We may be stuck indoors right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t go on the occasional epic adventure of exploration and discovery. Video games offer a whole new realm of escapism, brimming with new worlds to probe, puzzles to solve, and mysteries to uncover. They can even give us new and unique ways of connecting with each other, all without leaving the comfort of our own living rooms.
The many crews of all our favorite Star Trek series’ are certainly no strangers to adversity. If tasked with the important order to maintain social distancing, I’m certain they would all answer the call. However, I have to wonder who (while confined to quarters as Starfleet’s top scientists search for a cure to some similar new pandemic) just might take the opportunity to brush up on some “retro” 21st century gaming?
Here is a list of some fantastic non-mobile games you can play right now, each accompanied by a Star Trek character whose tastes just might match your own!
Captain James T. Kirk — Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (From Software) — PC, PS4, XB1
What do you recommend to the man that beat the “Kobayashi Maru”? Since Captain Kirk doesn’t believe in no-win scenarios, he just might have the mental fortitude to take on the brutal, uncompromising combat of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Developer From Software is known for creating an entire genre of punishing games, beginning with their Demon Souls/Dark Souls franchise. Their latest is a Samurai adventure that will test even those with the greatest fortitude— the perfect challenge for a person like Jim.
Spock — Baba is You (Hempuli) — PC, Switch
Baba is You is easily one of the most interesting and innovative puzzle games to come out in recent memory. The objective is to manipulate the rules of the game in order to allow your character to reach the goal at the end of the level. Doing so involves arranging a series of tiles that represent the logical arguments that govern each environment. I have no doubt that Spock would approve of the way Baba is You tests and rewards pure logic and analytical thought.
Jean-Luc Picard — Stardew Valley (Concerned Ape) — PC, PS4, XB1, Switch
Let’s face it, Captain Picard is much more likely to relax with a cup of earl grey and a book of sonnets than with a video game. However, wine-making is also in Jean-Luc’s blood, so perhaps he might take some comfort in trading real grapes for digital ones and operating as a vintner in Stardew Valley, a relaxing yet addictive farming simulator with a healthy dose of social interaction. Its pastoral setting certainly mirrors that of his later civilian years.
Data — Detroit: Become Human (Quantic Dream) — PC, PS4
Data may see much of himself (or at the very least much about the way others may perceive him) in Detroit: Become Human. Its intertwining tale of three androids navigating a world coming to terms with the emergence of sentient artificial life is brilliantly told, and shines a light on the broader issues of civil rights in general. It shows that the choices we make don’t just have consequences, but also the potential to shape what defines our own humanity.
Guinan — VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action (Sukeban Games) — PC, PS4, Switch
With large social gatherings curbed for the time being, what would Guinan do if she were missing the hustle and bustle of Ten Forward? Perhaps she might enjoy the narrative-rich world of VA-11 HALL-A, a cyberpunk themed bartending simulator where customer’s reactions are influenced by the drinks they are served. Getting to know your customers is key to unlocking their most intimate stories, which is something we know Guinan excels at indeed.
Benjamin Sisko — MLB The Show 20 (SIE San Diego Studio) — PS4
Benjamin is a big fan of baseball, a sport that isn’t quite as popular in the 24th century as it once was. Unfortunately, genuine baseball is just as scarce right now in the year 2020 as it is in Sisko’s time. Luckily for us, sports simulators like MLB The Show 20 can help fill the void for those who are missing professional sports right now.
Worf — Fortnite (Epic Games) — PC, PS4, XB1, Switch
You probably saw this one coming. With over 250 million players worldwide Fortnite is a cultural phenomenon, so it stands to reason that someone on this list is likely to jump on the bandwagon. I can’t imagine anyone would embrace the winner-take-all format of a battle royale more than a Klingon such as Worf. Can you even talk about honor in battle before you’ve had your first taste of “Victory Royale”?
Jadzia Dax — Middle-Earth: Shadow of War (Monolith Productions) — PC, PS4, XB1
Set in the universe of J.R.R. Tolkien, Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is an open-world adventure game featuring a powerful protagonist with whom Jadzia Dax has a lot in common. Namely, the fact that Gondorian ranger Talion shares his body with the spirit of the elf lord Celebrimbor—not unlike Jadzia’s own symbiotic relationship. Both benefit in wisdom and ability from their respective blended consciousness.
Kathryn Janeway — Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo) — Switch
Let’s be honest, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the perfect quarantine game right now, and just about anybody on this list might be equally as engrossed as the rest of us are with this island life simulator at present. That said, I’m giving this one to none other than Captain Janeway—an intrepid explorer who (just like our beloved “Villager”) is primed to uncover every surprise and secret this uncharted deserted island holds.
Seven of Nine — Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerilla Games) — PS4
As a former member of the Borg Collective tasked with re-integrating alongside the crew of the Voyager, Seven of Nine knows all about the feeling of being an outsider. So to does Aloy, incredibly skilled hunter and protagonist of Horizon Zero Dawn. Seven would likely appreciate Aloy’s heroic redemption story despite growing up outside the shelter and community of her native people.
Tom Paris — Forza Horizon 4 (Playground Games) — PC, XB1
Tom Paris is known for his love of cars, so it stands to reason that he would feel right at home in a gorgeous racing simulator. There are nearly 600 unique vehicles available in Forza Horizon 4, enough to satisfy a true “Grease Monkey” like Tom. And if that weren’t enough, knowing that the game takes place in a fictional version of Great Britain might pique his interest as well, given its proximity to Ireland and his affinity toward Irish culture.
Jonathan Archer — Sid Meier’s Civilization VI (Firaxis Games) — PC, PS4, XB1, Switch
Captain Archer is well known for expanding Earth’s presence, making first contact with many species, and generally paving the foundation for the United Federation of Planets. His skill set is perfect for the 4X strategy of Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, with its engaging blend of action and exploration, and many opportunities for advanced diplomacy as well. As an eventual Federation President, he has proven himself as great a leader as many of the historical figures featured in the game.
Michael Burnham — Control (Remedy Entertainment) — PC, PS4, XB1
Control follows the story of Jesse Faden, a worthy protagonist with powerful abilities tasked with fighting back against deadly invaders in a corrupt reality. Faden and Burnham have a lot in common when it comes to morality, mental fortitude, and a single-minded focus on the task at hand, so I think Michael would be right at home in Control’s dark atmosphere and thrilling narrative.
Saru — Luigi’s Mansion 3 (Nintendo) — Switch
There were certainly times when Saru felt as though he was in Michael Burnham’s shadow, especially with regard to the mentoring attentions of Captain Georgiou. For that reason he might appreciate a game like Luigi’s Mansion 3, where the perpetual “Player 2” gets to take center stage ahead of his slightly more famous plumber brother.
Paul Stamets — Dreams (Media Molecule) — PS4
Paul is a brilliant astromycologist and one of the driving forces behind the creation for the spore drive propulsion system. His ability to think outside the box along with his curious nature would probably make a game like Dreams the perfect choice for Stamets. Media Molecule’s sandbox game creation system lets players build just about anything they can imagine.
With so many creative and impactful experiences available, are you taking advantage of social distancing to catch up on your video game backlog?
Dave Neufeld (he/him) is a video game critic and tech blogger based in Calgary, Alberta. You can find his thoughts on the latest in gaming, entertainment media, and probably what kind of vegan ramen he ate today too on Twitter @DavidGNeufeld