(A rock version of the Star Trek opening theme plays while an NES is flying around space. The Nerd parodies the famous opening quote)
The Nerd: (imitating Captain James T. Kirk) Games: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship NES. Its continuing mission: to explore strange old consoles, to seek out bad games and review these humiliations, to boldly go where no Nerd has gone before.
(the Star Trek rock music plays over the credits)
(The Nerd is beamed into his chair)
The Nerd: Whew. Man. Wow, next time, I'm takin' a shuttle craft. I don't like havin' my molecules scrambled all over space. Well, anyway, what can I say about Star Trek? It's one of the biggest cult phenomenons of all time, and as a result, there's a whole galaxy of Star Trek related electronic video games. So much that it overloads my sensory input neuro-capacitors. So, let's just check out a few.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Vectrex)
The Nerd: First, let's try out Star Trek: The Motion Picture for the Vectrex. The Vectrex has a built in screen and a controller attached. Fascinating.
The Nerd: What made this thing unique for 1982 was that it used vector graphics. All straight lines, no pixelation, bright and vibrant. This is the way many of the early arcades were, but the Vectrex brought it into the home.
The Nerd: Only thing, there's no color, but here's how they got around that. Each game came with an overlay, you just slide it over the screen and there you go. I failed to see the point.
The Nerd: Anyway, you're just flyin' around blastin' enemy Romulans and Klingons. You can raise your shields to defend the Enterprise, but this depletes your energy which means that you need to refuel by locking on to your space station.
The Nerd: One thing that's incredibly annoying is this loud buzzing sound. It reacts to the graphics. It's caused by a lack of shielding between the ray tube and the speaker wiring. It's penetrating my auditory nerves, I must deactivate this game's power supply. (turns the Vectrex off)
The Nerd: Next up, Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator for the Atari 2600 electronic gaming console. Basically, it's the same sort of game. You're just flyin' around blastin' Klingon ships. You have to touch a certain amount of star bases before you can advance to the next sector.
The Nerd: You have sort of a radar screen at the top. You could almost look at this screen the whole time you're playing, so it's kinda like having two different angles. I find this to be an incredibly simple game, but for whatever reason they decided to make an overlay for the controller.
Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator
The Nerd: Next up, same game, same name, the name which just rolls off your tongue. Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator for the ColecoVision and Adam Family Computer System.
The Nerd: Like I said, it's the same game, but the graphics are improved. The ships are more detailed, the explosions are better, and your shield, photon and warp power are all clearly indicated, instead of just having mysterious blocks. Yeah, take that, you sons of bitches. Damn Klingons. Klingons suck my ass.
(The screen turns fuzzy)
The Nerd: Wait, what's going on? There appears to be an interference.
(the screen shows a Klingon ship. The Nerd's jaw drops, then the ship fires at his house. The Enterprise Red Alert siren starts going off while the room glows red)
The Nerd: What's the meaning of this attack?
(A Klingon appears on the screen)
Klingon: AAAARRGH! Fot-o-Nerd!
The Nerd: Wha-what is it, you want Genesis? (The Nerd picks up a Sega Genesis) You can have Genesis.
(Klingon ship shoots at The Nerd's house again)
The Nerd: Come on, this isn't fair: Come down and fight!
(The original Star Trek battle music plays as the Klingon walks into the room and pulls out a knife.)
Klingon: Aah! Foka-bla! Ko-na-chu! Ga-fo-chu!
(The Nerd karate chops his arm dropping the knife then proceeding to fight the Klingon more eventually bringing out a phaser and blasting the Klingon out of existence)
The Nerd: (relieved) Whew. Well, lesson learned: Don't say anything bad about Klingons. Klingons don't fuck around.
The Nerd: Anyway, we've seen how simple the early Star Trek games are, but as they went on they became more intricate, and there's tons of them. So, let's focus on just one more: Star Trek: 25th Anniversary for the NES.
Star Trek: 25th Anniversary
The Nerd: To begin with, the music and the graphics are quite good, but my senses indicate a large deposit of bullshit. The storyline involves the Enterprise getting trapped in some kind of dimensional gravitation gate. Whatever that is.
The Nerd: Unable to engage the warp engine, Scotty says that we need to replenish our supplied dilithium crystals. So that's all good, but cut me a break. You give me so much text to read, it's more like a Star Trek novel than playing a fuckin' game.
The Nerd: Spock detects dilithium crystals hidden on a nearby planet, so Kirk, McCoy and Spock all beam down to explore. You're relieved to finally start walking around and doing stuff. But only then is when you realize how astronomically ass this game is.
