Star Trek is coming to the world of massively multiplayer online role-playing games. By most accounts for fans of the science fiction series and gaming, this is exciting news.
But the real question for Trekkies is sure to be: which Star Trek?
First the news: At a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas over the weekend, Cryptic Studios revealed the first details and a trailer for Star Trek Online, an MMORPG based on the franchise. Leonard Nimoy was even onstage to unveil the game (a company spokeswoman said they're not saying what the price or release date will be quite yet).
I asked the spokeswoman which Star Trek the game will be based on and she said cryptically that Cryptic is "definitely looking at the movies and TV shows as canon but also looking to comics and novels for additional ideas." Unfortunately, I didn't see the trailer, but the screen shots Cryptic sent me look an awful lot like a Star Trek: The Next Generation fight with one of those smaller, circular Borg ships. I assume the new game will create its own Star Trek universe, inspired by everything from the original series to all of the movies.
But let's set aside the movies for a minute and run down which Star Trek would be best, assuming that shows that were heavy on action and light on handwringing would make for good MMORPG gaming (full disclosure: Star Trek and CNET Networks now share the same parent company, CBS, which we at Crave happen to think is terribly cool):
The original, swashbuckling Star Trek, which featured a svelte William Shatner; Leonard Nimoy; three seasons of Klingons who looked like swarthy, sweaty humans; green alien dancers; and occasionally brilliant writing. Lots of good fist fights and Shatner's faux kung fu (and who can forget Sulu thoroughly enjoying the sword play in "Day of the Dove"?), but the show's best moments were ultimately nice pieces of science fiction, like the famous "City on the Edge of Forever" episode, when Shatner has to sacrifice the comely Joan Collins to save the future.
Gaming factor: 7 out of 10
Star Trek: The Next Generation, my personal favorite with Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard, the android Commander Data, and an erudite flavor of benign imperialism doing its best to bring peace to the cosmos. There was some terrific writing on this show over the years, but a tad too cerebral for a video game?
That's not to put down games, but I'm not sure how you can role play Next Generation's brilliant final episode, which forced viewers to expand how they think about time. On the upside, it introduced the seriously bad-ass Borg, who did very, very bad things to Picard.
Gaming factor: 8 out of 10
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, in which a highly macho Avery Brooks (he of Spenser: For Hire and A Man Called Hawk) commanded a frontier space station in a war-torn area terrorized by the Cardassians and other menaces. Who can forget the epic battles between invaders from the Dominion and combined Star Fleet and Klingon fleets? Major kick-butt action, though it was disappointing that Brooks never once growled, "Spenssssserrrr."
Gaming factor: 9 out of 10… Read more