I’m The Urban Spaceman

There’s something disappearing from the shelves in your local video game retailer and I’m wondering if you’ve noticed. I suspect that there’s every chance you could still find it, buried deep in the used section or hidden at the bottom of an odds and sods bargain bin but, even if you did, would you still recognise it and would you want to part with your hard earned money for it? Maybe you’re glad that it’s given way for the multitude of new and exciting ways in which you can invade Baghdad, steal cars and slap along to your favourite song on Chinese manufactured plastic instruments. Or maybe you’re like me, trapped in the good old days and sulking your way to the bottom of those second hand treasure troves, asking all the while: “Where did all the Space games go?”

Growing up, the Space-Sim was my non-imaginary, imaginary friend. I was never alone with them despite the hours spent trawling through the cold dead of space on solitary patrol or being the only military ship in a civilian fleet. They managed to re-create so much of what was magical about the films and television shows I had recorded on VHS and replayed so much that the picture rolled more than a wheel of cheese on a Gloucestershire hill. The colour of the laser beams, the tinny space chatter and the sheer imagination that went into designing the ships – this was everything I wanted to be immersed in and exactly what I could be in the Space-Sim.

Mr Sandman...bring me a dream

The staples of Science Fiction were best established to break into the video game business; both Star Wars and Star Trek had such massive appeal that it would have been foolish for them to not to have got involved in the industry. For a long while, both franchises just out-sourced their existing material to various game studios that simply re-created the action from their respective movies for us young gamers to enjoy. Whilst Super Star Wars was one of the better series of games on the SNES, it was clear that there was so much more that could be done with a little creativity. Occasionally the games would go off the beaten canon track and throw in something new to the experience by creating new foes to battle, extending some of the movies’ sequences for the benefit of being able to spend more time in some of the games’ exotic locales. Sure, it would seem a little strange at first, but eventually you bought into it and, amazingly, found yourself asking where X was when you returned to the source material.

Being better positioned, with its army of writers and resurgence on television in the early 90′s, Star Trek was the first of the major IP’s to take a bold new step in the world of gaming by creating entirely new adventures for us to play and turning over so much more control to the player than ‘Run and Gun’. Star Trek 25th Anniversary and Judgement Rites put the player in direct control of both the USS Enterprise as well as the original series’ major cast members on multiple missions, spanning one big adventure. It was the closest to living the space dream that you could possibly get, giving you the all the glitz and glamour of space battles and weaving in a puzzling tale of mystery for you to solve, with or without the token Red-Shirt (Players were actually awarded bonus score for ensuring the Red-Shirt survived the away mission).

Sorry Pikachu guy, this is our new favourite picture

As fun as it was to take over the cast of the original show, not being content with creating an authentic experience, Interplay went one further by going for a more unique experience in Star Trek: Starfleet Academy. Instead of playing as the show’s feature characters, Academy set you as a training cadet in the ranks of Starfleet alongside a whole new cast of teenage ‘Saved by the Bell’ drop-outs with the rapidly aging Shatner and co. making appearances in the game’s Full Motion Videos in supporting roles. This was a much more complex and strategic game, asking the players to put their armchair Captain skills to the test. However, LucasArts, along with Totally Games, was one step ahead and a few months faster in getting their very own unique experience out and into the players’ hands in what is widely regarded as one of the best space franchises ever released.

X-Wing gave you the freedom of the titular space craft in a three part campaign running from before the opening of A New Hope and taking you right through to the trenches of the Death Star. Along the way you’d encounter characters from the film but, more often, were your interactions with completely new characters in brand new settings. This for me was what Space was all about. It was fantastic to replay the schoolyard fantasies in the games before X-Wing and Academy, but the new wave of space-sims brought so much more to the experience by giving you the feeling of actually being an explorer or your own kind of hero instead of riding on the back of Kirk’s coat-tails and Skywalker’s dodgy haircut.

Following X-Wing was Tie-Fighter, allowing you to see the other side of the galactic conflict, leading directly on from the events at the battle of Yavin IV. Similarly, Star Trek Academy offered gamers the chance to experience something new by switching over to the Klingon forces in the creatively named, Star Trek: Klingon Academy. Fans of the franchise’s sixth movie, ‘The Undiscovered Country’, certainly enjoyed the extra time spent with Christopher Plummer’s General Chang, who leads the Klingon Academy, as well as the vocal talent of Michael Dorn (who for some reason, doesn’t actually play the character of Worf – but instead, that of his younger brother). The game followed in suit with its predecessor but dropped a lot of the ‘in-mission’ FMV sequences that saw you interacting with your bridge crew. Instead, the emphasis was very much on yourself and, whilst this felt a lot more like a dogfight in space, the sheer depth of access you had to the technical aspects of the ship were mind bending and it’s no wonder that the game’s multiplayer continued on, long after the developers closed their doors.

