Voyager

Ultimate Star Trek Crew at Planet Comicon

Ultimate Star Trek Crew at Planet Comicon
Redshirts & Runabouts

 
 
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We’ve got a special episode for you this week as Derreck & Greg are LIVE from Planet Comicon! Check out this live panel as our hosts build the Ultimate Star Trek Crew with the Planet Comicon audience! We cover characters from all 6 live action TV series (TOS, TNG, DS9, VGR, ENT, DSC).

We’ll be back next week with a Disco Double Feature to review Discovery Episode 11 “Perpetual Infinity” & Episode 12 “Through the Valley of Shadows”!

What did you think of our Ultimate crew? Did the Planet Comicon audience do a solid job? Who would you put on your crew?

Comment below or hit us up @RedshirtsPod on Twitter!

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Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer

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Derreck Mayer

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Flying Killer Robots

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Ultimate Star Trek Crew at Planet Comicon

Airiam, Secret Bases, Mines, and AI

Without news to cover this week, we jump right into our new segment, random Memory Alpha article before diving into the main topic this week, a discussion of Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 9 “Project Daedalus”! There’s spoilers abound in this week’s episode, so make sure you are caught up on Discovery before jumping into our Airiam heavy discussion.

We’ll be back next week to review Discovery Episode 10 “The Red Angel”!

What did you think of “Project Daedalus”? Are you sad to see Airiam go? What are you feelings on Section 31’s HQ and Control? Did you enjoy our new Memory Alpha segment?

Comment below or hit us up @RedshirtsPod on Twitter!

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Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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Airiam, Secret Bases, Mines, and AI

RR43: Wizard World Tulsa Ultimate Star Trek Crew

We are doing something a little different this week on Redshirts & Runabouts. First off, Derreck talks a bit about how the show will go for the next few weeks with some things up in the air. Then, it’s a recap discussion of the special Ultimate Star Trek Crew panel from Wizard World Tulsa.

Be sure to check out @RedshirtsPod on Twitter and follow us!

What did you think of our Ultimate Star Trek Crew? Comment below or hit us up @RedshirtsPod on Twitter! Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts! The links are below!

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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RR43: Wizard World Tulsa Ultimate Star Trek Crew

RR41: Tones of Trek

Before we return to our TNG Mek’ba next week, Greg and Derreck sit down to talk about the Tones of Trek. In short, how did and do they tones of the various Star Trek TV series and films vary? How do the characters grow? What might have caused the tone of one show to be different from another? We also talk a bit about the Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth news pertaining to Star Trek (1)4 and Paramount’s response to the situation.

What do you think about the our Tones of Trek discussion? Do you see a show or character in a different light? Comment below or hit us up @RedshirtsPod on Twitter!

Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts! The links are below!

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Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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RR41: Tones of Trek

RR22: Controversy in Star Trek

Star Trek has been around for over 50 years. We have nearly 750 episodes across six… maybe even seven (yeah, I’m looking at you The Animated Series) shows. Sure, there’s been some issues with consistency and canon, but there’s also been some highly controversial moments both from episodes themselves and behind the scenes action. This, Greg and Derreck take a break from Discovery and the movies to talk about controversy in Star Trek. With Jeremy getting setup on the West Coast, we’ll return to our movie re-watch when he has some Internet.

Now, what makes something controversial? Well, we cover episode themes and content that perhaps turned broadcasting companies away from airing episodes, or ones that prompted fans to call up the network to complain. We also discuss some that even made the actors upset. But that’s not all. We talk about issues between certain actors and overarching concepts that didn’t quite pan out the way we all would have hoped.

Since we’ve been talking Discovery a lot recently, we do not discuss the new series in this episode. But trust us. We’ll be back for a follow-up episode.

How do you feel about our Star Trek controversies? Which ones should we talk about in Part 2?

Comment below or hit us up @HeroesPodcasts on Twitter or Facebook!

