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Gaming History You Should Know – Star Trek: The Experience May 10, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
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It’s Sunday and welcome to this week’s look at Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced gaming-related documentaries. Come with me as we take a trip to Las Vegas circa 1997.

When I was a kid, I loved watching Star Trek. (ED NOTEYou don’t say?) The films Star Trek Generations and First Contact were on a regular rotation in my VCR and I would watch syndicated episodes of The Next Generation, The Original Series, Deep Space 9 and even Voyager on television while downloading patches and mods on my PC’s abysmally slow modem. In fact, I would argue I probably got a better education watching some specific episodes of Trek than I ever learned in school at the time.

People don’t give Star Trek enough credit these days. The show was revolutionary for its time and one could argue it was probably the biggest transmedia property of its day with interconnected movies, television shows, books and video games. Oh and did I mention that starting in the late 90s, you could actually have a first hand EXPERIENCE in the Star Trek world? You just had to spend some time at the Las Vegas Hilton.

In the late 90s, my parents took me on a vacation to Las Vegas, NV for the first time. Star Trek: The Experience would be something we were going to check out. Without spoiling any details, I believe I had the best time ever, and it cemented my fandom up until Enterprise wrecked it.

Star Trek The Experience would not last forever. A few short years after receiving a major Borg upgrade, the attraction closed in 2008. To this day, nothing like it has ever reopened anywhere in the world.

One month ago, the YouTube Channel Theme Park Backlot premiered this incredible look at the experience. He talks about its early history, what you could do in it, and why it is no longer there. Take it away!

I know what you’re thinking, what does this defunct Star Trek ride/show have to do with gaming? Well, the group who made this ride pioneered a lot of new show effects that only now places like Disneyland (with Rise of the Resistance) have been able to replicate. Seriously that transporter effect alone was worth the price of admission to STTE. You weren’t merely on a recreation of the Enterprise’s Bridge, the show’s story made it clear you were onboard THE Enterprise. In fact most of the original cast remarked (upon touring it themselves) the set built at the Hilton was identical to the set they spent eight years on down to the Easter Eggs.

With modern theme parks now building on The Experience’s foundation, they’ve started incorporating gaming-related features on top of their shows. Now, thanks to the power of real-time graphics, you can experience rides like Smuggler’s Run and actually fly the real Millennium Falcon through the Star Wars galaxy! There’s even in-park penalties guests could risk if they do poorly on the ride. If STTE hadn’t shuttered, who knows what new technology it could’ve incorporated?

Special thanks to Theme Park Backlot for letting us feature them in today’s article. Go and check out their YouTube Channel for more great videos!