This age of massive IP space conflict was coming to an end however. X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter was released as a primarily multiplayer experience with no single player campaign created for the game and X-Wing Alliance drew the series to a close, with the game being a celebration of everything ‘spacey’ in the Star Wars universe. XW:A was, without doubt, the most simplistic yet intricate simulator I ever played and one of my all time favourite games. The story, as with both previous releases in the series, ran parallel to events from the movie, starting out this time after the destruction of the first Death Star and following all the way to the destruction of the re-built Death Star some 59 missions later.

I loved the game for its ability to survive on its own, away from the major players of the movies, instead, focusing on the minor characters and the newly established Azzameen family with whom the game is primarily concerned. Where all the previous games had simply told you who the bad guys were and ordered you to blast them out of the stars, Alliance set up the campaign in such a way that you enter the conflict entirely neutral and, as events unfold, you’re soon itching for the opportunity to sign up with the Rebel Alliance and leave the world of Space Merchant far behind.

The beauty was in the depth; the characters were likeable, the story was solid and the world was authentic. Those with a joystick were even better positioned to be sucked into the experience, expanding the controls across Mouse, Keyboard and the Flight-Stick, with each being responsive to elements of the extensive control map. This was a game you re-arranged your desk for and I remember losing all sense of everything beyond my 15″ CRT once the opening titles had rolled off into the distance.

Star Trek continued on, with the licence passing from Interplay to Activision. The Academy franchise was never returned to the gamer, with Activision deciding to only continue the lesser known ‘Starfleet Command’ series. Activision wanted more; they wanted everything that was popular and they wanted it dressed up in a Star Trek Uniform. Enter Star Trek: Armada – a real-time strategy game based upon the massively popular Age of Empires system, but with the pacing of Command and Conquer and the glitz and glam of Space. Whilst being fun to play, you couldn’t help but notice that it was trying to emulate so many other, better games that were readily available and was reliant on the use of the franchise in order to make a sale.

Compared to Relic Entertainment’s Homeworld, Armada was nothing special and its sequel even less so. Star Trek: Elite Force also saw its release under the Activision banner: a First Person Shooter set in the Voyager timeline where the player assumed the leadership of an elite, commando style away team. This was a fairly unique experience for FPS games at the time as long portions of the game were spent just wandering around the decks of Voyager, doing pretty standard stuff such as crawling through Jefferies Tubes and chilling out with Neelix in the Mess Hall.

I’m sure you can’t help but notice that these strictly aren’t space-sims. I’m no longer strapped into the cockpit, fiddling around with sub-systems or trying to stay in formation. I’m not allowed to do those sorts of things anymore because the biggest publishers in the world don’t want me doing them. In this time-frame, Lucasarts are about to release a slurry of games and mini-games based around the new series of movies and Activision are trying to tap their way into every possible market using the Star Trek franchise. Not every product of this new marketing strategy was a failed one, many enjoyable games came from out of this dark time, but it was clear from all of this that Space Sims were starting to die out.

But that was over a decade ago. A handful of titles have slipstreamed their way across my radar ever since but, having dangled my feet too many times into the nasty pool of bad development, I’ve become so jaded with the space simulator. Clearly, there’s a desire to keep the genre alive and I can see the hearts and minds of the most dedicated are still trying their best to keep the candle lit, but the big guns have walked away from it all and taken their big pile of dirty cash with them.

The biggest of the big dogs, Microsoft Game Studios, oversaw the Freelancer project, developed by Digital Anvil and was probably the last of the space simulators to have me searching around for the Joystick. Only, those days were long over in Microsoft’s eyes; there was an easier way to play and, although you could still configure any Joystick or newly rising gamepad with a little tweaking, space could now be navigated simply with the common two button mouse. Gone too was the intricate allocation of ship power, the macro strings of sub-system access and the ‘SHE JUS DINNAE HAS THE POWER CAPTAIN’ moments when poop hit the fan but, with Freelancer, you didn’t miss it.

