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The Trek Curse

It appears that Perpetual’s version of Star Trek Online has been cancelled.

I had an interesting conversation at work about this today. Rather than try to overanalyze or punditize it, I’ll just quote it verbatim!

Me: “Did you hear about Star Trek Online?”
D: “Big shock there… that’s an impossible license. THE impossible license.”
Me (meekly): “I think I could write a decent Star Trek MMO…”
D: “OF COURSE YOU DO! EVERYONE does! That’s the Trek curse! EVERYONE thinks they can write the ONE Star Trek game that will boldly work where no Star Trek game has worked before!”
Me: “(You didn’t actually say that exactly, but I’m just filling in your lines with cool catch phrases.)”
D: “As long as they are GOOD catch phrases. But my point is that every designer thinks they can make a Star Trek game because they all watched Star Trek as a kid and think they *know* the license. But everyone has different expectations of the license…”
M: “Does it pass the wife test? Because my wife will watch Star Wars, but she won’t watch Star Trek.”
Me: “But see, my wife loves Star Trek, but she is bored by Star Wars. She thinks it has too many explosions.”
D: “See? Everyone has their own expectations.”

There have been a few good Star Trek games. Some of them even playable online.

There have been some Star Trek games that were good simply by being “Star Trek In Name Only” – basically ignoring the license and making, say, a fun shoot-em-up.

There have been some Star Trek games that should have been good, but, well, had some issues.

And then… oh god. The bad games. They are all so very, very, very bad.

Now, I have no idea where Perpetual’s version of Star Trek Online would have fallen, but I can say that this:

stonline.jpg

As a die hard Trekker of 30 years standing, the Diku-mud standard screenshot of a Rogue fighting a murloc – I mean a Security officer fighting a Gorn made me weep silent tears.

Which just means that everyone’s perfect Trek game is different. Much like, well, other licenses.