Tag Archives: Star Trek

Star Trek’s future seems more distant today

Waking up to Donald Trump’s victory elicited a combination of anger, sadness and disappointment. Hate and fear and division won the day.

Fifty years after its advent, the bright, inclusive future that Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek promised seems more distant in the aftermath of yesterday’s election.

It’s also more imperative a goal now than before.

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Star Trek: 25th Anniversary revisited

Cover art for Star Trek: 25th anniversary

What a pleasant surprise to find out that an old, favourite Star Trek game is coming back through gog.com. It’s funny to realize that almost as much time has passed between this game’s release and now as the 25 years between Star Trek’s premiere and the game’s release in 1992.

I played the hell out of Star Trek: 25th Anniversary in university (cause I’m that old). I remember loading about eight 3.5″ disks into an old 386 PC one by one to install it. Oh yeah. Good times.

While the install process blew, the game itself was a lot of fun. It played as 7 short puzzle-based missions, with a bit of starship combat thrown in. It even included some red-shirt deaths if you weren’t at your best.

When I heard the game was available again, I didn’t hesitate to pick it up. This time around it was fun to hear the original cast reciting the dialogue. Less fun is how incredibly pixelated most of the game is. It looked a lot better back in 1992. Regardless of that, it’s still fun to warp back in time and spend a few hours with it.

I’m also looking forward to playing this game’s sequel, Star Trek: Judgment Rites.

 

New Star Trek

A few years ago, the idea of watching Star Trek fan films would have had me laughing. My first thought would have been of the kids from Galaxy Quest making a film in someone’s basement or garage.

But then at a 2005 convention in Toronto I got a look at Star Trek: New Voyages‘ episode In Harm’s Way. The show was set in the original series and meant to continue the five-year mission cut short after three years.

While the cast showed its mostly amateur background, the effects, sets and costumes were surprisingly good. The story was entertaining, combining fan favourite elements from the Doomsday Machine, and Guardian of Forever from City on the Edge of Forever, and time travel.

From there I watched as the group went on to produce more episodes. In each, the quality increased as they took on scripts written for the never-produced series Star Trek: Phase II by writers such as D.C. Fontana and David Gerrold. They recruited Star Trek alumnus Walter Koenig, George Takei, Grace Lee Whitney, and Denise Crosby, along with even more.

Then earlier this year another group started releasing episodes; Star Trek Continues. They began with a continuation of Who Mourns for Adonais, and since then released two more episodes, one a continuation of Mirror Mirror that I felt did a better job than some of the later DS9 episodes in that same vein.

In my opinion as a Trekkie these two fan series are doing more to further the Star Trek philosophy of boldly going more than the most recent big-studio version of the franchise.

I hope they both live long and prosper (but not monetarily, because then Paramount would sue).

Star Trek for me

Star Trek celebrated its 47th anniversary on September 8. And while I wasn’t around on the day the first episode aired, I can remember Star Trek as a constant in my life from some of my earliest days. I can still remember being around 5 or 6 and having a  gold, Captain Kirk shirt, with an emblem sewn on, that for me, seemed very authentic. I would pull my parents’ armchair (sadly not a swivel chair) into the centre of the room and pretend the room was getting rocked by enemy fire right along with the episode on the TV. I can still remember how much the Lights of Zetar scared the shit out of me.

My mom watched it, and I must have started watching because of her. I have her to thank for both the good and bad it’s brought to my life.

What was bad about liking Star Trek? Nothing insofar as the show itself was concerned. But at the time I was growing up, geek culture was not in vogue the way it is now, and so being a Trekkie, or Trekker, made me a target of some bullies/jocks. It just wasn’t cool.

Fortunately, the good far outweighs the bad. Star Trek gave me hundreds of hours of entertainment over the years. It’s given me characters I can relate to, and characters I can look up to. It’s given me inspiration for writing and for looking to a future that can be better than what we have. It shows us people working together in spite of their differences. It shows us that enemies can become allies. And it shows us faith in each other over the mystic.

I’ve made friends with people over a shared affection for the show and its spinoffs. And I’ve started to share it with my children, to keep what the show represents going boldly into the next generation.

Trek into Abrams

Saw Star Trek: Into Darkness, and It was very big and loud and explosive and dramatic. Those are the good points. But I’d still rate it closer to the bottom out of 11 movies. Definitely Above Final Frontier, Generations, and Insurrection. Above Nemesis too, but below the rest. So that’s 7th best out 11, based solely on its visual and aural merits.

Spoilers follow
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What Star Trek games need

Star Trek needs an RPG, deep character development, and a story.

The reason most Star Trek games fail is that the game developers and publishers don’t recognize what makes Star Trek Star Trek.

Star Trek has action, and ideas, and morality lessons. But more than that it has great characters that interact and form friendships and bonds. Star Trek relies more on these than its action. Think of the interplay between Kirk, Spock and McCoy in the first series. Think of the relationship between Picard and Beverly Crusher, his mentorship of Data, the friendship between Geordi and Data in The Next Generation. In Deep Space Nine Sisko and Dax were old friends, and O’Brien and Bashir became friends as well. Over the course of the series we often came to care as much for these characters as they cared for each other.

Now look at a game like Mass Effect. Through three games we came to care for some of the characters that accompany Commander Shepard on the Commander’s adventures. That’s part of what people cited as reasons for disliking the end of the third game, they didn’t see enough of what happened to their companions at the end.

The idea of having an interactive story and characters to explore in the Star Trek universe is enticing, though unlikely. And I think that’s a loss for gamers.

Star Trek watching

Rewatching some Star Trek original series episodes over the past little while. When I received the remastered DVDs I watched all my favourite episodes. Recently I decided to watch some of the less impressive episodes (in my opinion).

I started with The Man Trap, then Charlie X, Mudd’s Women, What are Little Girls Made of, Miri, Dagger of the Mind, Conscience of the King, and Squire of Gothos. These are the ones that I never liked when I was young and all I could get was what CBC or the local Fox affiliate served up on Saturday afternoons.

Tonight’s first episode was Return of the Archons. Even Kirk talking Landru into self-destructing couldn’t save this episode.

Taste of Armageddon was next up. This episode was an improvement on Return of the Archons, but damn, Ambassador Fox is THE WORST diplomat I can recall.