Flight Simulator: Star Trek: The Next Generation (Game Boy, NES)
If you were a casual Star Trek: The Next Generation fan in the 80s and early 90s looking for a video game based on your favourite TV show, your options were severely limited. Star Trek computer and video games were overwhelmingly dominated by the Original Series (much like the franchise in general), and if you wanted a game specifically based on The Next Generation, you pretty much had only two options: There was a trivia game released in 1990 that was just what it sounds like: A bunch of trivia questions based on the show’s early seasons. The year before that there was the rather more intriguing Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Transinium Challenge, a sort of hybrid third-person adventure detective game that put you in the shoes of Commander Riker investigating a series of attacks on a friendly outpost.
This was all very well and good, but from my perspective back then there was just one problem: Both Star Trek: The Next Generation Trivia and The Transinium Challenge were DOS games, and PC games were things far, far above my family’s pay grade and class level. I’m not sure we even *owned* a personal computer in 1989 come to think of it, and once we finally did get one it was a Macintosh, a platform that is famously well known for its excellent pedigree when it comes to PC gaming. My…history with PC gaming is something that continues to this day, and I could fill a book with all the indignities I’ve lived through involving Steam, system requirements, hard drives, graphics cards, hardware standards, trolling modders and planned obsolescence. Suffice to say, DOS may as well have been a strange and unfamiliar ancient runic language as far as I was and am concerned.
Regular readers of the blog will of course know I eventually did get to experience a computerized representation of the Star Trek universe through the wonderful Star Trek: 25th Anniversary, which satiated my need for a Star Trek video game for awhile at least. But as precious as that game has always been to me, it was destined from the beginning to be little more than a temporary solution, because that game was all about the Original Series, and I wasn’t. I needed an actual video game based on the world I knew and loved, and, even had I known they existed back then (which I didn’t), DOS games from four years ago simply weren’t going to cut it. And it would also be really nice if this game would come out for a proper video game console instead of the computer, because that would vastly increase the odds of my getting to play it.
In my opinion, consoles are the natural home of video games. For one thing they have always been, and will always be, significantly cheaper than a high-end PC built for gaming. They’re also designed for one thing and one thing only, playing video games, which means they do that one thing extremely well.…