Join our three-man crew for a journey that will span decades, every episode, every series, every movie, and every possible timeline no matter how small.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, Google Play, and our RSS Feed are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer
Jeremy Monken

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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RR22: Controversy in Star Trek

RR10: Reviewing The Motion Picture

In our first non-Discovery episode, we go all the way back to the franchise’s new beginning, The Motion Picture. We discuss the legendary space pj’s, Goldsmith’s iconic score, the new ship model, and of course, V’Ger itself.

Where does The Motion Picture land in your Star Trek movie ranking? Is it essential Trek? Should future prospective fans just skip the franchise’s first big screen production? Did you buy the V’Ger concept?

Comment below or hit us up @HeroesPodcasts on Twitter or Facebook!

Join our three-man crew for a journey that will span decades, every episode, every series, every movie, and every possible timeline no matter how small.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, and Google Play are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer
Jeremy Monken

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes Subscription Link
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RR10: Reviewing The Motion Picture

RR03: The Tardigrade Cares not for the Discovery’s Cry

What alien species was the most misunderstood? Whose motives did we not quite get? We discuss this and then take a deep dive into Star Trek: Discovery Episode 4 – “The Butcher’s Knife Cares not for the Lamb’s Cry”. We talk about the tardigrade, dilithium, the Klingon plot, Captain Georgiou, and how the design of the USS Discovery finally comes into play.

We also announce the winner of our ATB Publishing Outside In: Makes It So Facebook contest and give a shout out to our first iTunes reviewer!

Join our three-man crew for a journey that will span decades, every episode, every series, every movie, and every possible timeline no matter how small.

Don’t forget to check out our Patreon for a special Patron only clue to our first movie scene.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, and Google Play are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer
Jeremy Monken

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes Subscription Link
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RR03: The Tardigrade Cares not for the Discovery’s Cry

RR01: Thrusters on Full

Enter the finale frontier, thrusters on full, with our brand new Star Trek themed podcast series! We introduce ourselves, talk about what Trek brought us into the fandom and then dive into the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery along with the first episode of After Trek.

Join our three-man crew for a journey that will span decades, every episode, every series, every movie, and every possible timeline no matter how small.

Don’t forget to check out our Patreon for a special Patron only clue to our first movie scene.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, Google Play, and Feedburner are below!

We’ll be updating the links as they become available. Right now, we’re waiting on approval from Apple for iTunes.

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer
Jeremy Monken

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes Subscription Link
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RR01: Thrusters on Full

SH S4E09: Ultimate Star Trek Crew

We build the ultimate Star Trek crew! We cover ten different ship positions\roles and fill those spots with characters from all five previous Star Trek series. That’s right, our Ultimate Crew includes characters from every series currently out. We pick our First Officer, Chief Medical Officer, Counselor, our Captain, and more.

Then, when we’re done, we discussing our Ultimate Sci-Fi Crew that covers the same roles but across all of science fiction outside of Trek!

So listen in and let us know what you think of our Ultimate Star Trek Crew, plus who would show up on your roster!

Also, go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

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Prefer to watch the show? Catch the broadcast below!

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

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Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
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SH S4E09: Ultimate Star Trek Crew

Top 10 Star Trek Video Games

Star Trek’s 50th anniversary is here, so let’s take a look back at the best Star Trek video games. As with other fan service games such as Star Wars and superhero games in general, Star Trek games have been hit or miss, some good, some bad, and some really bad. The best ones do three things: they immerse you in your fandom, they make a decent quality game, and are most importantly, fun. The games at the top of the list have all three characteristics while those at the bottom may only have one or two of them. And the horrible ones have none of these. For simplicity, a game series is counted as a group and only distinguished if the games in the series are dramatically different in quality. Lastly, I’d consider the game as more or less fun if even a casual Star Trek fan would have fun playing it.

 

#10) Dominion Wars – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Star_Trek_Deep_Space_Nine_Dominion_Wars_box_art

Was this a good game? Probably not. Was it fun? Certainly. Often found on the $10 bargain bin at Walmart, this was a brutally simple game. Fly your choice of ships in the Dominion War. Plot was minimal, graphics only just adequate, and game play was underwhelming. But what it does have going for it is the immersion factor. From Klingon Bird of Preys to Galaxy Class Starships, you zipped around in space battles, blasting Cardasian and Jem’Hadar ships to dust. Sure it’s a bit shallow but it got the space combat down pretty well. Considering it launched at $10, it was much better than it had to be. It made no promises to greatness but still sparked some fun. Because of this it just barely squeaks at the bottom of the list.

