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The history of Star Trek games

December 13th, 2014 by Marc Comments

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The video games market is always changing – back in the day we were whittling away the hours playing retro games like Pacman, while today more of us are going online and taking pleasure from high thrills classics which emulate the casino atmosphere. Indeed, many of us may be turning away from the old classic in favour of these casino favourites, and with the wealth of directories out there pointing us to these new sites, it can be tempting to forget our favourites.

But the themed game has come on leaps and bounds – with many popular television shows and films having their own video game franchises, we look back on the best of Star Trek games. With the summer release of Star Fleet 2014, the Android app that was heavily influenced by the Star Trek series, the topic of Star Trek-themed games has been the subject of hot debate amongst Trekkies recently. To celebrate the release of the game, Hailing Frequency looks back at the history of Star Trek games, from board games to modern day apps.

1960s: Board games

The rather originally named Star Trek Game was a board game which featured ‘spaceship tokens’ and ‘fuel unit cards.’ The objective was to move your spaceship from Earth to a given destination and back again before your opponents. It may have been old skool, but it was an exciting game that paved the way for a plethora of future Star Trek Merchandise.

1970s: Table top games

Some years after the board game classic, tabletop game Star Fleet Battles came along in 1979 and offered a tactical board wargame in the Star Fleet Universe setting. The game spawned four major editions and was later inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming, Arts and Design Hall of Fame in 2005, largely thanks to its exciting ship-to-ship warfare simulation game play.

1980s: Role playing games

In 1982, both Starfleet Voyages and Star Trek: The Role Playing Game, were released. The latter set the tone for the future of Star Trek-themed games, giving users a boxed set with a books, counter sheet and dice, with each player controlling their space combat through their own ‘consoles.’

1990s: Pinball games

Back in the 70s, Bally released the first original Star Trek pinball game, but it was not until the 90s that they really came into their own. The first, Star Trek Anniversary, came on the scene in 1991  and is known in its modern day format as Stern Pinball. Two years later, legendary pinball designer Steve Ritchie released Star Trek: Next Generation. He was still making pinball designs for Star Trek some 20 years later.

2000s: Computer and online games

The early millennium years saw a whole series of Windows games based on Star Trek being released into the Zeitgeist. While these received mixed reviews, it was the release of apps and online games that would really bring the Star Trek games genre into the 21st century. With the recent rise of online gaming, affiliate sites are pointing modern day players into the direction of Star Trek-themed games. From board games to making a few pennies online, there’s no end to just how far Star Trek games have come in the last 50 years.

Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….