I started writing this a year ago, I think. That last rant at the bottom was all I had to show for it by the time I picked this up. The timeline is tricky. I played the games I review here at the beginning of June 2018. Whatever. So why am I combining reviews for a Star Wars and a Star Trek game? Well, neither game has much going for it on its own. And as for the rant… well, this blog and certainly some of my earlier posts tied-in opinions on social and political issues with games. It’s also a good thought experiment and once again shows that you can always out-Progressive a Progressive, relating to a point I made a while ago about them eating each other.
Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator
This came out for a few systems and computers, but I only have it on the Atari 2600, 5200, and Colecovision. The arcade version looks pretty awesome, it’s like you’re playing in those vector graphics that we see on the viewscreen in Star Trek II during the opening scenes. But not on the home ports-they just did sprites for those. The sounds are about what you’d expect- beeps, boops, and static.
Colecovision- it’s supposed to be in color but A: the system gives you the option to do black and white and B: the cord or the system was messing up so all I got was the black and white image.
The premise of the game is appropriate for the vector-graphicked version: you are a cadet playing around in a simulator just like at the beginning of Star Trek II when we saw the aforementioned vector graphics. You fight Klingons, and then Nomad for whatever reason as sort of the final boss. The game doesn’t really end- you get a congratulatory screen for beating Nomad, then you go back to the beginning and do the levels all over again. They come in a pattern- a couple of Klingons assaulting a starbase (dock at it to repair and reload your ship), then an asteroid field you have to navigate, then more levels of Klingons attacking other starbases, then the Nomad fight, rinse and repeat.
Atari 2600 version. You’ll note that in all 3 screenshots in the bottom half of the screen I am targetting the same type of ship (Klingon Battlecrusier) from the same angle (the front), and in each game it looks different.
Such a complicated game! So much so that you need the Atari 2600’s joystick AND the single button on it! Well, like I said, there just wasn’t enough about it to warrant its own article.
Star Wars Arcade
Those little fuzzy balls you see two of on the right of the screen in between the TIE Fighters are energy bolts of some kind. When of them hit my X-Wing, it made my Colecovision’s video output change from a clear black and white to this grainy colorized image.
I only had this on the Atari 5200 and Colecovision.
Atari 5200- going against the towers
You re-enact the climax of the first Star Wars movie by fighting your way through TIE Fighters and then running along the Death Star’s trench. Once you beat that, you are taken back to the TIE Fighters, but then once they’re cleared you’re treated to a new stage: you skim along the surface of the Death Star blasting the towers (shield towers I think is what they were called in Star Wars Rogue Squadron II). After that, you’re back in the trench. Then back to the TIE Fighers. Rinse and repeat. See? Not enough to float its own post!
Atari 5200- trench
I do have a bit of a gripe with this game though, a gripe I extend to some segments of Star Wars: Rebel Assault. Aiming the crosshairs (except in the TIE Fighter swarm) also moves your ship around. So if I’m aiming at a tower to my left, then move the crosshairs over there, the whole ship is going to move over towards it. That makes me somewhat reticent to actually aim at anything, and it makes dodging things a slow process because your crosshair has to go all the way across the screen before you lurch in that direction.
Trek Wars Section III: The Last Rant
Yup, this would be way too short, so I’ll use the above discussion of Star Wars Arcade as a farcical justification for this total non-sequitur. Besides- above I gave the “Trek Wars” mentioned in the title, so I owe you a “Star Story”.
Here’s a long overdue critique that I touched on in a previous post (a 16 month old post). But I haven’t really gone after culture warriors or elaborated on my earlier remarks, so I might as well get that taken care of here. Maybe these remarks are still sort of current at the least because there hasn’t been a new Star Wars since I wrote them.
I ran into a reddit thread where the gist was that if you hated any of the recent Star Wars movies you were a sexist. That was the view held by every person in that thread. So I’m sexist, because Last Jedi was less enjoyable to watch than the Holiday Special. At least the Holiday Special had Jefferson Starship and Harvey Korman! Last Jedi on the other hand was a racist and sexist dumpster fire.
Rumors that David Duke designed the Mary Sue Asian character after attending an anime convention have so far not been substantiated. Image from Politico
You read right- it was racist. First of all, let’s start with the “diverse” human cast. If I were to ask a Klansman to build an anime fangirl from the ground up, he’d come up with Rose (I found it particularly ironic that “Twitter user @fangirlJeanne tweeted, “This isn’t just ‘hate of the character.’ This is sexism and racism. They don’t like Rose because she isn’t a racist stereotype of Asian women. She’s not sexually objectified, not demure, and she doesn’t have purple streaks in her hair. They resent her being a actual person.”” Because guess what, she is a hilarious racial stereotype! Asian female otaku Mary Sued into the plot, to use the parlance. The Trade Federation were subtle and nuanced in comparison.). Second, let’s get to the human-centric nature of the films. Star Wars takes place in a galaxy where millions of sentient lifeforms exist, yet Last Jedi revolved solely around humans. I thought the message was diversity? Why am I watching a human-centric film where humans save the galaxy? Are all other races inferior to the human race? #GunganLivesMatter. And what about the human races NOT represented? Blacks, Asians, Whites, and Hispanics, but where are the Indians and Native Americans? I don’t recall any Somalians or Samoans or Saudi Arabians either. Hmmmm… only blacks, whites, asians, and hispanics matter?