68373-StarTrekDeepSpaceNineDominionWars



 

#9) Star Trek: Deep Space 9 – Crossroads of Time

Star Trek Deep Space 9 Crossroads of Time

Though not the best Star Trek entry in the 16-bit era, Crossroads of Time is still fairly respectable all things considered. It has a pretty decent story that isn’t just a simple rehash of what was seen on the show. It also does a decent job of immersing you in the Star Trek universe by having you control Commander Sisko on DS9 and interacting with the crew. In one particularly interesting mission you go back in time to the battle of Wolf 359 and have Sisko escape his doomed ship while fighting the Borg deck by deck. Pretty exciting stuff. The only drawback is that it isn’t terribly fun. It could be the limitations of the hardware, or even that they only had the early seasons of Deep Space 9 to work with, but it doesn’t really hold much replay value unlike other titles from the 16-bit era. Crossroads of Time squeaks in on the list but only just barely.

Star_Trek-Deep_Space_Nine-Crossroads_of_Time_019



 

#8) Star Trek: Legacy

Star_Trek-_Legacy_Cover

On the whole, it’s a decent game, not a great game but a decent one. It does great fan service by having a story narrative all the way from Enterprise to Voyager and back again. Not to mention, they got all of the actors of the Captains to reprise their roles, even Avery Brooks who doesn’t do many of these sort of things anymore.

The game is basically a starship game where you control up to four other ships, issuing orders while taking direct command of one of them. A great variety of ships are used against a variety of opponents throughout the history of the Federation. Though it plays better on the consoles than on PC it’s still a fairly respectable entry. What may hold it back is that its space combat is dumbed-down a bit, I guess a little “video gamey” as they might say. Nowhere near as complicated as Starfleet Command and even more simple than Star Trek Online, Star Trek: Legacy is just a little too flat. I’d describe it like the difference between the game series Ace Combat and something like Microsoft Flight Simulator except maybe not as fun. The game is fun to play for the fan service but its lack of originality and game play hold it back. Star Trek: Legacy is fun to play for a couple of hours just not fun to keep playing.

star-trek-legacy-20061211015618728-000



 

#7) Star Trek Online

Star_Trek_Online_coverWhat to say about this one?  After the success of many other Multiple Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) quite a few studios tried to get the Star Trek license to make one for it. Cryptic Studios got the rights back in 2013 and the game is basically MMORPG with slight influences from Star Fleet Command. You fly your ship around for 2/3’s of the time and the remainder is on ground away missions. There are basically 3 types of vessels: tanks for Engineers (think large  lumbering Galaxy Class ships),  glass cannons (small Defiant types that hit hard and maneuver away), and the in-between classes (medium ships like the Intrepid Class) that specialize in more creative forms of space combat. Away missions have a similar model of tanks, glass cannons, and tricky science officers. But the best thing about Star Trek Online is its immersion. You can fly your ship to many places mentioned in Star Trek canon, launch your ship from Earth Spacedock, beam down to Starfleet Academy, warp to DS9, visit Quarks bar, warp to station K-7; the galaxy is yours to explore. Even visit Risa if you want. It’s just that there isn’t much to do when you get there.

sto12

Guiding you along in this adventure is a pretty good story featuring many of the cast from the show including the late Leonard Nimoy whose voice narrates you along the way during key moments. Other actors from Voyager are there as well along with many of the ships and locations from Enterprise all the way through to the end of Star Trek: Nemesis. This is a pretty all encompassing game. There is just so much here for a fan to explore and this is what gets Star Trek Online so high on the list. That being said, the game is far from perfect. It mostly feels like a copy and paste from just about every other MMORPG out there, adding nothing of its own and often accomplishing much less game play wise.  Cooperative play is mostly nonexistent and neither is competitive for that matter. That and maxing your character out leaves next to nothing for a player to do except create a new character and do it all over again.

