There's much that Star Trek tells us about the future of collared shirts, the U.N. and torpedoes, but we've been trying to figure out what it says about the future of games.
Sadly, the folks at Bad Robot, production company behind this weekend's Star Trek movie, were not able to tell us this week whether the era of James T. Kirk has room for a robust video game console market.
Is there a PlayStation on the Enterprise? We may never know.
But we do have some evidence that video games, unlike money (sort of), won't be eliminated from the future as rendered by the various incarnations of Star Trek.
At a meeting with some game developers this week, I batted around some theories. Some of them — people more expert at Star Trek than I — cited some examples of video games in the Trek future.
A 1991 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation entitled The Game featured a virtual reality game that was played with a headset and was taking over the minds of the crew. (See the trailer above). The polygon count of the game wasn't all that great, suggesting that the Wii approach of gameplay-over-graphics may continue to win out even in the 24th century. The episode also implies in the future video games actually will be bad for you.
Several Star Trek fans consulted for this post argued that the famous virtual reality Star Trek chambers, the holodecks, are themselves the ultimate video game consoles. The real-time lighting and bump-mapping in the holodeck appears to be quite good.
That is, alas, all we've been able to dig up so far. Word has it that the new Star Trek movie features no video games.
But surely video games are the future? We're not destined to go a world dominated by books and music as the chief cultural forms again, are we?