You read right about the sexism allegation too- where were the trans characters? We had some skin color diversity and a mix of males and females, but what about transmen and transwomen? Where are they? Were any homosexuals represented? The filmmakers left that out. And where was the Muslim character? Seems the filmmakers forgot a few boxes on their diversity checklist. Having more than one skin color and a smattering of male and female humans does not make your cast diverse, especially when you have a whole galaxy of races and genders and sexualities that are not represented, or in this case implied to be inferior because the cis humans are the only ones that matter. Liberals complain about how Western-centric world history and culture is, yet here they are showing that we are supposed to support such a thing in a galaxy far far away.
Can’t even rely on the ol’ rainbow flag to symbolize Star Wars’ diversity. How many species in that universe can’t see one or more of these colors (for that matter, how about the colorblind in the human race?)? How many species can see MORE than the colors the human eye is capable of seeing? Infrared and Ultraviolet are probably colors to a sentient Star Wars race. Image from Wikimedia
Beyond their agenda for diversity exposing how racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, transphobic, and Western-centric the scriptwriters really are, we also get to just plane bad writing. The First Order can’t target capital ships far away, but can target the much smaller escape pods of those capital ships when they get even farther away? If going into lightspeed to destroy an enemy fleet is so easy, why was the Death Star so big a threat? Why was the planet superweapon in Force Awakens such a big threat? And those stupid speeders on that salt planet- first of all their existence is an abomination, but also why was that scene even needed? If all they had to do was shoot at the cannon that was about to destroy the base’s front door as the cannon was getting ready to fire, why didn’t they wait until it was closer to being ready? Why didn’t they just aim a cannon at it from in front of the base and shoot it? The way they make it sound, and the way the blasters on the speeders are, you’d think that if Han shot first with his trusty DL-44 then the cannon would explode like Cannon after a wafer-thin mint (a warning to the squeamish- that wafer thin mint link goes to the relevant clip from Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life)! And Princess Leia suddenly learning to use the force while dead in space- where did that even come from?!
Oh, and one more thing- the Resistance and First Order ships spent much of the movie constantly accelerating at sublight speeds. Well, for those versed in relativity you should understand that while minutes were passing for the people going at that speed on the ship, days and years were passing for the rest of the galaxy. Look up the twin paradox. So when they went to find Benecio Del Toro‘s character, to the Resistance ships that whole segment should have lasted only a couple of minutes if not seconds. I bet the real reason no one responded when Princess Leia asked for help at the end was that decades passed for the rest of the galaxy while the Resistance and First Order were at relativistic speeds. With all the Resistance and the might of the First Order travelling out of time in that one area, the rest of the galaxy could easily have forgotten about all of them by the time she signaled for help. Now, for the audience too it probably seemed like years, but that had more to do with bad storytelling than it did with relativistic travel and time dilation.
However, to the people in the reddit thread I read, none of the above matters because I’m sexist, I’m just mansplaining why the female head of the Star Wars franchise should be replaced by a man or something according to the redditeers. The irony of course is that I didn’t know and didn’t care who that Kennedy lady was; I only judged by what I saw on the screen. Besides, if she was around for Solo: A Star Wars Story then she made up for Last Jedi, because Solo was a good one… at least until the end, but my friend told me that if I had watched some of the non-live-action stuff then that ending would sort of make sense (my complaint had more facets than what you might think, which is why the non-live-action stuff didn’t answer all the issues raised).
To make my point succinctly: stick it in your exhaust port! And this is the Colecovision version of the game.
For those stinging from the remarks that the franchise head Kennedy made about not needing to cater to male fans, let me just say that this alone isn’t a bad statement and in the context presented at the link she’s right. Male fans make up the bulk sure, but you want a product for everyone if you’re a big studio. Star Wars I don’t think was ever designed just for men, maybe just by men but not just for men. Even in 1977 it wouldn’t fly if Lucas told a big studio like Fox that his film was solely for men; they probably wouldn’t even take a chance on it. Besides, poor Ms. Kennedy has to worry more about criticism from her Left flank since that’s the Achilles Heel of every liberal in Hollywood and could easily bring her down. If you don’t like her, pile on where it hurts. As you hear in this quote they pretty much just added Rey because they wanted to sell toys to little girls, not because feminism or anything noble. Capitalism is why we get Rey, and isn’t the male-dominated capitalism the enemy of the female-friendly-inclusive-socialism? Thus wouldn’t Rey, a product of male cisgendered heteronormative capitalism, be actually more a thing for the female Trump supporters than any woke SJW warriors?