Have You Played… EGATrek?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Star Trek? Never heard of it. EGATrek is a totally original game based on a totally original universe, and absolutely, definitely not a conversion of the Star Trek game built for mainframes back in the 1970s. It’s not the only one, but if you’ve played it on PC, this is almost certainly the version that burned its way into your CRT and/or heart.

It’s a pretty simple game, really. As Captain of the USS Lexington, you’ve got a region of space to protect from the evil Klingons Mongols. It’s about warping from sector to sector, blowing them up, trying to take out as many not-Klingons as possible, until pretty much inevitably taking too much damage and boldly going where everybody ultimately goes. Honestly, even by the standards of the time, it was quite simplistic – those standards including such games as Star Control 2 and Starflight. But, this had one thing in its favour that they didn’t. It was free! And for a freebie, it wasn’t a bad way to spend a little time, playing starship captain and imagining future games where bits like seeking out strange new worlds, new life and new civilisations, and generally anything other than starship combat would take the focus. But then, fast-forward to now, and that’s basically the only thing players of Star Trek Online want to do…

At least we had Star Trek: 25th Anniversary to fill in the gap.

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42 Comments

  1. Kaeoschassis says:

    …yes. Yes I have. That’s not fair! I’m only 27, I don’t deserve to feel this old!

      • LexW1 says:

        38 here too, and I had entirely forgotten this game even existed until I saw that screenshot, but yes, I’ve played this, like a litany of super-nerdy Star Trek things in the ’89-’99 period (my love for Trek largely died with the end of DS9, but hey, Discovery has got me kind of hyped). I still have a gigantic ring-binder with all the rules for Star Fleet Battles somewhere (with tons of expansions – I know we had Kzinti, Hydrans, Lyrans, ISC and others).

      • phlebas says:

        42 and never played this. My parents’ first PC was only CGA, and by the time I got my own exciting VGA machine the era had passed. I’ve played a few other Trek games on Spectrum or PC though, including a couple typed in from magazines.

    • PampleMoose says:

      27 here too (jinx?). I honestly don’t even remember why I had this game to play, but I did. I saw that screenshot and it all came flooding back, though I could not have told you anything about EGAtrek before seeing on it – wouldn’t even have recognised the name.

      Actually, thinking now, this was probably the first ‘Trek’ product of any kind I ever experience. Certainly hadn’t seen any of the shows or movies when I played this.

      • inspiredhandle says:

        Another member of the 27 club here (not that one). Was about to post this comment exactly. Have no idea how, when, why I played this, but I have. Never in a million years would have recognised it by name.

        My parents were avid Trekkies so already was hard wired to love this.

    • GallonOfAlan says:

      46. GET OFF MY LAWN.

  2. hollowroom says:

    My god, I had totally forgotten this.

  3. Easy says:

    I have, with fond memories… but well I am nearing 50 :)

  4. meepmeep says:

    I remember playing some kind of port of this on the Amiga, possibly gleaned from a Public Domain disk via the back pages of a magazine. No idea what it was called.

    • hoho0482 says:

      Ditto. Would detonate my one nuclear bomb then come back to that sector and watch (read) my ship slowly succumb.

    • GameOverMan says:

      I don’t think there was an Amiga version of EGATrek. The only Public Domain Trek game I played was the one made by Tobias Richter.

  5. Jason Lefkowitz says:

    I did! But my favorite Trek-like was always Interstel’s Star Fleet I: The War Begins, because even though its text-mode graphics weren’t flashy EGA (heh), it had so much depth. Minefields! Boarding actions! Cloaked enemies (that you learned could be detected by eye, thanks to a very subtle flickering of the character representing the sector they were in)!

    There were sequels, but they never really lived up to the same level. Star Fleet I definitely deserves a Have You Played? of its own, though.

    • geldonyetich says:

      There’s the one I was thinking of! To this day I can remember many of the epic chiptunes they put into the C-64 version I played.

      Another great blast from the past in the genre was Begin: A Tactical Starship Simulation, which came a bit later on DOS.

      I also have fond memories of XTrek, which was basically a real time multiplayer version of this Trek game formula.

  6. Premium User Badge

    DollarOfReactivity says:

    Played a lot of this on pc, and was quite bad at it. I remember constantly being scolded by HQ for travelling too slowly: “Time is of the essence, Captain!”

  7. DasBlob says:

    I had completely forgotten about this game, but when I saw the screenshot, instantly memories of hours spent playing it came back. Memory is weird sometimes…

  8. horrorgasm says:

    I have, but I was more into Chopper Commando back then.

  9. Flank Sinatra says:

    Played the heck out of the 70’s version of this on the Apple ][ when I was a kid. Completely ascii, no graphics or colors, but my imagination ran wild and I loved it.

