Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Intellectual Properly

In my fit of nerd rage previously, Terry made a good comment.

It's box art. It's supposed to get your attention and trigger certain subliminal behavior responses.

As far as Marketing is concerned, fighting and spaceships and explosions with a clean cut looking fellow front and center > 5 balding nobodies of various colors with a collection of head ridges sitting around a table, maybe arguing or having tea or something.

He’s completely correct. If you counted up the episodes of the Original series and the amount of times the Captain Kirked out, you’d get a fairly action packed show. Times changed with Captain Picard who favoured more diplomatic or cerebral solutions. Don’t be fooled though, he could still kick your ass up around your ears. Captain Sisko went his own way and had a war to fight, between Gods and Demons and a proper war with Klingons and Cardassians and Breen and so on. Captain Janeway sadly was portrayed about fifteen thousand different ways per season but had her fair share of ass kicking. Captain Archer went a special crazy for all of season three when someone in Paramount decided that the equation “Sci fi+GRIMDARK=Money” applied to any and all science fictions.

On a related but otherwise totally different point, Jim Butcher has a map (illustrated by Priscilla Spencer) now for his Codex Alera series. This is a good thing. It’s a lovely piece of artwork and helps flesh out the world.

Only it’s backwards. Rather, in my head it is. For some reason I had always held Canea as being to the east rather than the west. Perhaps I didn’t pay enough attention, or perhaps I just preferred it that way. Such is the point that people start abusing canon and doing slashfiction. If anyone knows which way up or around the world goes, it’s the author, not me.

This brings me to a point though. The world of Alera to me goes the opposite direction to what is it. The world of Star Trek to me is about the triumph of humanity and its betterment rather than pew pew laser beams. Yes there are battles and action sequences liberally sprinkled throughout the canon. Heck my favourite Captain is from Peter David’s New Frontier series and Mackenzie Calhoun is a complete Kirk style cowboy Captain.

Ultimately, the intellectual property that is Star Trek has many aspects and for each there are fans. Could any company create a game that would satisfy all or even most parties? Is that even achievable in games based on an IP rather than a completely new world where there isn’t 40 or 50 years of fans idolising different aspects of it?

In the end did I lash out at Star Trek because I don’t feel that Cryptic has done the property properly, or is it because they’ve done it justice, but not in a way that suits my mental image of Star Trek? Only time will tell. I’m going to give it a try of course, how could I not? However if in the end it is all brawn and no brain, “Fire all Phasers” rather than “Open Channel” and gung ho at the expense of thought, it just won’t be Star Trek for me.

I want to boldly go, to seek out new life and new civilisations. Solve their problems, save them from the dangers that plague the universe and work towards a shining ideal first put forward decades ago. I don’t want to spam photons and go for coffee, no matter how much I can customize a race or ship.

1 comment:

Terry said...

I agree with you 100% here.

There has to be more than just blasting away for it to be Star Trek. Ultimately, even though it's mostly an action show, the theme was about the hope for a better future.

It's hard to have a better future if you shoot to kill every time.

You're right that the game does need that diplomatic side. The science side. The "Boldly Going Where No Man Has Gone Before" side.

Science ships and crews need to go out and explore and do science, not just buff other ships in the fleet. There needs to be a playstyle that fits the various roles and themes of Trek.

Alongside hitting the Gorn with a big foam rock, of course.