A Brief History Of Star Trek PC Games

1971: Star Trek: A Text Adventure

The first Star Trek game was created in the early 1970s as a text-based space simulator. Although the game was fairly simple, it marked the entry of Star Trek into the video game world. Over the years, Star Trek has grown into one of the most successful franchises in the world, spawning dozens of games, several movies and hundreds of TV shows. We're taking a look at the games created inside the Star Trek universe as they evolved over time.

Because of the extremely high volume of Star Trek games in existence, we focused on games created for computers. These include games created for Windows, Apple, DOS, Amiga and similar systems. We've dug up as many of these games as possible, although because some Star Trek games created prior to the year 2000 have fallen into obscurity due to their age, there may be some about which we were unable to learn sufficient details to mention here.

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1984: Begin

The next entry into the Star Trek gaming world was called Begin. This game marked the transition from the text-based game to one that actually required you to use buttons to control your vessel.

1985: Star Trek: The Kobayashi Alternative

Star Trek: The Kobayashi Alternative is the first in a series of text adventures from game publisher Simon & Schuster Interactive. These games focused on the cast of the original Star Trek series as they dealt with a series of challenges.

In this game, you take control of Captain Kirk as you attempt to repair your ship and complete other objectives.

1986: Star Trek: The Promethean Prophecy

The second Star Trek game by publisher Simon & Schuster Interactive was Star Trek: The Promethean Prophecy.

The Promethean Prophecy is centered around the Promethean solar system, which the Enterprise arrives at as part of its ongoing mission of exploration. The ship is then attacked by the Romulans and sustains considerable damage. During the game, players attempt to complete a series of tasks to help the crew survive, deal with the Romulan threat, and explore the Promethean system.

1987: Star Trek: The Rebel Universe

The third Star Trek game by publisher Simon & Schuster Interactive was Star Trek: The Promethean Prophecy.

In this game, you take control of various members of the original cast as the Enterprise makes its way to a mysterious part of space. All Federation ships previously sent to this area have rebelled against the Federation, and it's your mission to discover why.

1988: Star Trek: First Contact

The last Star Trek text-based adventure from publisher Simon & Schuster Interactive that we are able to find information about is titled Star Trek: First Contact. It focuses on first contact with a new alien race.

1992: Star Trek 25th Anniversary

On the 25th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise, Interplay produced a game titled Star Trek: 25th Anniversary. This game, like all prior Star Trek games, followed the original cast through a variety of missions. The game has two primary modes of play: Most of the game is played from the bridge of the enterprise, but at times, members of the crew will leave on away missions.

During the away missions, the game behaves more like a click adventure to gather items and investigate the world. The game was originally released on floppy disk, but later it was ported to CD-ROM. The CD-ROM port featured a few improvements over the original, including voice acting from the original Star Trek cast.

1993: Star Trek: Judgment Rites

The 25th anniversary game was followed up by a direct sequel titled Star Trek: Judgment Rites that was released in 1993. The overall game play is similar to Star Trek: The 25th Anniversary, and the missions are set up to take place directly following the previous game. Like its predecessor, Star Trek: Judgment Rites used voice acting performed by the original Star Trek cast.

1995: Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity

In 1995, the Star Trek game franchise transitioned to the cast of the Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series, which had recently finished its final season. The game uses a click-adventure style interface reminiscent of the previous two Star Trek games. The overall game play has been extended, however, with the addition of new parts of the ship to explore (outside of the bridge) and new ship systems to use. At times, the player would also transport off of the Enterprise D to go on away missions.

1996: Star Trek: Klingon

In 1996, publisher Simon & Schuster made a return to the Star Trek game franchise with Star Trek: Klingon. This game could almost be construed as an educational tool for learning Klingon culture much as a game. The entire game is technically played inside of a holodeck simulation created by Gowron, the Klingon High Chancellor. The purpose of the simulation is to teach the player about Klingon culture and language by navigating a series of social situations.

The player must act correctly in each situation to progress the story. This sometimes requires the player to understand the Klingon language and recognize Klingon cuisine such as Gagh.

1996: Star Trek: Borg

Star Trek: Borg represented an attempt by publisher Simon & Schuster to build on the success of Star Trek: Klingon. The game uses a relatively similar style of gameplay, but with a completely different story. Players take control of a man named Qaylan Furlong. Qaylan is greeted by an unexpected visit by Q, who gives Qaylan a chance to travel back in time and save his father from dying in battle with the Borg at the Battle of Wolf 359.

Throughout the game, the players must explore the ship to learn about the events unfolding, answer questions from Q, and solve puzzles. This game proved to be overall less successful than its predecessor.

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Michael Justin Allen Sexton is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers hardware component news, specializing in CPUs and motherboards.
  • ern88
    I wish they would do another Bridge Commander style game.
  • Reynar
    Uhhh...Birth of the Federation was turn-based. And glorious despite the game breaking memory leak and other bugs.
  • adgjlsfhk
    No star trek armada III? technically its a mod, but it still is amazing.
  • Mopar63
    Birth of the Federation was an amazing game that needs to be remade. Sadly it was never properly supported. The Star Fleet Command series will always hold a special place in my heart. I worked with Taldren as a part of the "Inner Circle" a select group of play testers that worked directly with the devs. I was also the creator and Editor and Chief of Hailing Frequencies, an SFC Fanzine. Of all the Star Fleet Commands my least favorite was SFC III, I just never felt it captured the essence of SFC.

    I works on the New Worlds beta, all I can say is I am sorry. :-( I played a lot of Star Trek Online but Perfect World has pretty much ruined what started as a great Star Trek game.
  • dimar
    I would love Star Trek game series, Mass Effect style. Rich story line and lots of action. But no prequels. I hate prequels!
  • enewmen
    Some where exceptionally good, but only similar to Star Trek - having warp, shield, photons, etc. The Cosmic Balance by SSI (1982) for example added strategy by limiting the space available by hull size. So you can have a ton of weapons, but no shields. Or Super fast but no weapons. Or good weapons & shields but no living space. Balanced, Or any combination. The paper game "Star Fleet Battles" (1979) was also excellent, but there was never a good computer game version of that.

    Edit: Most licenced "Star Trek" games where made for suckers and totally SUCKED! "Starship Creator" (1998) for example was exceptionally bad (wait 2 hours to cross the map and nothing happens).
    Edit again: I have no love for Star Trek online - no good reason and I can't die. Just don't like it.
  • jaguarskx
    Playing Star Trek Online while doing a bit of moderation...LOL.
  • jaguarskx
    Star Trek Bridge Crew

  • cletus_slackjawd
    Armada and bridge commander where my favorite
  • wifiburger
    did not play a single startrek game, even tough the movies / tv series are decent,
    FPS MMO would be nice I'll play that :-) 20% no man sky and 80% destiny yeah that would be awesome