The Game: Captain Picard puts you in charge of a simulated mission aboard the Enterprise. With the helpful advice of Commander Riker, Data, Geordi, Worf and Chief O’Brien, you have to command the pride of the Federation fleet into a number of difficult situations, accomplish as much of the mission objectives as you can, and bring the Enterprise home in one piece. (Absolute, 1993)
Memories: It’s funny how so many of the Star Trek games I actually like can actually be traced back to Sega’s 1982 Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator arcade game. Though Star Trek: The Next Generation tacks on a bunch of bells and whistles, such as consulting the bridge crew about the situation (how Picard is that?) and having to go to their screens to kick in things like the shields, weapons and warp drive, when it comes right down to it, if you strip away these elements, it’s the same basic game: you’re blasting away at enemy ships and hoping to get more clean shots in at them then they get at you. He whose shields fail first gets blown out of the sky. In 11 years, the basic Star Trek game hadn’t evolved that much (but at least The Next Generation doesn’t get the torturously slow “story” scenes of Star Trek: 25th Anniversary).
The NES does a decent job, however, of bringing things up to date. The in-game graphics range from simple (the space battle sequences) to – by NES standards – stunning (the authentic “Okudagram” displays and the digitized faces of the crew, though their blinking eyes can be a little creepy!). Oddly enough, though, it’s a very late-era game for the NES, as the SNES was on the market by this time and support had definitely shifted to Nintendo’s newer console. (It’s worth noting, however, that outside of publishing, it seemed as though Next Generation as a whole didn’t hit the marketing mainstream until its fifth season or so, and the release of this game coincides with its nearly-identical cousin on the Game Boy.)
It may have taken a few years for NES loyalists to “make it so”, but Star Trek: The Next Generation was worth the wait.