The Nerd: The first enemies you encounter are plants that spit at you. The projectiles are practically invisible, but lethal as Hell. You just wanna phaser fuck these little bastards to death, but they're almost impossible to hit. The problem is in the walking. You can't go diagonal, only straight up and down, or left and right. But you move like you're locked down on a grid.
The Nerd: Then you encounter these tiny little worms that crawl all over you. You think because they're so small, they won't hurt you much. But, no. These things are serious. So anyway, you're trying to find these dilithium crystals which Spock says is located in some ancient temple. So you talk to some of the natives, and they're like, "Sure, we don't care, you crazy spacemen from the distant future who we've never seen before! Go ahead and raid our holy temple!" In fact, they even offer to help make a repellent for the blood worms in the forest. It's like, "Hey, you wanna rob my house? Here's the key." Most illogical. Only thing, you gotta bring back a shooting flower so they can make the repellent. Shooting flower? You mean these things?
The Nerd: So you stun it with the phaser, and you pick it up. Now, of course picking up objects in this game is never simple. You think you just touch it and that's it, but, no, you gotta stand next to it, scan it with the tricorder, and talk it over with Spock and McCoy, and then finally pick the fucking thing up. So you take the plant to the witch doctor, and he makes repellent, and once again you gotta pick it up. "Shall I add the repellent to our inventory, sir. Yes or no?" Yes, of course. Please do. Why would I say "no"? It's like my crew are out of their minds! Also, they do a miserable job following you. Come on, how would anyone get stuck on a bush? So we get past the blood worms, shoot some sort of wolf sort of creature, and have dialog afterwards. "Will it be alright?" Who the Hell cares? It tried to kill us! Just shoot the fucking things and move on! A ghostly dragon pops out of a hole and then I'm suddenly interrupted by a dialog box saying "Be careful, Jim. That creature looks like a dragon from Terran mythology." (Kirk shoots the dragon) Yeah, thanks.
The Nerd: So next thing, you're in the temple. You come to a series of rooms with weird symbols on the floor. If you just try to walk across, you die. You gotta know right pattern. So before you even get to this room, you gotta memorize the order in which the symbols appear on the wall. So, unless you have an amazing memory, you gotta write it all down. And that sounds like fun, right? Why not play a game where you write down cryptic symbols? By the way, these symbols look extraordinary familiar. (Led Zeppelin music plays) So many symbol combinations and many dialog boxes later, you finally get the crystals, and then it's back to the Enterprise. Here, it's more like a role playing game, or a simulation game. There's many things to do, and many planets to explore.
The Nerd: If you're a fan of Star Trek, you'll notice that it's pretty loyal to the original series, and if you play it for a while, you might be able to get into it, and adjust to its crap factor. Not to be confused with warp factor. But for me, most of the time, I can't figure out where to go, or what to do. I tried calling the game a piece of shit, I tried giving it the finger, but verbal and gestural persuasions proved ineffective.
The Nerd: Anyway, this part of the game is based on the episode "A Piece of the Action," where you travel back in time to 1920's Earth.
The Nerd: First, you gotta find a library card, then you gotta get back your lost communicator. You zap two guys, you find a diamond, you exchange it with the shop owner for a marked deck of cards, then you find a bone on the sidewalk, and a gumball from some guy with a dog, then you find a hair pin, and then you find a stick, you have to put the gumball on the end of the stick, put it in the gutter, and fish out some coins, then you talk to a bar tender and get Oxmyx's phone number, give him the diamond in exchange for some plates, you take the plates to the police, use the hairpin and the bone to open up the door, find counterfeit money, use the coins on the phone booth, give the operator the number, go in to talk to Oxmyx about the communicator, he tells you to go to Cracko's place, he tells you Bonehead Malone has the communicator, you go to the casino, you give Bonehead the money, you give him your marked deck of cards and you get the communicator!
(The Nerd looks shocked)
The Nerd: (mouths) What the fuck...?
(The Nerd turns off the NES Toploader, takes out the game, puts a phaser to it and is about to blast it out of existence, but he hesitates, eases off, and shakes his head.)
The Nerd: No. I won't destroy it. Maybe the game designers did the best they could, under the given circumstances. You hear? You'll have to get your entertainment someplace else.
(a Metron appears)
The Nerd: You're a Metron.
Metron: Does my appearance surprise you, Nerd?
The Nerd: Not really.
Metron: You surprise me.
The Nerd: How?
Metron: By sparing the shitty game, you have demonstrated the advanced restraint of mercy.
The Nerd: Mercy this, motherfucker!
(the Nerd shoots the Metron)