Old Computer Games: Star Trek: Starfleet Academy
It’s a tragedy when old things don’t work anymore. Actually that’s not really true, as a lot of old things are rubbish. But some old things are good. I started ‘seriously’ playing computer games in the late 90s. Well to be honest, calling myself a “serious gamer” is probably building up my status rather more than is strictly accurate, but I did like to play one or two online. Mostly I frustrated people on the same side as me in team-matches, with my inability to shoot even the weediest, largest, slow-moving targets, whilst simultaneously being loved by anyone who faced off against me in a death-match. Running away as fast as possible tended to be my tactic of choice. This had the advantage of being unexpected by my opponents, which helped to both extend my lifespan and annoy the hell out of them at the same time too, although pissing off a bloodthirsty killer who’s already out to try and murder you probably isn’t the greatest idea in the world; but then again, what did I have to loose? Many of these games I’ve haven’t played for years and years (and some I’ve never actually got around to playing), so over Christmas I thought I’d get a few out and see if they still worked. Most of them are Star Trek themed ones; a lot of these got released around the turn of the century and there’s an interesting story behind most of them.
I tried eight in all, but only three would install and run properly. The other five either wouldn’t run, crashed very early on, or wouldn’t run well enough to make them fun to play. There’s no enjoyment to be had from trying to help Commander Riker from the Starship Enterprise investigate a damaged space station, when the graphics make it look like someone’s been sick all over everything after eating a banana-based blancmange.
The most frustrating was “Star Trek: Starfleet Academy”, which allowed me to complete a number of missions before reaching a particularly long and fiddly one against the Venturi (with no in-mission save option) which, however well I did it, I was always informed at the end that I’d allowed my ship to be destroyed. What? How did Commandant Rotherot think I got back home? Swim or flap my arms and fly many light-years through the vacuum of space? The man’s an idiot. I even hailed him from my ship (I was its captain you know) when I got back to the starbase to tell him I’d completed the mission, so all he had to do was look out of the window to see my ship and crew were safe. He wasn’t the least bit sympathetic either; no support, no discussion, nothing. What a useless teacher he is. He may be in charge of Starfleet Academy but he’s obviously just a stupid pencil-pusher who hasn’t a clue how to motivate students. “Your score is inadequate. You’ll have to repeat the mission.” Seriously dude, that’s not in the least bit helpful to me. He’s pretty well ruined my self-confidence now. After having the same conversation with him three times I got so pissed off that I tried to shoot at the starbase itself, but that just invoked an even more scathing rebuttal from him. I really did feel like I was back at school; then again, I suppose shooting at your own base isn’t exactly the most grown-up thing I could have done. I’m probably lucky I didn’t get expelled.
I think the solution to this problem and many of the others, is to get hold of an old Windows 98 computer and install them on that instead. That’ll show the idiot that I really am starship captain material! (I am, I really do believe that.)