The video games in the Star Trek franchise are based around the television series. Star Trek is a sci-fi series created by Gene Roddenberry. It began airing in 1966. The original series followed the crew of the Starship Enterprise for three seasons.
Star Trek in Games
The popularity of the show spawned more series, including The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, Discovery and the short lived Animated Series. The series has spanned over several films as well. The most recent film follows the characters from the original series recast. It's set in an alternate timeline.
The first game based on Star Trek was released in 1971 as a shareware BASIC text-only game. This game, simply titled, Star Trek is seen by many as an inspiration for many of the 1980s space themed games. The next year, another text-based Star Trek game, once again titled simply Star Trek, was released on the mainframe of the PDP-10. In 1979, the first non-text and first console Star Trek game, Star Trek: Phaser Strike, was released for the Microvision. The game was meant to collide with the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In 1981, Begin: A Tactical Starship Simulation was released for the MS-DOS. Though, it did not have Star Trek in the title, the game took place within the Star Trek universe. The next year, the first arcade Star Trek game was release, Star Trek - Strategic Operations Simulator. In 1985, another text based Star Trek game was release, Star Trek: The Kobayashi Alternative. This was seen as the beginning of a long line of poor Star Trek games that would span the 1990s.
10 years after the original, Begin 2 was released in 1991 for the MS-DOS. The game was hardly a technical improvement over the first game. The same year, Star Trek: 25th Anniversary was released for the NES and Game Boy. Unlike Star Trek games to follow, critics praised the adventure game for its superb graphics and sound. The next year, another completely different game entitled Star Trek: 25th Anniversary was released for the Amiga, Macintosh and MS-DOS. In the game, it was possible to fail every objective in the game but still complete the story. The game was also one of the first games to feature a copy protection system in which the player had to consult the instruction manual to see which galaxy they were suppose to be warp to next. The next year, a pair of Star Trek games were released. Star Trek: The Next Generation: Future's Past, another adventure title, was released for the SNES. While Star Trek: Judgment Rites was released for the MS-DOS and Macintosh. Judgment Rites served as a sort-of sequel to the computer version of Star Trek: 25th Anniversary with 4 of the missions within the story arc of the game.
In 1994, three more Star Trek games were released. Star Trek: The Next Generation: Echoes from the Past was released for the Sega Game Gear and Sega Genesis. Echoes from the Past was extremely similar to Future's Past, released the year before. Star Trek Generations: Beyond the Nexus was released for the Game Boy and Game Gear, loosely based on the Star Trek Generations film. Finally, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy was released for the SNES and Genesis. The next year, another pair of Star Trek games were released. Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity, a sequel to Echoes from the Past, was released for the MS-DOS and Mac. The game saw all the actors from The Next Generation series reprising their roles. Star Trek: Klingon was released for Windows, though it was more of an interactive movie than a game. The next year, a sequel to Klingon was released in the way of Star Trek: Borg for Windows and Mac. Also released in 1996, the first game based on the Deep Space Nine series was release, in the way of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Harbinger for MS-DOS and Mac. The next year, a far superior version of the four year old, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy was ported to Windows. The PC port featured full motion video of the show, featuring the actors from the original series. Also in 1997, Star Trek Generations was release as the first FPS title in the Star Trek franchise. In next year, another FPS title, Star Trek: The Next Generation: Klingon Honor Guard, was released for Windows and Mac. This was the first Star Trek game to use the Unreal engine. Also released in 1998, Star Trek: Starship Creator was released for the Windows and Mac, allowing players to create their own ships to use within the game. In 1999, another three titles were released for the Star Trek franchise all for Windows. Star Trek: Birth of the Federation was a Civilization style turn based strategy game. The game was received rather well despite licensing constraints only allowing ships from The Next Generation series to be used in the game. Star Trek: Starfleet Command combined the Star Trek universe with the Star Fleet Battles universe. Star Fleet Battles was at the time a popular table-top wargame. Star Trek: Hidden Evil was a third person action adventure that served as a sequel to Star Trek: Insurrection.