galerie_Star_Trek_Online_126693695246

The space combat is fun and exciting though not as respectable as it was in Starfleet Command. The RPG elements far over power the simulator aspects of game play. Often you’ll find yourself just mashing the space-bar instead of being thoughtful. The ground combat is downright dull and atrocious. They’ve done a lot to lessen the role of ground actions in the game but when it first launched the ratio was more like a 50/50 mix of space and ground action; now it’s more slanted towards space. But the ground is still horrible. If it wasn’t for the dull MMORPG elements and terrible ground game play this would be an incredible game. The Star Trek license is huge thing to have to make a game out of a fan base that is loyal and Trekkies are definitely the game player type.  But the flaws of Star Trek Online are too much to overcome and that’s what keeps this game out of the top spots. Then again, the game is free-to-play, so it doesn’t hurt to try it out. You just run out of things to do sooner than you may like. But you know what, at least it’s better than Star Wars Galaxies.



 

#6) Star Trek: 25th Anniversary

ST NESThis was a bit of a cross-platform game varying greatly from console to PC and mobile devices. Riding on the heels of the revival of Star Trek in 1993 with the success of The Next Generation all of the versions of the games did a superb job of fandom immersion in  The Original Series that had just turned 25 years old. On the NES you spent most of your time on away missions that were very reminiscent of classic episodes such as “Paradise Syndrome” and “A Piece of the Action.” Sure, the NES version wasn’t terribly original or innovated but it did alright as a puzzle adventure game. Spaced in between away missions there were some space battles to be had and the overall story worked well, not to mention the 8-bit take on the classic Star Trek songs is still awesome to hear. Not bad for the hardware limitations of the NES.

Star Trek - 25th Anniversary (U)

The PC version though was unique in that many of the actual actors where used from The Original Series. Just as with the short lived Star Trek: Animated Series, Shatner phones in his lines and is kinda lame but Nimoy, Kelly, and the rest of the cast are as wonderful as ever. The game on PC took the form of a point and click adventure and looks great in an old school 8-bit style. The game would’ve ranked higher if wasn’t for the lack of innovation or at least being a little dull. What it lacks in other areas it makes up for by being as immersive as it could be for when it was made.

ST 25 Game play

PC version of the game



 

#5) Star Trek: The Next Generation – Future’s Past

Futures_Past_box
This one was actually pretty darn good considering when it was made. It’s a basic action adventure game with ground and space scenes, but unlike Star Trek: The Original Series for the NES, it had an original story, not some hodgepodge mixture of episodes. It was a brand new story all of its own, and that’s saying something.

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On top of that it’s actually fairly fun. For a 16-bit game, it’s pretty immersive. The helm interface is how you would expect it to be on the show, complete with LCARS style and star system layout and organization. It goes in order from;  cluster, star group, star system, planetary system. Very logical. The ship’s computer database was very thorough. I mean, in the age before the internet it was a Wikipedia in video game form. You could look up anything from crew dossiers to phaser power settings. You could learn the difference and affects of setting 1 through 16. You could even look all the planet class ratings; understanding M and Y class planets was interesting. Everything about the game was pretty darn immersive and for a Super Nintendo game it was as good as Star Trek could get for when it was made.

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The only thing that holds it back is that it’s fun but not incredibly so. Sure Star Trek fans would love it but the casual fan wouldn’t be all that much into it. The best games have even a casual Star Trek fan itching to play it. It was good fan service and ahead of its time as far as immersion but was only moderately fun to play.



 

#4) Starfleet Command II: Empires at War

Star_Trek_Starfleet_Command_II_coverBased in the Wrath of Kahn era, Starfleet Command II is basically a starship simulator game and what that meant is that there is an emphasis on realism, as absurd as that sounds for science fiction. After all, realistic science is what Star Trek is all about.  The Star Trek universe has rules. You can’t transport through shields, torpedoes damage the hull more than phasers, you don’t have limitless power, etc. With those limitations, you control your ship the best you can by clicking power to various systems to squeeze more into the phasers, for example. Should you save up for a powerful shot or use quick bursts of phasers? If your opponent can’t maneuver, divert power to forward shields from the aft and flank’em.  If your target is a fast little sports car like vessel, wait until he gets close, use your phasers to drop his shields, send a volley of torpedoes to take out his engines and then maneuver to his blind side. You are master and commander of your ship and the stars are your battlefield.

