The Starflight Project

So recently I decided I wanted to play Starflight.


For those of you who don’t know, Starflight is a DOS game originally released in 1986. It’s also the grand-daddy of all space-exploration games, and serves as the primary point of inspiration of a number of other successful games—including SunDog: Frozen LegacyStar Control 2, and the Mass Effect trilogy, all perennial favorites of mine. I’ve played all of those games to death, even contributed a musical remix to the open-source Star Control 2 re-release project…and yet I’ve never played Starflight.

I was watching a Let’s Play video of SunDog recently and lamenting the lack of open-world sci-fi games out there, when my friend Tim pointed out that SunDog reminded him of Starflight 2, his favorite video game of all time.

2 things made me want to make an attempt to play the Starflight games:

  1. They are the great grandfather of a lot of games I truly love—some of the greatest games of all time, and the fact that I haven’t played them is a hole in my education as a gamer.
  2. I know literally NOTHING about them.

The second reason may not make sense at first, but it’s actually a powerful motivator for me. By picking up Starflight now, I get the chance to approach a true masterpiece of gaming history, but without any preconceived notions about what it should be or how it should behave. I will be experiencing one of the classics of game history with fresh eyes—but still bringing my adult understanding of games and the library of games it influenced.

Since this is a unique opportunity, I thought I would also take a moment to write down my impressions as I go. So if you also are interested in Starflight, exploration games, or even just watching me bang my head against an impossible UI for hours, then keep checking back. I’m sure you’ll find something entertaining.

Published by Malgayne

Community Manager at Google. Formerly at Sourcebits, Spark Plug Games, Zynga, and I like chiptunes and hefeweizen.

2 thoughts on “The Starflight Project

  1. The UI really is awful. Not unplayable by any means, but quite unnecessarily layered. Reminds me of EVE in some ways, actually. It’s interesting because at the time I was playing this game I had absolutely no idea how bad the UI actually was, and I’d wager that most other people didn’t either. And that makes me wonder: If a UI is clunky and unwieldy and nobody knows… is it still bad? Or is it just a product of its time? Food for thought.

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