The new millennium saw a huge influx of Star Trek games. A total of 8 Star Trek games were released in the year 2000, including the first Star Trek console games in 6 years. 6 Star Trek titles were also released for the Windows, the first being Star Trek: Armada. Star Trek: Armada was the first true real-time strategy game in the Star Trek franchise and was a large success. The game became the 2nd best selling Star Trek game of all-time, just behind Star Trek 25th Anniversary. The second game based on the Deep Space Nine series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Fallen was released next. Another first for the Star Trek series was released in the way of Star Trek: ConQuest Online, the first Star Trek game to feature online play. A spiritual successor to Star Trek: Starfleet Academy was released in the way of Star Trek: Klingon Academy which held many similarities to the recently released Star Wars games. Another RTS was also released, Star Trek: New Worlds, though not nearly as successful as Armada. The final Windows Star Trek game released in 2000 was the first game to based on the Voyager series. Star Trek: Voyager: Elite Force was a mildly successful FPS running on the Quake III Arena Engine. Elite Force was also released for the PlayStation 2. The first console Star Trek game in 6 years, Star Trek: Invasion was released for the PlayStation with a decent amount of success.
The influx of Star Trek games hardly slowed down in 2001 with 5 new Star Trek games all of which were released for Windows. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Dominion Wars was a real-time tactics game based on the Deep Space Nine series, which was highly anticipated by fans and critics alike. However, the game was seen as a big disappointment, due to rushed development and production cuts leaving the game almost unplayable. Star Trek: Armada II was also released in 2001, reaching mostly the same success as the previous game released the year before. Another real-time tactics game, Star Trek: Away Team was also released, though it was not met well with critics. By this time, critics had become wary of the declining quality of Star Trek titles. Star Trek: Starfleet Command II: Empires at War was also released, reaching none of the success of the original. The game shipped with a large variety of major problems including unplayable online, poor single player missions, unbalanced weapons, and many of the problems present from the first game that were all left unfixed. Despite this, a expansion pack, Star Trek: Starfleet Command: Orion Pirates was released soon afterward. Another Star Trek game, Star Trek: Borg Assimilator, in which the player would play as the Borg, was also scheduled for release though it was canceled.
In 2002, just two Star Trek titles were released, both for Windows. Star Trek: Starfleet Command III was released, which was received better than its predecessor but quickly became very rare due to a lawsuit between Activision and Viacom. Yet another space combat simulation game, Star Trek: Bridge Commander was also released. In 2003, just one Star Trek game was released, Star Trek: Elite Force II for Windows. The game takes place directly after the end of the Voyager series and runs on the Quake III: Team Arena engine. 2004 was the first year to not see a Star Trek game released for computers in 10 years. However, 2004 did see the release of Star Trek: Shattered Universe for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Shattered Universe takes place during the original series and was universally panned by critics. 2005 was the first year without a Star Trek in 15 years. Though, 2006 would see the release of 3 new Star Trek titles. Star Trek: Legacy was released for the PC and Xbox 360 in order to collide with the 40th anniversary of the series. However, the game did not pay proper homage to the series becoming the next Star Trek game to be panned by critics. Star Trek: Tactical Assault was released alongside Legacy for the PSP and DS. While Star Trek: Encounters was also released for the PlayStation 2. The next year, Star Trek: Conquest was released for the Wii and PlayStation 2 and was, surprisingly, met with favorable reviews. However, despite the praise from critics, the game sold terribly due to a total lack of marketing.
Star Trek Massively Multiplayer Online Game
Star Trek Online was released on February 2, 2010 by Cryptic Studios. It is the first MMO in the franchise. The game is set 30 years after the events in the film Star Trek Nemesis. It received mixed reviews from critics, most saying it was a decent game, albeit rushed and unpolished.
The game has two methods of play. The first is space combat that's a cross between real time, and hotkey commands. You can fly your ship yourself, fire your phasers or torpedoes (which you can buy and equip, allowing customization), and use buffs/debuffs that you unlock as you level up. You can also recruit bridge officers, allowing one tactical officer, one science officer, and one Engineering officer. These each grant you abilities to use in space as well as on the ground, which can be upgraded and customized.
The second method is beaming down to planets to take on missions, which has more traditional MMO game play. You move around from a third person perspective, and fire weapons and use abilities using hotkeys. Your bridge officers can also join you on missions, allowing you to use their abilities.