This fan remake of a Star Trek text game from 1978 is way better than it has any right to be

The bridge of the Starship Enterprise.
(Image credit: Interplay)

Lay in a course, Mister Sulu. You can almost hear the voice. And now, thanks to the enterprising programmer Emanuele Bolognesi, wannabe Captain Kirks can play the 1978 game Super Star Trek in a gorgeously overhauled audiovisual form.

Super Star Trek 25th is a remake / conversion of the strategy game Super Star Trek, written by Bob Leedom and David Ahl and published in the book BASIC Computer Games in 1978. Bolognesi has gone back to this title and overhauled it with the visuals and UI of the awesome 1992 Interplay game Star Trek: 25th Anniversary, following on from an earlier project that ported the 1978 original to PICO-8 (a virtual machine that mimics the 8-bit consoles of the 1980s).

"The result is Super Star Trek but played on the Enterprise's bridge," said Bolognesi. "In short, you will be playing the strategy game on the main screen of the Enterprise, but you will issue commands by interacting with Sulu, Chekov, Spock, Scott, and Uhura. Additionally, I added original voices from the TV series to make things even more nostalgic." In this blogpost the programmer goes into more detail about re-developing what was initially a text game.

This thing is amazing. I'm not a huge Trekkie these days but when I was a kid the original show was on telly all the time, and I retain enormous fondness for the vast science fiction fantasy it established. What Star Trek 25th does is take a relatively basic strategy game and make it not only playable but irresistible in its new trappings: Every one of your commands triggers a voice line from Kirk and a response from a member of the bridge crew.

The mechanics are simple but the game is fun and the vibes here are immaculate. The goal is to find and destroy a Klingon invasion fleet before time runs out, with the game randomly choosing a starting position on a 64-square grid and the Enterprise able to warp freely between them and engage Klingon ships at will. If you're in an empty sector you can use long-range sensors to scan nearby sectors, then activate the warp engines to jump around. In combat you manage the Enterprise's energy reserves, raising shields, activating phasers to attack multiple enemies, or aiming photon torpedoes.

After combat the Klingons will attack back and, perfectly, the Enterprise can be partially damaged, which means finding a Starbase to repair at and getting Uhuru to initiate docking procedures. Even more surprising is that, as the game progresses, you'll find the Klingons targeting these bases so you can't repair. There are even multiple difficulty levels: Not bad for something written 35 years ago.

The nostalgia hit with this one is enormous. It's a brilliantly realised project that takes a relatively simple older game and renders it irresistible once more with an audiovisual overhaul, all adding up to that jolt of happiness as you say "Mister Spock, full scan of the region." Time to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."