PIXEL TREK Is Your Inner Child’s Dream Playset

Assuming your inner child is a big STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION fan.

I'm not an MMO player. I like single-player games because they're curated, and because I find most online gamers detestable, a stance supported by my brief, unpleasant time with the recent Battlefield Hardline beta. I've only willingly spent any amount of time in one MMO, and that wasn't even to play the game. It was Star Trek Online, and I played purely for the tourism. One of my earliest memories is of cowering under a seat as my dad played Qo'noS' most ineffectual Klingon in the Star Trek Adventure show at Universal Studios, and my obsessive love for the series and its universe is one of the great gifts he bestowed upon me. Being able to explore that universe in any way is a treat.

In Star Trek Online, I had the opportunity to visit a grossly out-of-scale Deep Space Nine; a more believable Starfleet Academy; and more. Even flying around star charts was a thrill for me. I didn't care for the gameplay, though the starship combat was pretty well-realised. The story might have been interesting if it didn't mandate sinking countless hours into the game to experience. All I wanted to do was visit the locations that stood most prominently in Trek lore. Of course I was going to pay my respects at the Wolf 359 memorial. I'm not an animal.

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that I'm looking forward to seeing the growth of Pixel Trek, a slight, browser-based pseudogame whose sole purpose is to provide Web users with an explorable USS Enterprise-D in isometric pixel-art form. To me, that's a simple and admirable goal. The result so far surpasses the famous 1:1 Minecraft Enterprise recreation, if not in scale then in level of detail. It even manages to get past my innate dislike for straight fan recreations in general, thanks to its charming, unassuming sense of humour.

Pixel Trek's walking simulation is even more barebones than Gone Home or Dear Esther, but that walking takes place on the Enterprise, which makes it okay. You play the part of Data, roaming the isometric Enterprise's many corridors and peeking into its rooms. It's unclear why Data is just strolling around, but you never know with that guy. Maybe he's conducting an experiment in hallway efficiency.

There's no interactivity or even any sound yet, but there are several decks of the Enterprise to explore, all filled with wonderful touches. You'll find Data's cat Spot, a serious Tribble problem, lots of scientific labs, and even the Enterprise's elusive restrooms, including one visibly occupied by an Andorian. Nod sagely, as I did, as you walk through a doorway only to find a Jefferies tube access hatch. Go wide-eyed in wonderment at the pixelly shuttlepod maintenance bay. Break into a wry grin as you stumble upon Commander Riker's ready room. All these and more experiences await the intrepid WASD-holder willing to put up with Data getting stuck on door frames from time to time. If you're anything like me, you'll be compelled to seek out new rooms and new comedy tableaus.

Pixel Trek is a work in progress with no end in sight. I feel like it's grown larger within the last couple days, but it's hard to say whether that's due to added content or simply me finding new nooks into which to poke my pixellated android head. Hopefully its creator, credited simply as "Daniel", follows through and drills right down to the antimatter storage tanks. Because I wanna explore me some antimatter storage tanks.

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