  10. Doubler says:

    Played a more advanced version. I remember you could blow up planets, burn space webs and destroy the galaxy somehow :P

  11. Colthor says:

    Yes! And its backwards (y,x) co-ordinate system annoyed my maths teacher.

    Pretty sure the version we had was even more shameless, not even renaming the Enterprise or Klingons.

    • acheron says:

      I’ve got the version with the Trek names on my collection of DOS games dutifully copied over from an 80 MB hard drive.

      From what I remember he originally released EGATrek with the Trek names, and after a sternly-worded letter from Paramount lawyers he released an updated version with the “USS Lexington” fighting the “Mongols” and so on.

      • phlebas says:

        Given the vintage, there’s a fair likelihood the names were in easily-edited text somewhere. So there were probably versions flying around with different names anyway.

  12. Paradukes says:

    Oh man, I’d utterly forgotten about this little gem! Back when I couldn’t get many games, and had to make the most of whatever I had.

    I remember being so proud when I discovered the laser glitch. If you fire your lasers at a ludicrously high value (Basically, keep pressing 9 until you run out of space), your energy level loops back around, giving you an almost infinite amount.

    I used to put the entire crew in stasis by finding an empty area of space, and then setting them to repair for a few billion years. Then when the war was lost and the Klingons Mongols infested the galaxy, I’d take my insanely over-powered starship and set out to reclaim it.

    Ah, those happy, simple days…

  13. MadTinkerer says:

    Yep, EGATtrek was the first version of Trek I played.

    The original Trek was text-based, open source, and written in BASIC. If Hack and Nethack hadn’t exploded in popularity when they did, we might have called them “Fantasy Treklike Dungeon Crawlers” instead of “Roguelikes”.

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    Andy_Panthro says:

    Ah, I was thinking about this the other day, after reading a post about the Star Trek 25th Anniversary game.

    EGAtrek must have been the first Star Trek game I ever played, unofficial though it was.

  15. apa says:

    Yes and quite a lot because back then the family PC had quite limited games selection… It was also a bit difficult for a ≈9 year old non-native English speaker who had never watched Star Trek :)

  16. KungFuMassa says:

    The Commodore 64 had, in my opinion, the ultimate version of this game. It was called “Space, The Ultimate Frontier”. The graphics were great, there was joystick support (which to an 8 year old was critical!) and it had a few interesting tweaks to the game (probes for scouting nearby sectors, interesting damage repair) that make it stand out above other versions. You can see it over at Gamebase64…not sure if it is kosher to link to the page directly :/

  17. Spacewalk says:

    Yep, on the school PCs. Along with CD-Man, McKids, Xargon and Wolfenstein 3D.

  18. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    That screenshot brought an instant jolt of recognition. I remember playing the old text BASIC version of this in the late 70’s as a youth. On the Commodore PET, IIRC. (I feel old now).

  19. mika76 says:

    Good old Nel Andersen. He also made shooting gallery and a cool DOS mahjongg game. Here’s an interesting interview with the man link to classicdosgames.com and here’s his games website: link to flightsim.com where you can download EGATrek and his other games.

  20. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    Wow. Goin’ back a long way for this one.

    Anyone ever play Netrek? That’s an interesting, if somewhat younger old Star Trek based bit of multiplayer malarkey. I don’t know if it still gets play, but it seemed to hang on for a surprisingly long time. (First created in 1988, it still had players in 2011).

    I’m also holding out for the inevitable “Have you played Tennis for Two?”

  21. Neurotic says:

    43 here. And yes, and yes to the millions of clones and (more recently) Android ports too.

  22. Collieuk says:

    Crivvens! This is a blast from the past. Got on this on a cover disk from PC Format magazine circa 1991. Played it loads. I remember when things got desperate you’d use the experimental Death Ray device which usually killed all your crew. Fun times though and a reminder you needn’t have great graphics to get absorbed in a game. I doubt my kids would agree now though!

  23. inspiredhandle says:

    Seems the further you get from official Star Trek, the more trekky it becomes.

    Prelude to Axanar vs. Star Trek: Beyond springs to mind. Hopefully the new series will bring the old fans back.

  24. briangw says:

    I had a version on the C-64 that looked similar but was more ASCII than this. You had a time limit to kill all of the Klingons on the map iirc. Good times.

  25. wodin says:

    I’m 45 and sad to say I missed this and never played Star Control either!!

  26. Synesthesia says:

    Damn! This really activated some dormant memories. I distinctly remember teleporting out of trouble right into a star, several time. Damn. I’m old.

  27. animal says:

    Ah I remember this, it was pretty decent.
    Anyone else played Birth of the Federation? I absolutely loved that buggy mess.

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