Codex Gamicus

Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator is an arcade video game based on the original Star Trek television programme, and released by SEGA in 1983. It is a vector game, with both two dimensional and three dimensional displays. The player controls the U.S.S. Enterprise, and must defend sectors of space from invading Klingon ships. It was ported to the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, ColecoVision, and some home computers. It is based on the simulator presented in the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

The game was presented in two style of cabinets; standard stand-up and sit-down/semi-enclosed deluxe cabinet with the player's chair modelled after the bridge chairs from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, with controls integrated into the chair's arms.


The game makes use of painstakingly synthesized speech, since memory costs at the time made the use of sampled audio almost prohibitive.

Unlike most arcade games of the time, the player is presented with multiple views of the playfield, and only one ship per credit. Throughout the game, survival depends on the player's ability to accumulate shields. These are rewarded by docking with Starbases, which sometimes must be saved from destruction at the hands of the Klingons.

The control system for Star Trek employed the use of a weighted spinner for ship heading control, while a series of buttons allowed the player to activate the impulse engines, warp engines, phasers, and photon torpedoes. The Warp Button was deliberately placed farther away from the rest of the buttons, in order to force the player to reach for them in the heat of battle.

Before the game play begins, Scotty says "You are the Captain of the Starship Enterprise." followed by the Star Trek theme and then Mr. Spock saying "Welcome aboard, Captain.". Afterwards when the gameplay begins, you are plunged into space to battle the fierce Klingons. Your job is to defend the Starbases from Klingon attacks, and successfully pilot the U.S.S. Enterprise through more and more difficult and hostile sectors of the galaxy.

The screen is divided into three parts with the upper left-hand portion containing a supplies readout, so at a glance you can see how many shields, photon torpedoes and the amount of warp power you have left. The upper right-hand board is the main scanner screen that provides a bird's eye view of the U.S.S. Enterprise, enemy positions and the location of the Starbases. Below is the Forward Targeting Scanner, which shows off a striking vector graphic of the aliens that you battle or the Starbases that you dock with from a first person perspective.

There are five controls which need to be mastered, including a Tempest-like rotary knob for directing the course of the ship, a Phasers button which shoots limited range phasers, an Impulse button for forward motion at slow speed, a Photon Torpedo button that fires torpedoes capable of wiping out large portions of the galaxy and a Warp Button that allows forward motion at super speed. The Photon Torpedo and Warp Buttons are placed at an awkward position which may take some time to get used to.

The game play involves a simulation of the powers and perils of piloting the U.S.S. Enterprise against the Klingon Empire. In the home versions you must also fly through meteor storms and deal with an evil robotic entity called Nomad.

You have only one ship to command. If it is destroyed, the game is over. At the beginning of the game, you are given a certain number of shields and photons and during the game play, you can gain additional shields, photons, and warp power by docking with a Starbase. When your ship is hit, you lose a shield. If you run out of shields, the next hits will take out your photon torpedoes, and next your warp power, and finally your ship, thus completing the simulation.

There are six different enemies, including red, purple, and white Klingon ships, blue anti-matter saucers and the tricky yellow Nomad during special rounds, which plants dangerous space mines.

The game has 40 different simulation levels, all of where you pilot the U.S.S. Enterprise and try your best to destroy all enemies to protect the Starbases throughout the galaxy.


Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator was ported to most of the contemporary computers and consoles of the era; namely the Commodore 64, TI-99/4A, the Atari 8-bit family and Atari 5200 in 1983, Tandy Color Computer in 1984 (as Space Wrek), the Atari 2600, Commodore VIC-20, ColecoVision and the Apple II.


The Atari 2600 version came with a special overlay for the Atari 2600 joystick controller that outlined how the controls work.

Arcade Specifications[]

Arcade Specifications
Physical Specifications
Cabinet Stand-up, Sit-down
Orientation Horizontal
Technical Specifications
System/Board SEGA G80[1]
Colors 256
Display Vector
Resolution 224 × 256
Input Dial, 4 Buttons


  1. Game hardware page. Retrieved August 5, 2006.

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