Star Trek Predicts Future Of Video Games

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.

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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.

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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?

DISCUSSION

HowardC

Actually there are tons of "video games" on star trek, but much like the wii, they blurr the line between game and actual sport.

First off, you must remember that EVERY game played in the holodeck is technically a video game. You have episodes where the crew play around in the worlds of Dick Tracey (name was changed for copyright issues) sherlock holmes, the old west and ect... They are all playing a game, it's just totally emmersive.

On top of that, there are several episdoes in which technology has enhanced traditional sports, like hand-ball and fencing. The reason we don't see many video games on the series is that the captain is a french-man and an old frenchman at that. So he's pretty much as dull as hell. The rest of the crew consists of a blind engineer, a first officer that doesn't have any interest in anything other than women, a klingon (who btw plays some very f-ed up combat simulations) an anroid and a uber dork (wesley). So who exactly is supposed to be in the right demo on the ship to play games?