Whilst the simulator aspect may have been dead, in Freelancer the space part certainly wasn’t. This was a fully living, breathing and fighting corner of its own universe. Trading ships undocked from the busy spaceports and left the heavily policed commerce sectors, on course to the furthest reaches of space that were happy to pay a higher price for a common commodity. Sometimes they’d be escorted by a private security force and sometimes they’d be left completely vulnerable to a little space piracy and the only time you’d see them was as they passed the other way along the Trade Lanes (you were far too busy jetting around doing important spacey stuff to notice as the game had tons to keep you occupied).

Playing as Edison Trent, an innocent survivor of an attack on Freeport 7, the player soon finds themselves caught up in a mystery that will shake the very fabric of all space society. It’s the staple story but it’s well told and nothing that’s ever so crammed down your neck that you can kick back and enjoy lighting up the sky while it just falls into place around you. Away from the space opera, players are free to just blast off into the distance on a mission of exploration and have a jolly good nose around the other colonies. Docking with any Space Port gives the player the option to navigate around a few basic areas, though the control is limited to point and click navigation, interspersed by some generic dialogue as the game generates some basic mission text or presents you with a shop menu.

The intricacy has gone but the immersion is still there. Microsoft got it bang on the money, being able to offer up a game like Freelancer that was able to compete in the growing market of console gamers, by offering up an experience that wasn’t as demanding as the space games of old but still as enjoyable as everything that ever was. Whilst Microsoft don’t appear to have any plans to ever revisit the franchise, they have a rich universe to draw from should they ever wish to and a massive base of loyal and dedicated fans who regularly still play the game’s multiplayer component even today.

Sitting on the other side of the spectrum to Digital Anvil’s vision of space faring are the suits and tie affairs of Egosoft’s X series, the spiritual successor to the original Space-Sim – Elite. I’ve played every incarnation of the franchise to date and I can happily say that I still haven’t got a bloody clue what’s going on in its own massive world. It’s by far one of the most daunting games to ever grace my HDD with every ship you fly requiring a painstaking amount of time to get it speeding along just how you like it. It’s a fantastic feature in a game to give you just that level of control, but the flying by the seat of your pants stuff is lost in the process. I never once felt like the superior pilot or the master technician in a dog-fight during my time in the X-Universe, it was more that I’d made the necessary power calculations on an Excel spreadsheet, and my reward never seemed to match the massive time investment.

And speaking of Excel spreadsheets, what article discussing the evolution of the Space-Sim would be complete without referencing the Space Elephant (and not the one stood on the back of a giant turtle): Eve Online. I’m a huge fan of MMO games, having dabbled in them from EA’s early venture into the format with Earth and Beyond, and spending what I consider my MMO retirement on the plains of Azeroth in Blizzard’s gluttonous World of Warcraft. EVE Online sounded like a dream come true on its release in May 2003, with the promise that this would be so much more than existing MMOs with all players connecting and playing on one global server. Better yet, the game was to be entirely run by the players, rather than an autonomous conglomerate of NPC’s, meaning that you were free to step out from the shadow of endless, repetitive quest lines.

In reality, this couldn’t have been further from what I wanted at all in a game. Control was limited to a sequence of mouse clicks and battle was reduced to the standard MMO exchange of fire which was far too polite for my liking. It was as though the line in the sand had been drawn on a Croquet pitch and the Pimms was already waiting on the doily decorated table on the sidelines. Worse still, in my eyes, the game’s progression was mainly driven by the in game currency and the length of time you intended to pay for the game’s subscription. Novel as it was for new skills to be learned over a time frame that progressed regardless of whether or not you were logged in, it actually meant that a serious real world money investment had to be made in order to catch up to the rest of the universe. If you were intent on leaving the proletariat, you weren’t going to be doing it on the back of your extreme clicking skills or crazy hair brained Ben Sisko tactics…you were going to need a cargo freighter, a mining laser and an iTunes Playlist longer than mankind has ever dared to create.

This is when the game asks you to suit up in a way you weren’t expecting. Break out the calculator, the desk lamp and one of those funny hats that people only ever seem to do their tax returns in or let their dogs wear to games of Poker. You need to know some safe spots to mine the most profitable ore, the closest station for selling it on, who you’ll be selling it on to and for how much, whether you should refine the ore or not or if it’s worth grinding enough to be able to satisfy a corporate contract. All of a sudden, you’re not playing space, you’re playing Wall Street.

Take a look at the top end of the game and it’s a different story: they’re still not making the Kessel Run in less than 12 Parsecs but they are having a jolly good time. I’ve read countless stories about the un-restricted space piracy, bank heists and battleship thefts and it makes me smile every time I hear another tale from New Eden. The freedom afforded to the players has never been seen in any other major MMO and it’s a credit to the game that three years shy of its ten year anniversary, it’s still pulling in over a quarter of a million subscribers worldwide as well as continuing to break the record for accounts logged on to the same server, last month having registered 60, 453 all dialled in.

