Few series, if any, have made as large a pop culture impact as "Star Trek." When it first aired in 1966, the television show failed to make a large impression, and NBC cancelled it after only three seasons. However, over the years it has amassed a cult following, several spin-off shows, a movie series, and a library of novels and comics. Beginning with a board game in 1967, developers released many forms of interactive entertainment involving the beloved "Star Trek" characters.
Mike Mayfield developed the first "Star Trek" video game in 1971. Entitled simply "Star Trek," this text-based computer game spread to most home computers by the end of the 1970s, and became the first of its kind to sell more than one million copies. It showed that games based on the series could be successful, and paved the way for the release of many more video games.
In 1992, Interplay and Ultra Games released several video games in honor of the twenty-fifth anniversary of "Star Trek." Though they all share the same title and center on the same cast of characters, "Star Trek: 25th Anniversary" for Macintosh computers and DOS, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and the Game Boy, have different plots and gameplay. The computer version of the game features several missions, and serves as "the lost fourth season" of the original "Star Trek" series. In fact, the original cast, including William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and George Takei, all provided their voices for their characters in the game. The NES and Game Boy games have a single plotline, while the NES story features more puzzles and the Game Boy version involves more combat.
Of the three games, "Star Trek: 25th Anniversary" for Macintosh computers received the most positive reviews from critics, who praised its representation of the original television show, as well as its gameplay. In his review, Allen Greenberg of "Computer Gaming World" magazine wrote that the game's "major shortcoming is that it is over too soon," and called it "the most outstanding Star Trek' yet produced for the computer." The Game Boy and NES versions received criticism for the poor way they represented "Star Trek," as well as their lack of substance. Nevertheless, developers continued to release games featuring the "Star Trek" license.
More than four decades after the original "Star Trek" series aired, the franchise remains popular. J.J. Abrams and Paramount released a rebooted movie version of the series in 2009, followed by its sequel in 2013. Over fifty different video games featuring the beloved "Star Trek" characters exist, allowing fans to go "where no one has gone before."