The game feels like 24th century take on 17th naval combat. Maneuvering and timing are important and using knowledge of you ships capabilities are key. This was starship combat at its finest in the world of Star Trek video games. The first Star Fleet Command is alright but it’s at its best with the second one. They also made a third that has a pretty decent story but it doesn’t really add much to the already excellent game play, but on the plus side, it’s based in the Star Trek: First Contact era modernizing the whole affair.

starfleet-command-volume-ii-empires-at-war-image705248

Though the game is uniquely fun, innovative, and immersive, what holds it back from the top of the list is that it gets stale quick. Sure the combat is great but that’s all there is. Nothing outside of combat is relevant here. It’s all action and no deep thinking, no exploration or sense of wonder. Other Star Trek games capture it a little better.

starfleet-command-volume-ii-empires-at-war-image559116



 

#3) Star Trek: Bridge Commander

Star_Trek_-_Bridge_Commander_CoverartProbably the one of the most immersive games on the list, Bridge Commander puts you in the Captain’s chair commanding first a Galaxy Class, then later a Sovereign Class Starship. Like in Starfleet Command where you pilot your ship, in Bridge Commander you do so by issuing orders to the bridge crew. Precise commands make this more of a Captain simulator than a starship one but the result is the same, immersion and some great fan service, add on to that a decent story and game play mechanics. The game also had the voice acting talents of Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner reprising their roles, awesome. The only problem may be that it won’t appeal to the more casual Star Trek fan as much as the games higher on the list would.

24259-star-trek-bridge-commander-windows-screenshot-severe-hull-damage



 

#2) Star Trek: Armada

Star_Trek_-_Armada_CoverartThe second best game on the list is a good one. Representing the often visited genre of real time strategy (RTS) you command fleets of often all too disposable starships. Four factions are represented; Klingons, Federation, Borg, and Romulans. If you wanted to relive the battle of Wolf 359 and see what it was like from both sides of the battle, then this was your chance. Add on top of that some interesting game mechanics such as being able to take over any ship by transporting your crew over, the Klingons and Borg excel at this, the Federation and Romulans not so much. Every ship had an unlockable special ability that changed how battles would unfold. On the whole, the game was a solid real time strategy game in its own right.

Star_Trek_Armada_screenshot_3

Sound was suburb and graphics are great for their time and was later ported over to Star Trek fan mods of other games. A.I. was pretty good too, so much so that they copied some of the code for Star Trek: Legacy. All of these come together for a game that not only die hard Star Trek fans would love but even a fan of real time strategy games can play and have some fun playing. It’s not perfect as the races aren’t terribly well balanced in player vs player maps. Romulans are way over powered oddly enough, but aside from that its an excellent game.

Star_Trek_Armada_screenshot_4

The game is fun and does great service but the final criteria of a great Star Trek game, immersion, is very much a part of it. Both the user interface and game controls look and feel like something that would be in the 24th century. Perhaps the most enticing part for the fans the Star Trek alumni reprise their roles from the show; Picard, Worf, Martok, and Selia all play prominent roles in the story that isn’t half bad for it being just a game and not an actual episode. It isn’t just a simple repaste of prior episodes but continues the story where Insurrection left off in epic scale, across time and space. If it wasn’t for the imbalanced multiplayer with the Romulans being overpowered this may have ranked higher.



 

#1) Star Trek: Elite Force I and II
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Does Star Trek work as an action based game? Even as a first person shooter? You better believe it does. Elite Force I was set on Voyager and Elite Force II was more of the TNG film era but both were spectacular.  Based on the Quake game engine, Elite Force was a blast to play, boasting a great single-player story and exciting multiplayer system. How many modern shooters can make that claim? Because of its solidly enjoyable game play, fans kept playing this one years after it released and kept modding it. This is because the game makers realized one thing, add a balanced multiplayer in and you add some replay value to the game.

