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Rethinking Stellar Track


LynxVGL
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Lots of folks REALLY dislike this Sears exclusive title, but due to the Flashback series it has higher visibility now then it did back (IMHO) in the 80's.

 

I get while some really dislike it, but oddly enough, I keep coming back to it on my handheld Flashback. The text is actually legible on the small screen.

 

My biggest complaint on it now is the cludgy ratio between enemies and stardates, and the equally cludgy way engine repairs are implemented. The stardate/Alien ratio makes finding a decent game balance that is fun to play more challenging than the actual game. Hack away? :)

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It took me a long time to learn how to play this game. Or should I say, it took me a long time to take the time to learn how to play this game, which wasn't actually as long as the fairly thick manual might suggest. But this is actually the first "Trek" game I really got into. I'd tried some of the old BASIC games from the '70s but they were over my head (I'm not usually into strategy games anyway so they didn't really draw me in, apart from the curiosity of being reeeally old games, which I'm all about).

Stellar Track got me pretty interested in the genre and was actually a pretty good primer for these kinds of games (although the keyboard controller would have made more sense than the joystick). I enjoy stuff like Super Star Trek and Star Trek III (TRS-80 version) now, and there's some version for IBM that I like too. But as good as those are, I really appreciate the "arcadiness" of Stellar Track, and the only Trek game I've seen that really comes close to that style is an obscure Bally BASIC game, I think it was Mini-Trek. Except that was a bit slower.

It's impressive to me how Atari was able to take a strategy game like Trek and arcadify it in a way that actually works.

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Love Stellar Track, a unique Sears 2600 release with a very long history. I played Super Star Trek thru Basic on the Commodore 64 and the DOS version which I still have thru DOS Box. Believe it or not, first played the game a small High School Main Frame back in the 70s where the video screen was a dot matrix printer. Not even part of the computer class, my first exposure to "Video" gaming.

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I think I owned Stellar Track for several years before I finally took the time to really play it. It became one of my go-to games for a brief period around 2003-2004 or so, but I haven't played it since. I had more fun playing Stellar Track than I ever had playing Star Raiders/Starmaster/Phaser Patrol/Space Attack, but like eventually happened with all of those games, I got bored with the easy settings and frustrated with the harder ones and stopped playing.

Edited by KaeruYojimbo
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Loved it for the TRS-80 BITD, but could never get into the 2600 version for whatever reasons. IIRC, something seemed screwy when you went to enter coordinates or read coordinates… not sure what changed that way, but remember feeling it didn't make sense at the time. Been years now and haven't bothered to give it another chance. Probably never will. :lol:

 

It's just not the kind of game I'm interested in playing on the VCS. An old vintage computer like the TRS-80's, The TI, Apple or Commodore… now that's a different story. :)

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LOVED this back in the day. Like everyone else it took me a long time to muddle through and figure out exactly what was going on, but once I did, I would play for hours. I haven't given it as much time as I probably should in recent years, but hopefully that will change if I can get back into it again.

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