Playing Star Trek Starfleet Academy in 2022

Recently I went on a kick of playing older games in my library. One of my favorite space sims was Star Trek: Starfleet Academy. Released in 1997 by Interplay Entertainment, Starfleet Academy put me in the uniform of a cadet working through many diplomatic and combat scenarios in a simulator. Imagine the opening scene from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn where Saavik and crew attempted to rescue the Kobayashi Maru. Between simulator missions, FMV video sequences were used as choose-your-own-adventure interludes where I got to interact and help my crew mates, work with Chekov and Kirk, and even uncover a conspiracy at the Academy. Learning about the story’s different branches took at least two playthroughs. There was even an option to reprogram the Kobayashi Maru scenario and win.

Playing Starfleet Academy in 2022 from the original CDs isn’t easy. The game was written for Direct3D 3.0, a graphics API that doesn’t work on Windows 7, 8, 10, or 11. A software renderer version of the game is included on the disc, but it limits the resolution to 640×480 in exclusive fullscreen mode. And don’t forget, the game initially shipped on five discs due to the amount of FMV included. Most computers no longer come with disc drives or options to install them.

Continue reading “Playing Star Trek Starfleet Academy in 2022”