Crusher to shut up in the game that would be awesome

  8. Another Tony avatar
    Another Tony

    Where has that girl in the top pic been all my life?!

    I think I’m in Ponn Farr…

  9. Simon avatar

    The hell with Dax! I’m a Riker man.

  10. Lauren avatar

    Jonathan Frakes is <3, but tis all about Jean-Luc Picard. Ive never played a Star Trek game. I can see myself being bored easily.

  11. Gardiner avatar

    I’d recommend watching Voyager and Enterprise before watching Deep Space Nine… kinda like eating your veggies before your desert! Voyager has some truly terrible episodes and Enterprise can be dull at times, but DS9 rarely has a bad episode and is, imho, the best Star Trek has to offer!

  12. Captain Dog Toffee avatar
    Captain Dog Toffee

    You are all a bunch of saddo freaks.

  13. Laura avatar

    Awww. Someone needs a hug.

  14. Mike avatar

    @DelTorro Yeah, it’s rather affecting, isn’t it? Brilliant film.

    @Dean Agreed. It was good to see the writers do something so vastly different and shocking compared to what happened in the original canon.

    @Simon & Christomad I’ve been looking for some good Star Trek games other than Online. Thank you for the recommendations.

    @Optimus Sadly not. Not even sure if he appears in the game at all.

    @Another Tony. Hey! Hands off. She’s mine.

    @Lauren I used to really like Picard, but Commander Sisko is now my favourite leader.

    @Gardiner I was gonna watch Voyager while my brother watched DS9. Agreed with your deduction. For every amazing TNG episode there’s a crap one, but nearly every episode of DS9 is fantastic, even some first season ones.

  15. Simon avatar

    Sisko would be a great boss.

    You know that Picard would just expect shit to get done, and then send Riker round when it wasn’t. Sisko’s door is always open.

  16. […] Originally posted on Ready Up on 17th January 2011. […]

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