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Making the game a first person shooter naturally lent itself to some real immersion like no other genre could. In one multiplayer map you had a Klingon ship and a Federation ship battling it out using the ships transporters to go between. From the bridges to the corridors fans could phaser it out to see who was left standing.

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Aside from the action parts there was a lot of subtle detail. You could walk around freely on the decks of Voyager clicking on controls and interacting with the crew who where voiced by the actual actors from the show. You could even click the auto-destruct or even start attacking the crew. Sure you’d end up in the brig or worse but the amount of free will added to the immersion factor.

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The three factors of a good fandom are exemplified by the Elite Force games. They are some of the most immersive and do some great fan service but perhaps most importantly they are the most fun. To have all three of these factors in a fan game is why it is on the top of so many peoples favorite Star Trek games list. Hopefully with the new DOOM game maybe some love will be sent Star Trek’s way and a Elite Force III will be made. Hopefully we’ll all be walking aboard a deck of a starship soon.

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Did your favorite game make the list? Where would you rank these games? Comment below with your thoughts!

Top 10 Star Trek Video Games

Star Trek in Right Direction with Nicholas Meyer

Nicholas Meyer is joining the new Star Trek TV series.

Most Trekkies, myself included, were elated at the news that Star Trek was returning to TV on CBS in early 2017. We’ve been without a Star Trek series since Enterprise went off the air in 2005. Since then, we’ve had nothing set in the Prime universe and only two films in the form of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness. That’s not much for a franchise that had running TV series from 1987-2005 which included four different series plus six motion pictures. The announcement of Bryan Fuller as the show-runner was great news. Why? Well, he’s been involved in Star Trek before, writing over 20 episodes across multiple series, mainly Voyager. He’s also been involved with very successful series like Pushing Daises and Hannibal.

Today, another great thing happened. Bryan Fuller announced one of the writers for the upcoming series, Nicholas Meyer. Sound familiar? If you’re a Trekkier\Trekker, it should. Nicholas Meyer has been responsible for three out of my top four Star Trek films. You can catch my full ranking here. Check out the official press release below from StarTrek.com:

It’s official. Bryan Fuller, who will co-create, produce and serve as showrunner of the upcoming Star Trek series, has just announced the news that Nicholas Meyer has joined the show’s writing staff.

“Nicholas Meyer chased Kirk and Khan ’round the Mutara Nebula and ’round Genesis’ flames, he saved the whales with the Enterprise and its crew, and waged war and peace between Klingons and the Federation. We are thrilled to announce that one of Star Trek’s greatest storytellers will be boldly returning as Nicholas Meyer beams aboard the new Trek writing staff,” said Executive Producer, Bryan Fuller.

Meyer, of course, is beloved by Star Trek fans worldwide for directing (and co-written, uncredited) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, co-writing Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and co-writing and directing Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

The new Star Trek series, produced by CBS Television Studios, will launch in early 2017. In the U.S., a special premiere episode will air on the CBS Television Network and all subsequent first-run episodes will be available exclusively on CBS All Access. The series will also be available on television stations and platforms in local countries around the world.

So there you have it. Meyer directed both The Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country in addition to being involved in writing both of them PLUS co-writing The Voyage Home.

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This is very exciting news because the two biggest hires that CBS has made to this point include two major Star Trek alums who have a passion for the franchise and were involved in what many of us call the Golden Age of Trek. Meyer was even involved in the film that brought the franchise back from the dead after the lack of success The Motion Picture had.

Many people, myself included, have not fully enjoyed what is called the JJ-verse. Many felt that Abrams was not right for the job, having been quoted saying he didn’t watch or like Star Trek but was instead a Star Wars fan. Now, I also love Star Wars and think Abrams was perfect for The Force Awakens and I think most would agree with that. But, I want someone passionate about Star Trek. This franchise means the world to me and to see CBS take it seriously and bring in two alums right off the bat makes me optimistic.