But what does the future hold for the Space-Sim? There hasn’t been a major Space-Sim seen on consoles since the underwhelming Star Trek: Legacy and, despite the pleas for LucasArts to revisit the X-Wing franchise for the Arcade markets on the PS3 and XBox360, it’s looking pretty grim. Over on the PC, Egosoft announced that the X-Series was complete with the release of Terran Conflict and were looking at starting afresh with a new venture into space, though details are yet to emerge. There are a handful of developers such as Ascaron that are still trying to keep the dream alive with relatively small and underfunded projects that, if you can close one eye and squint with the other, still play wonderfully but otherwise make you want to hurl into your space helmet.

I’ll confess to having my heart broken too many times by X-Wing wannabes that I’ve become incredibly jaded of space titles these days. I often see advertised, either on store shelves or digital distribution titles, a space ship with its engines shining so brightly that I won’t even click through or pick up the box. It seems these days that Space only features in far out Sci-Fi First Person Blasters and spaceships are only cool enough to take part in ‘innovative’ new RTS titles that don’t even come close to Relic Entertainment’s Homeworld series.

However, there is of course one flicker of hope in the darkness: 62 miles beneath the stars in Louisville, Colorado, NetDevil have long been at work on the follow up to Jumpgate, their Massively Multiplayer Online Flight Simulator (set in space!): Jumpgate Evolution. I’ve been following this one for quite some time and, despite all the niggles that keep clawing at my optimism, I’m still looking forward to seeing what the team have created, having had the rug pulled from underneath them when 3DO closed its doors shortly after the publication of the previous title.

Jumpgate seems to have it all. Combat is promised to be fast and skill based with no need to pack a calculator or sit through the agonising exchange of traditional MMO combat. Exploration will take you through and beyond the cold dead of space, into varied, colourful new regions with unique enemies, dynamically generated missions and profitable trade opportunities. Best yet, the game is, of course, populated by real people, giving you all the social graces that the MMO world has to offer.

It’s one of these titles that sounds too good to be true and, until it hits the shelves, I won’t be able to offer any further insight. The game has been in Beta for some time now and what feedback I’ve read from those naughty few who’ve spilled the beans, there’s a lot of promise in what NetDevil have spent so long trying to get out into the gaming world. Best still, the screenshots and videos that have hit the net look fantastic, so even if the game doesn’t meet my exuberantly high expectations, I know that I’ll find comfort floating in orbit above the shining stars.

I’m living in hope but I’m holding on all the same. Space Sims made gaming for me and I’d love to see them make a return to the store shelves. I’d even welcome the arguably lazy re-hashes on the Console Arcades as it would invite so many millions of gamers into the genre for what may, probably, be the first time. Whilst I’ve read dozens of commentators criticise the masses for having never played the game the first time around (back when it was cool), it’s so much more important that people get to play these games at all. So, should you ever fall into a rack of shelves in your local games retailer and crash through into the land of Narnia, if you happen to find a Space Sim, take it up to the counter, ask the nice person if it’s likely to still work and give it a go. You can only be disappointed so many times.

Last five articles by Adam



  1. Mark Mark S says:

    Great article Adam. You listed a bunch of games that were my bread and butter growing up. Freelancer was a huge game for me, the freedom was amazing, i can still remember the sound of the weapons fire. Star Trek Armada is one of my favorite RTS games, especially playing the borg.

    Games like EVE always felt to me like jobs you would pay to work at. Not the most fun ive ever had, but in terms of scale and depth, the most impressive mmo ive seen to date. Heres hoping Jumpgate is good.

    Bring back the space sim, i miss them sooooo.

  2. Rook says:

    Hey, I made it through one of your articles and I did it reading it on my new phone.

    I always wanted a sci-fi rpg and got my wish with Mass Effect granted (the first game was better in my opinion). I liked space themed games but not into the space combat games; Star Trek Armada/Legacy didn’t appeal to me at all. I don’t mind some space combat, but give me away missions and roaming round the ship investigating and solving problems.

    I wish someone would give Star Trek the KOTOR treatment, that could make me happy. Or a Babylon 5 game.

