Star Trek video games that put you in control of the bridge

Contributed by
Jan 24, 2017

If you're a Trekkie or even a casual Star Trek fan, chances are you've fantasized about joining your favorite captain (Picard, obviously) or other familiar character on the bridge of your favorite starship. It's an important aspect of the Star Trek media franchise in general and one of the ways we end up feeling closer than ever to the characters we've grown to love over the years. 

Ubisoft is releasing a virtual reality bridge simulator this spring that will allow players to take control of the Starlet ship USS Aegis while searching for a new homeworld for the Vulcans. Star Trek: Bridge Crew is grounded in the alternate reality established in the 2009 Star Trek film and will allow players to navigate the story as a captain, tactical officer, engineer or helm officer, with various story missions to complete. 

The game isn't scheduled for release until March 14 for PC and PlayStation 4, but that doesn't mean you can't have your own adventure on various bridges across the Star Trek universe. Out of the massive number of Star Trek games that have released over the last couple of decades, there are several that offer a similar experience.

Here are some of the Star Trek games that put you in control by way of interaction with your teammates and even adversaries via the bridge. 

Star Trek: Bridge Commander

Released back in 2002 for PC, Star Trek: Bridge Commander was essentially a space combat simulator, though much of the game took place via bridge view in addition to tactical view. It was released to mostly positive reviews and considered one of the most "engaging" Star Trek games of the time, and for good reason: it allowed players to take direct control of a starship while playing through a campaign mode that featured both original and canon characters from the Star Trek universe. 

While in bridge view, players could choose a specific officer from the bridge and issue commands, such as destroying an enemy ship or intercept one that's attempting to make a getaway. Aside from handing out assignments, players could also look out into space while in the bridge view mode. You can play the entire game via the external perspective if you choose to do so. It does an excellent job of making you feel as though you're actually doing the things you’re simulating, so it should indeed be applauded for that. 

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy

This PC and Mac gem from Interplay arrived on the scene back in 1997 and followed the story of Cadet David Forester, the leader of a group of Starfleet cadets at the San Francisco-based Command College. Forester and company were tasked with completing various missions meant to simulate their real-world Starfleet experiences, up to and including Captain Kirk's run-in with Khan Noonien Singh and the unwinnable Kobayashi Maru scenario. 

Under Forester's command, players have run-ins with various characters, terrorist groups and other acquaintances, all with the bridge as the main viewpoint. Players could click on various crew members from that screen to choose which actions to complete and with who, and it acted as the main hub of activity otherwise. It was very much a game that made you feel as though you were part of your own close-knit team, and for that it's still very much worth seeking out and playing even now, years later. 

Star Trek: Judgment Rites

Interplay introduced this DOS and Mac offering back in 1993, an adventure game that followed the original crew of the Enterprise through various scenarios as they attempted to go on shore leave. At one point the crew discovers a Federation science ship on an alien world, and at another the Enterprise must answer a distress call on a planet with both 'angelic' and 'demonic' races. 

Most of the game's space combat sequences took place on the bridge and some important story sequences were set there as well. Given that Judgment Rites was able to capture so much of the spirit of the original Star Trek series, going out and exploring planets and other areas followed by returning to the ship at the bridge made total sense. It felt like home after being out in the wilderness of space. The space battles are optional in this game in comparison to the prior Star Trek: 25th Anniversary game, but they did end up improved this time around, making them much more satisfying in Judgment Rites

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Future's Past

This Super Nintendo/Genesis/Game Gear release touched down in 1994 and offered an unmitigated look at the universe of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The adventure game followed the Enterprise as it orbited around a red giant star near the Neutral Zone while monitoring increased Romulan activity. After receiving a distress signal by a Vulcan geologist, the Enterprise crew sets off to investigate the geologist's dig site, presumed to be under attack by the Romulans. 

The bridge acted as an important hub for players, offering interactivity with the ship's various crew members. It even required that some information was culled directly from the crew in order to proceed with the mission in question. Various terminals, including the main computer, engineering and communications were accessible within this area as well, making this game one that offered some of the most interaction from the bridge as compared to other Star Trek gaming offerings. Additional in-game events and conversations took place via the bridge as well, making it an invaluable aspect of the adventure as a whole. 

Star Trek Online

Set 30 years after Star Trek: Nemesis, Star Trek Online puts players in a hostile galaxy full of strife and threat. You have the opportunity to rise in the ranks of Starfleet, the Klingon Empire or the Romulan Remnant from a lowly Lieutenant to a Fleet-Grade Flag Officer. Throughout this process, your ship and its crew are a key focal point.

Star Trek Online allows you to command a myriad of ships and customize their bridge and crews. While the bridge is mostly a social area you can invite your friends to rather than a functional command center, each member of your crew must be recruited by you. You'll have to train Bridge Officers to man your ship's various stations and obtain Tactical, Engineering, Medical, Security, Ops and Science Officers to complete missions for you and add buffs to your ship. 

Star Trek Online has been around since 2010. Although there are some premium features and ships that require a subscription or premium currency, the large amount of mission and story content isn't blocked by any paywalls, making this a truly free-to-play game.