There have also been rumors that Tony Todd might be joining the cast. For those who don’t know, Tony Todd is also a Trek alum, having starred in 6 episodes between Voyager, Deep Space Nine, and The Next Generation as Worf’s brother Kurn, a future Jake Sisko, and the Hirogen Alpha. He’s also been in such shows as Chuck and The CW’s The Flash as the voice of Zoom. He was also involved in the Prelude to Axanar short fan film that leads up to the Axanar movie currently involved in a lawsuit with CBS. Tony Todd is no longer associated with that project.

So there you have it. CBS has added Bryan Fuller and now Nicholas Meyer to the upcoming Star Trek TV series. How do you feel about this? Are you excited? What is your favorite Nicholas Meyer Trek contribution? How about Bryan Fullers? Would you like to see Tony Todd return to the franchise? Comment below!

Star Trek in Right Direction with Nicholas Meyer

Star Trek and Religion

Science fiction is often times used to tell stories about the human condition because of how sci-fi uniquely offers situations and settings that provide such a rich platform for these types of stories. Star Trek is no exception and has often been lauded for its ability to provide stories that deal with various aspects of the human condition wrapped up in a Utopian futuristic setting. However, it seems Star Trek hasn’t really done as much exploring of religion as it should. Considering how big an aspect of humanity religion is and how Star Trek is often equated with exploring humanity, one would think that religion would figure heavily but that isn’t the case. This may be in part because of Gene Roddenberry’s pronounced atheism or the subsequent writers’ wish to keep one of the most controversial topics out of Star Trek but in any case, Star Trek simply hasn’t explored this issue as much as one would think and when they do, it’s almost never explored in a realistic or meaningful way.

Back in 1966 when The Original Series first aired, Star Trek religion-focused examples were few and limited. Perhaps the two most religiously oriented episodes are “Who Mourns for Adonais?” and “Bread and Circuses”. The former presents the origins of the ancient Earth Greek polytheism as a product of alien influence when the Enterprise discovers Apollo,Apollo an alien being who used his great power to demand worship from the ancient Greeks. In “Bread and Circuses”, the Enterprise discovers a society greatly akin to ancient Rome nearing its fall as paralleling Earth history. There is also a group of people who preach kindness, brotherhood, and peace who are described as “sun worshipers”. This is, however, confusing to Spock who recalls that most societies that practice sun worship are usually barbaric and warlike which is at odds with this group’s teachings on peace. It isn’t until the end when Uhura figures out that they are actually worshiping the “Son” of God. Again, paralleling early Christianity as it grew during the years preceding the fall of the Roman Empire, however, this episode seems more focused on how this alien world is paralleling Earth’s history and less about how the religion actually impacts people. Aside from these two episodes, The Original Series only scantly references any Earth religion usually through a Christian reference here or there from Kirk or McCoy and any time they discover a religious aspect of an alien society, it is always portrayed as being more alien influence similar to the Apollo situation from “Who Mourns for Adonais”.

In The Original Series movies, only one directly deals with a religious aspect and that is the heavily panned fifth film, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. In this film, the Enterprise crew meets Spock’s half-brother, Sybok, who has rejected Vulcan logic and seeks to find God at the center of the galaxy where the Vulcan heaven, Sha Ka Ree, is supposedly located. Once there, they discover an alien entity who passes himself off as God in order to gain Sybok’s trust. Kirk, however, discovers a flaw in God’s logic when the entity requests a Starship to be able to escape his planet and Kirk wonders why an all-powerful god would require a ship to do anything. Once the realization that this entity cannot be God, Sybok sacrifices himself to defeat the entity as the Enterprise escapes. Again, this film doesn’t really deal with religion in any realistic way since the “God” figure is again portrayed as an alien whose great power is mistook for the divine.Sha_Ka_Ree_God

In Star Trek: The Next Generation, the same attitude towards religion is again taken, although I would say much more militantly so, and the vague Christian references that Kirk and McCoy would often give are entirely absent in this incarnation of Star Trek. Every portrayal of religion is shown only in primitive alien societies who are seen as not having evolved enough to abandon religion as Earth has. I would hazard a guess that this is because Gene Roddenberry had become much more humanist and instead of thinking that religion wasn’t for him, as I would guess he felt during The Original Series, he instead began to feel that religion was an opposing force to progress and human evolution which is why TNG presents itself as much more atheist and humanist than its predecessor. One interesting religious aspect of TNG, however, is the character of Q. While TNG is arguably the most openly atheist and devoid of religion, Q is presented as an all-powerful and all-knowing being but uses his powers to annoy, badger, and generally cause no end of mayhem and misery for Picard and his crew. I would submit that Roddenberry used Q to say that if God existed, he would be a bully and therefore unworthy of divinity or respect.Q-Richterkleidung

