Platform: DOS, Windows
Science fiction is at its best when it is used as a tool to explore the human condition. Science fiction games have an extra hurdle of not alienating players by making the sci-fi overly complex; to do so can disengage the player from the story. Frederick Pohl’s Gateway mostly succeeds at both before faltering in the final act.
Continue reading Gateway
Synopsis: With mounting losses in the Federation-Dominion war, and the specter of defeat, Captain Sisko enlists Garak’s help to “persuade” the Romulans to join the Federation/Klingon alliance to win the war. However Sisko soon learns that to save the Federation he may have to betray the values it stands for.
Memory Alpha Summary: Dance with the devil
Review: This one reminded me of Suspicions, where Beverly narrates her stupid decisions that nearly ended her career, but in the nick of time everything works out fine and she’s exonerated because ends justify the means.
Continue reading 6. In the Pale Moonlight (6.19)
Synopsis: An accident inside the wormhole sends Kira and Bashir into the “mirror universe”, where Klingons, Cardassians, and Bajorans rule over their Human slaves.
Memory Alpha Summary: The fairest of them all
Review: A continuation of the episode Mirror, Mirror from TOS, and what a freaking brilliant idea. Where as TNG would pay homage to the original series, or bring back characters, DS9 actually honors it by further promoting those storylines.
Continue reading 7. Crossover (2.23)
Synopsis: When Temporal Investigations arrives on Deep Space 9, Sisko recounts how he and the crew of the Defiant traveled back in time to the 23rd century to prevent the assassination of Captain James T. Kirk during the original Enterprise‘s mission to Space Station K-7.
Memory Alpha Summary: A creature that mates more than Riker!
Review: Every time I watch this episode I feel giddy. I don’t particularly enjoy watching TOS, but always enjoyed The Trouble with Tribbles. Plus, you can tell how much fun and energy everyone on the cast and crew had with making this.
Continue reading 8. Trials and Tribble-ations (5.06)
Synopsis: Experiencing a vision from the Prophets, Sisko sees himself as Benny Russell, a science-fiction writer in the 1950s, who struggles with civil rights and inequality when he writes the story of Captain Benjamin Sisko, a black commander of a futuristic space station.
Memory Alpha Summary: Where no Star Trek had gone before
Review: Now this is DS9’s Inner Light. It’s a little light on exposition, which is saying something, but the allegory is impressive. I found this to be quite moving, no doubt enhanced by watching it for the first time during the third year of the Trump presidency.
Continue reading 9. Far Beyond The Stars (6.13)
Publisher: Pinkerton Road Studio
Developer: Phoenix Online Studios, Pinkerton Road Studio
Platform: Windows, Mac, iPad, Android
Many classic 90’s adventures have received a remake in the past decade, though Sins of the Fathers probably received the largest overhaul, not just to the graphics and sounds, but also to the interface, story, and puzzles. Because the story and main beats are mostly unchanged, this remains a strong adventure. But Jane Jensen and Co. swung and missed on most of the changes.
When I reviewed the original, I bemoaned the slow pace, extensive backtracking, and endless pixel-hunting. Thankfully, these issues were all improved. Gabriel moves much faster here. Puzzles are a bit more streamlined, requiring less travel. Objects are generally easier to find (including the ability to hit the space bar to highlight all clickable areas). There’s an optional, gradual in-game hint system. And they slashed the amount of icons necessary to interact with the world. In other words, they made the game more modern, more playable. Unfortunately, in making these changes a lot of soul was sucked from the experience.
Continue reading Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers – 20th Anniversary Edition
Synopsis: Odo meets another of the hundred Changelings who were sent out to explore the galaxy.
Memory Alpha Summary: Move over Kama Sutra
Review: The episode I didn’t know I was missing, the writers finally delve into how fucking hard it would be for a biped to be a mate with a metamorph. And they knock it out of the park. Laas is perfect as the Changeling who can tempt Odo as he’s not associated with the Founders, which is all to set up the incredible drama between Odo and Kira as they realize their relationship has issues.
So much of this just felt real: Kira getting jealous of Odo linking with Laas, feeling like she can’t be everything he needs; Odo yearning for a life he gave up; Kira showing her love by letting Odo go; Odo returning that love by staying. But what made me cry was the final scene, where Kira apologizes for making Odo feel like he can’t be himself, and he morphs into a gas and envelops her with his essence. Such a beautiful moment that science fiction was made for and what Trek is all about.
Continue reading 10. Chimera (7.14)
Synopsis: An attempt on Quark’s life re-opens a five-year-old murder investigation.
Memory Alpha Summary: And not shrug emoji you’d expect
Review: A brilliant episode in nearly every way. Odo’s narration deepens his character and sets up the flashbacks very well. We learn more about what DS9 was like when the Cardassians ran it. We get to see how Odo became security in the first place. And then we get the bomb drop, which is that Kira murdered somebody and has been withholding that info for years. Of course, it was a time of war, so it’s not exactly murder; yet, Kira has been hiding that info, which implies that in her mind, it was more than just a casualty of war. The deeper relationship between Odo and Kira gets its start here.
Continue reading 11. Necessary Evil (2.08)
Synopsis: An alien computer program wreaks havoc with the station’s systems during a visit from Lwaxana Troi and other ambassadors.
Memory Alpha Summary: Almost makes up for “Cost of Living”
Review: When I first saw this episode, I was terrified that Lwaxana Troi was back. But holy hell, her character can work if written correctly. Her time with Odo on the turbolift is fantastic TV. We learn a great deal about Odo’s personality, and for the first time, see him in a weak moment. And, for the first time, we see Lwaxana in a moment of strength, proving why she may have had the skills to become an ambassador despite her general obnoxiousness.
Continue reading 12. The Forsaken (1.17)
Synopsis: Kira is kidnapped by the Cardassians, who try to convince her that she is really one of them.
Memory Alpha Summary: Hey, she isn’t!
Review: Yet another mystery that involves the Cardassians, and once again they knock it out of the park. That Nerys may be a Cardassian who was a plant and doesn’t know it is a brilliant idea reminiscent of a Philip K. Dick story (in fact, Dick’s stories were an inspiration). Everyone is not who they seem in this episode, including Odo as a backpack. Garak’s character somehow gains even new heights of intrigue, as he’s no longer just a possible spy, he also shows he could be dangerous to his friends on DS9.
Continue reading 13. Second Skin (3.05)