Star Trek (1971)

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Star Trek is a text-based strategy video game based on the Star Trek television series and originally developed by Mike Mayfield in 1971. In the game, the player commands the USS Enterprise on a mission to hunt down and destroy an invading fleet of Klingon warships. The player travels through the 64 quadrants of the galaxy to attack enemy ships with phasers and photon torpedoes in turn-based battles and refuel at starbases in order to eliminate all enemies before running out of time.

Mayfield originally wrote the game in the BASIC programming language for the SDS Sigma 7 mainframe computer with the goal of creating a game like Spacewar! (1962) that could be played with a teleprinter instead of a graphical display. He then rewrote it for the HP 2000C minicomputer in 1972, and it was included in Hewlett-Packard's public domain software catalog the following year. It was picked up from there by David H. Ahl, who ported it with Mary Cole to BASIC-PLUS and published the source code in the Digital Equipment Corporation Edu newsletter. It was republished with other computer games in his best-selling 101 BASIC Computer Games book. Bob Leedom then expanded the game in 1974 into Super Star Trek, which was later printed by Ahl in BASIC Computer Games, the first million-selling computer book.

Star Trek, especially the Super Star Trek version, was immensely popular during the early microcomputer era. This, along with the availability of the source code, led to numerous ports of both versions of the game. Additionally, dozens of variants and expansions were made for a variety of systems. Ahl claimed in 1978 that it was difficult to find a computer installation that did not contain a version of Star Trek, and by 1980, Star Trek was described by The Dragon magazine as "one of the most popular (if not the most popular) computer games around", with "literally scores of different versions of this game floating around".

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Last Modified: Feb 8, 2023

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