My personal jury’s still out on Facebook games (it’s still an incredibly young games platform, after all), but one thing I really don’t like about them is that they’ve been truncated from ‘social network games’ to ‘social games.’ That’s far too evocative a term to be applied to posting high scores and begging people for sheep. ‘Social games’ evokes playing games together, socially. For instance, chaining a bunch of PCs together and pretending they’re the bridge of the Enterprise. This is a social game. This is also the final frontier of space simulation.
The below is the nerdiest thing you’ve ever seen, and also the greatest.
Atermis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator isn’t officially Star Trek related, but it’s undeniably about the Kirk/Picard/the boring ones fantasy. And also the Sulu/Chekov/Spock et al fantasy. It’s game which involves networking several PCs, sitting in the same room and boldly going. What Star Trek Online should have been, albeit on a micro-scale.
One PC runs the grunt work by itself, posting the overview onto a shared main screen, while players take to their own PCs to don the mantles of Helm, Communication, Engineering, and Weapon Control. The terminals bark panicky electronic damage noises and make cool phaser sound effects. It’s a DIY Enterprise in everything but name.
And the Captain? He just sits in the middle shouting stuff. No PC, no actual technical ability: just barking orders and crazy plans. Y’know, “Warp Factor 2”, “Not-Klingons on the starboard bow” – that kind of thing. This is exactly as it should be.
There’s a demo here, with the full game download setting you back $60. That does, however, get you six licenses, so you can crew up to the max with one purchase. Although didn’t humanity do away with money in the Star Trek universe? Out of character! Out of character!
If RPS all lived in the same town, we’d be doing this like a shot. As we don’t, I DEMAND you lot organise yourselves into local groups and get on this, then report back with videos and write-ups. Oh, and if you lob the devs a video of your crew making the best of the demo, they might lob you a free copy of the game.
Make it so. And make it a bit less scarily-serious than this:
Awesome. Ridiculous. Brilliant. Insane.