Stardock owns Star Control and is planning an "XCOM-like" reboot


Yeah, that’s a reasonable ask. My first thought is to go to the game that I preferred playing to Star Control, which would be Starflight. Unfortunately I couldn’t find many images of different ships, mainly the one that you spent the game flying about it.

I love it because it looks functional but also pretty sleek. In the game, you can add cargo pods that basically line the outer edge of the hull along either side. Here’s more of a schematic view:

And I have to add the cover of the sequel, which had one of those immediate, I-need-to-play-this-game images. And the subtitle, Trade Routes of the Cloud Nebula? This thing pushed all my buttons, exploring new worlds, opening trade routes? Hell yes. But it never released on C64, and I never played it.

Before you tell me it’s on GOG, I know it, I own it. Just haven’t played it yet. Kind of nervous to.



Well, even the flying saucer had a point: The Arilou were the classic aliens who had been visiting Earth since the dawn of history.

The common wisdom in video game avatar art (which would include spaceship in a spaceship game) is that silhouette often more important than any particular details, and I think SC2 did a pretty good job on that front:


Not sure what you mean by well-balanced. In all of the games, there were ships that had zero chance against certain others, but the stand-alone melee system assigned different point values to different ships, and collectively the system was pretty well balanced in SC2 and SC3.


I remember specifically there were some “less well designed” ships in 3 than in 2. I think there was a ship that had auto-tracking machine guns (sort of a ballistic version of the Human Cruiser’s zap gun) AND also self-healed. There were other ships that had problems but that was a longggg time ago. In 2, the ships mechanically seemed well balanced. In 3, i felt like i could take some ships and “disproportionately” win more than in 2. Of course there were some matchups in 2 that were nearly impossible to win (the Chmmr vs the Human Cruiser) but even then there were some solutions (ram the Cruiser into the Chmmr and use the zap gun to kill the satellites).


See i though the main ship in Starflight looked neat but the other ship were boring. And also, mechanically, less interesting than in Star Control, by far.


Loool, I never realized that it was never released on the C-64, but that explains why I could never find it.

And yes, back then it was actually just an achievement to find certain games. Not all stores got all games. I waited years to find certain SSI wargames and never was able to find them. I thought Starflight2 was similar until your post, but I guess it never existed for C-64.

There was an early 4x4 space strategy game (maybe the first) called Cosmic Balance, by SSI, that I never managed to find either, although I played the hell out of its successor, Imperium Galactum. Early MOOs, really.


How dare you.


Yep, that was the matchup I was thinking of! The Spathi was nigh invincible in the hands of a good player, although fighting the Chmmr could take some some patience.

The best thing about the ship designs were how distinct they all were though, and how they seemed appropriate for the associated race.


I don’t even remember the other ships in Starflight, I was just looking for an example of a ship I liked from that game design era. And yeah, combat in starflight was way simpler than SC’s. Really arcadey, like others mentioned it has a Space War/Asteroids vibe. Probably the one area that I would concede is way better than Starflight, for my money.


I think that if you got a good ram you’d actually beat the Chmmr on cost, if i recall. IE, it might take two Cruisers to swat down the satellites, but once you did, the next Cruiser would easily win.

Ha! it’s fun we remember all this stuff.


Just checked mobygames to be sure I wasn’t way off base but no, MS-DOS, Amiga and Mac only. I wanted that game so bad, I remember reading about it in CGW. I do need to make time to try it out.


Me too, also from reading about it in CGW. I’m pretty happy I got to be a columnist in that magazine for a few years, given how important it was to me growing up.

Some games that old are easier than others to get into. The Starflight series seemed like it might work, but might not. Hard to find the time to risk damaging memories.


Main reason why it’s been sitting unplayed in my GOG library all this time. I’m reluctant to damage my impressions of a game I have held in high esteem for, good grief, thirty years.


What? C’mon, how could you at LEAST not remember the crazy-ass Spemin ships?


Or the nifty Uhlek ships?


Or that, at one point, the god damned Enterprise showed up?


Or that the game actually had cops?

Yes you do. You both do. The biggest downside between 1 and 2 is that 2 actually ends once you save the universe. Unceremoniously dumped to a DOS prompt, you were.


Now that you mention it, I do remember the space cops. And the authentication. I don’t really miss the 80s.



Those graphics.



Walking into a Starflight vs. Star Control fight in here feels like walking into your favorite bar and the room is divided into two sides, sneering at each other. One side is drinking your favorite bourbon out and the other is drinking your favorite beer.

Both are great, and you just revel in the atmosphere.


No versus here son, Starflight is clearly the superior game, but Star Control is also awesome in its own way.