Classic Windows Gaming: WinTrek

Just a quick one for tonight (and a bit of nostalgia for me too).

Back in school I remember the time when we moved away from our fleet of Apple IIe computers (and a sole Macintosh which the school had won in a Coles shopping docket collection competition) and upgraded to IBM compatible machines (can’t remember if they were 386 or 486 based machines) running Windows 3.11 in parallel with Novell (ugh).

Lunchtimes were great because the computer room would be abuzz with a number of students playing games, students pretending to work but actually playing games or a smaller number of students genuinely working but distracted by those playing games. When at capacity, a teacher would roam the rows of computers now and then looking for a gamer to logoff to let another kid get some computer time (usually for work). Of course, a game of cat and mouse ensured with most kids learnt about ALT+TAB to flick back to a Word document when playing games to avoid potential ejection or, in desperate cases, faking a computer crash by hitting the reset button.

Anyway, we didn’t have access to the Internet in 1994, hard drive capacities were still under 1GB at best and most computers had anywhere between 8MB to 32MB RAM (you high roller, you). Floppy disks were really the only method of portable storage (all 1.44MB) and you had to be scrupulous with that space (a modestly sized bitmap or BMP file could easily fill most of it).

Games at the time were still in their early stages. Graphics were horrible in comparison to what we have today but the gameplay hopefully made up for it. Shareware games were popular and there was one that I spent a lot of time playing (and many of my classmates too).

WinTrek was a rewrite of “Star Trek Classic” for the Apple IIGS for Windows (as the name might imply). The premise was simple and involved you navigating the Enterprise throughout the galaxy shooting all of alien ships before time ran out. You had phasers and torpedoes as well as impulse and warp propulsion. In essence, you had to plan the optimal route to explore the whole galaxy, finish off all the aliens, top up your dilithium (if required) and be home in time for a hot cup of Earl Grey tea. It also had some great sound effects as well as the theme from the original Star Trek to top it all off.

The good news is you can still play it by grabbing a copy here at Joe Jaworski’s website. It’s free and you can ignore the shareware screens if the bug you. However, depending on the version of Windows you are running you might run into some issues so tomorrow I will show you how to get older software like WinTrek to run on your modern computer.

Have fun!

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