  3. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    My only voyage into the world of space sims, if you can call them that, was when I played Mercenary on my Amiga back in 1985 or thereabouts… it didn’t have the complex structure that the above games had as it was vector-style graphics and there was no sense of realism whatsoever, but it was great fun. I remember the first time I actually rebuilt the craft and took to the skies, it was incredible… even though it was just white lines on a screen. To this day, I still remember the flutter in my stomach as I got to each goal and progressed further. Few games are even capable of that today, yet are so much more photorealistic… which is odd, to say the least.

    Next up was Elite, which was more akin to the games you cite above but still not quite as involved. That’s as far as I ever got in to space sims. I’m holding off until I can do it for real, I think.

  4. Sonic Alpha says:

    I must have missed Klingon Academy, such a shame as I loved Starfleet Academy to bits.

    Also loved Star Trek: Away Team (a Commandos style game), and Klingon Honour Guard (which sadly came out around the same time as Half-Life, and as a result was overlooked by many).

  5. Stu Etherfiend says:

    A great article, and I’ve also had my eye on NetDevil. Could that be the game that drags me kicking and screaming back into the world of MMOs?

    I still rank the best game that I ever played as Elite with Wing Commander a very close second (rose-tinted glasses rules apply!). There is quite a good underground community that still produce mods for Freespace, Freelancer and there is also an independant Wing Commander game being produced that looks to be incredibly promising.

    Fingers crossed as people tire of yet another FPS some of the other genres begin to get exposure. The Darkstar One port to the Xbox, for example, was a great start – hopefully more will follow. :)

  6. Adam Adam says:

    Thanks all, quite enjoyed re-reading it myself -haven’t looked at it in a lonnng time :p


    Freelancer still perplexes me as to how it never made a sequel. Piracy I think is blamed for the games sales performance with so many having played the game but so few having actually paid for it. I still believe theres the potential to really make something of the franchise though for everything that the game was. The whole setting was brilliant and how that material hasn’t been adapted into another title is just bizzare. I loved Armada and it’s sequel. It was for all intents and purposes a well done modification of Age of Empires II but it’s campaign was a lot of fun and I sank hours into epic skirmishes against the AI with some friends.

    I had a soft spot for the Klingons myself and it always amazed me the few times I went into the competitive side of the online just how many had never looked beyond the Federation! Still, there wasn’t much that could stop an Armada (no pun intended) of Akira vessels with Chain Torpedo’s. Took out a pretty hefty Borg Fleet + Base with about 60 of those :S


    Yay for your new phone and having not died a slow and painful death reading :D

    There are some fantastic space games out there that were doing the whole puzzle/adventure thing long before Mass Effect and KOTOR came along. Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force was a fantastic FPS game, powered by Quake II that had such a special feel to it for the immersion it gave you. You weren’t simply just tooling around fraggin stuff, you really got into the role you were playing and that carried over into the MultiPlayer with modders creating a whole sub-genre Online. Long before STO was even anywhere near a table, gamers had banded together, created .BSP’s of full ship interiors and were enjoying creating their own legends. I got involved in one briefly, a little too serious for my liking but I still hear whispers of the dedicated few that carried it on in EF2 (it’s updated sequel which took you from Voyager onto the Enterprise E).

    Star Trek did run a succesful series of puzzle games that were more focused on that whole Episode of Star Trek, away team aspect. Lee will be able to tell you of the sheer frustration felt from playing The Next Generation: A Final Unity where you’re out there solving the mysteries of the universe. A great point and click game, fully voiced by the cast and accurate to the show :) Admittedly, nothing has ever been attempted on the Mass Effect Scale of things and despite it’s massive success, I still doubt that anyone else ever will. Still, we can all dream.


    KA was riddled with bugs and 14 Degree’s East were forced to close it’s doors long before they even got close to ironing them all out. It’s well worth a play providing you can find it (Either it’s 6 CD-ROM version or if you google for the DVD version, you’ll probably find a D2D one along with it these days, some clever sod repackaged the whole thing a few years after the licence went bust). KA played a lot better than SFA though it was a shame that they stepped away from the Bridge Setting of it and simply gave you 1-9 Macro Menu’s along with a few Klingon themed Panels that you spent so long clicking through, chances are you were long dead before you got anywhere with them.

    Away Team was a lot of fun, never finished it but I enjoyed it having found it in the XPLosiv’s budget range a few years back. Honor Guard was doomed from the start (again, no pun intended) but yes, thanks to Half Life, it never really ever got a look in in much the same way that Star Wars Republic Commando never got a look in because of Halo (RepCommando is damned awesome if you can stomach enjoying anything from Eps 1-3).