Kira Nerys - Bajoran ReligionPerhaps the most religiously oriented incarnation of Star Trek, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine presents a multifaceted approach to exploring religion and is perhaps the only Star Trek incarnation that does this in a serious and respectful manner. The most prominent religious aspect is the Bajoran religion to which main character Kira Nerys ascribes. The Bajorans believe in a religion curiously similar to both Judaism and certain denominations of Christianity. Their gods, the Prophets, are beings of great power that reside in the Celestial Temple and are said to look out for and guide the Bajorans. Starfleet, however, presents the more atheist and skeptical view of the Bajoran religion as they see the Prophets as another example of aliens using their great power to masquerade as gods; however, due to the way the Bajoran religion is portrayed, mostly through Kira’s devout faith in the Prophets, the audience is often left wondering if the Prophets aremerely powerful aliens or if they are something more. Winn Adami - Bajoran ReligionThis is compounded by the interactions between more religiously important characters like Captain Sisko, who is chosen by the Prophets in the first episode to be their Emissary, Kai Wynn, the often antagonizing leader of the Bajoran religion in a role similar to the Catholic Pope, or Gul Dukat who, by the series’ end, joins the Pah Wraiths in their war against the Prophets. The depth and respect afforded to the Bajoran religion is something that hasn’t been seen in Star Trek before or since Deep Space Nine which I submit is unfortunate.

In Star Trek: Voyager, the only real religious aspect that the audience is presented with is through the character of Chakotay.
Benjamin SiskoThis Native American First Officer is portrayed as a devout follower of his Native American religion; however, his religion is always portrayed as vague, nondescript, and an amalgam of basic Native American beliefs with no attention given to how his tribe’s beliefs differ from other Native Americans or anything like that. Unfortunately, Chakotay’s religion ends up being used as mostly a plot device for when he needs information. During these situations, Chakotay will enter a “spirit quest” with his spirit guide, Akoocheemoya, and will always be presented with the needed information just in time so his objective will be completed. Essentially, Chakotay’s religion isn’t really anything more than a stereotype used as a plot device, making any exploration of this religion mute and pointless.Chakotay

In Star Trek: Enterprise, there is perhaps only one episode, Chosen Realm, that deals with religion. In this episode, the Enterprise crew finds the crew of another ship that are found to be religiously fanatical and use violence, mostly through suicide bombers, as a form of enforcing what they would see
as peace on a planet that has been war torn by religious war for years. Considering that this episode was released in 2004, it can be seen how this would be culturally relevant since 9/11 was still fresh in the cultural mindset and many people were blaming religion for the cause of that disaster as well as other violence that ensues in the modern day. As the episode ends, the fanatical leader of this religious sect is returned to his home planet only to find that the religious war he sought to end has completely destroyed his planet and left it uninhabitable. This approach to religion seems to mirror the TNG approach as it displayed religion as a cause of great strife and holding a people group back from evolving into a more peaceful society; however, it still seems that religion here is portrayed very generically and it doesn’t actually explore how religion works on a personal level like it did in Deep Space Nine.ENT064

With the notable exception of Deep Space Nine, Star Trek has curiously ignored, misrepresented, or criticized religion as holding people back from becoming better. While Star Trek is famous for its exploration of the human condition, it seems to have largely failed in this area. With a new series being released in 2017, I would hope that a broader and more understanding attitude towards religion be brought  to Star Trek as it is a huge part of the human condition that deserves more attention and respect than what the vast bulk of Star Trek has done.

What do you think about religion’s inclusion in the Star Trek universe? Do you think it got a fair shake in the various series? Comment below with your thoughts!

Star Trek and Religion