    I think the very first game I played that was sort of spacey (other than Rebel Assault) was something I think I played on an Acorn PC. I can’t remember the name of it and hopefully someone will help me out here. Essentially you played a 3D Green Triangle (More Diamond shaped perhaps but it was pointy at the front) and you were able to roam a 3D style (by which I mean a roating world similiar to the special stages in Sonic 3) with the object being to destroy a number of other ships. Control conisted of firing the ships main thruster and having to angle the ship forwards and backwards in order to control speed. Landing to refuel was a damned near impossibility but personally very rewarding at age 6 and for some reason, every level was occupied by lush greenery that you expect to find in a desert mirage Oasis. I have no idea if that paints a particularly clear description of the game and it doesn’t correspond to white lines on a screen but I had the same flutter in my stomach completely for how amazing it all was at the time despite the basic nature of it all.

    I kind of got the same feeling watching Free Radicals cancelled and now buried Star Wars Battlefront 3. I was a fan of both the series and the new developer and they really were on course for something special. The project got passed on and has since dissappeared but this footage ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVKasNTrzWs ) still exists and the part where I kinda had that same butterfly feeling came in from around the 30 second mark. Essentially someone hops in a ship, takes off and flies from the atmosphere, into space. It doesn’t sound like much or anything particularly technically impressive but its something that for some reason had never been done in a space game that I’d ever played without the transition requiring some bullfunky load.


    Thanks :) It’s a shame that the first Jumpgate project lost its support at launch. I read a lot of what NetDevil post to it’s community and the wider gaming world and they really have a passion for the genre, I really do see Jumpgate Evolution being something wonderful.

    I missed both Elite and Wing Commander. I think if I was of Elites Era then I would massively have gotten into it in the same way that I did Sid Meirs Pirates a few years back. I loved that game for the way that it had you not doing very much at all but feeling awesome for doing it. Wing Commander I never played though G-Police and Colony Wars certainly gave me my fill during that time. Star Trek also managed to get Invasion out onto the Playstation which was a lot of fun. Fighting the borg was damned rough but the game was pretty spot on for a space fighter.

    Freespace 2 saw a wicked Battlestar Mod ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1Jx-KL0EnE ) – Never got the chance to play it but incredible work by the team all the same

    Fingers crossed indeed! I’m not in objection to other genres adopting Space Sim mechanics into their games, the problem is that it ends up as a token gimmick in a respect that tends to only ever feature for one level and whilst it may well look pretty, you can still see the cracks. My worst fear is that they shoe horn something into Mass Effect 3 having tested the water with it’s space tank think in the DLC recently. I’d love to have a Mass Effect Space sim but both aspects of the game really stand to suffer if they were to ever add it in more prominently.

  7. Rook says:

    @Adam – I missed out on the Elite Force games somehow, I’m not a PC gamer and think ‘maybe’ one of them did make it to console. I do have Star Trek: A Final Unity, can’t remember how far I got or why I stopped playing it, pretty sure I never completed it. I have DS9 Harbinger which I did complete but that was before I had a console.

  8. Adam Adam says:

    Elite Force made PS2 though the sequel did not. They’re still pretty playable as the Quake 3 Engine has stood the test of time and you will probably see it for the PC in a Petrol Station for about a pound if you keep an eye out :p

    Haha I was just looking on Amazon.co.uk to see if I could pick up the DS9 games (Never did get around to them -I had Dominion Wars but could never get the damn thing to run. I did just stumble across Star Trek: Hidden Enemy (based on Insurrection). Heres an honest to Odo selling point

    -Master the Vulcan nerve pinch for the first time in real time!

  9. Richie richie says:

    Excellent stuff.

    Freelancer remains a favourite of mine. Shame the story mode was over so quickly though.

    Darkstar wasn’t quite there unfortunately but I hope someone comes along and pushes the genre forward soon.

    Maybe that Braben bloke?

  10. Lorna Lorna says:

    Interesting stuff. While I actually own several, I haven’t really sunk much into the world of space sims, though the one I really have touched will be the subject of an I Heart piece very soon. You’re right in that it seems, sadly, to be a dying genre, which is a crying shame with the wealth of possibilites and scope that such games could have in the right hands. With no history or authenticity to toe the line with, rules can be made, science twisted, and imaginations set free, however, the genre still seems woefully underpopulated. I suppose, all it would take would be one heavy mainstream hit and it would explode though. A damn good space sim/trading/combat/strategy game would be good stuff indeed. Nice article!

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