Unpopular Opinion: Short Runs

You can never have too much of a good thing. Well, Uncle Geekly begs to differ. I haven’t done an unpopular opinion in several months and this one may sound like an idea a lot of people share, but when one breaks down what it means, it doesn’t take long to see why it’s difficult to put into practice.

Part of what makes Firefly special is the fact that it only lasted one season. It never had the opportunity to run its characters and world into the ground, or finish it’s story (I’m not so happy about that aspect), so in a round about way, I like that Fox unceremoniously dumped it after 14 episodes. To be fair, I love Firefly and wished it ended the way Breaking Bad did; tell a tight story with a defined, planned ending.

Breaking Bad knew when to call it quits and did a great job with an ending in mind years before it had a chance to lose its way. Arrow wasn’t spared this fate. The first two seasons were some of the best superhero television I’ve seen, but the next five or six seasons never could capture that magic. The only thing that stays constant for the creative process is that at some point the creative team will lose interest or run out of ideas.

It’s a balancing act of figuring out how long a television show, or other medium, this isn’t specific to just television, can remain relevant and leaving the audience wanting more, and that’s where I’ll get to some current, sacred flamingos. How many seasons does Rick and Morty have before it becomes The Simpsons or Family Guy? When will Westworld and Black Mirror lose their integrity? Have either of them already done so? Would another Souls or The Witcher video game or two cheapen the series? Okay. I believe The Witcher won’t have another entry and if it did, another one would–most likely–cheapen the series.

It’s easy to see when a series loses its way after the fact, but most Rick and Morty fans will be watching the series when it jumps the proverbial great white some time during its next eight seasons. Cartoon Network renewed Rick and Morty for eight seasons and if the show makes it that long, which I don’t think it will, there’s a greater than 86 percent chance Rick and Morty will be a shell of itself. (Note: 86 percent of all made up statistics use the number 86.) The scarcity of something can add value and the projects that know when to call it quits, or at least when to hit the pause button, can be some of the best.

What made Star Wars fans hungry for more content after Return of the Jedi was that they had to wait 16 years for The Phantom Menace. With Disney increasing the production schedule to a Star Wars movie being released every twelve to eighteen months, few people have time to anticipate the next entry of the series. The same can be said of Marvel movies. To be fair, Marvel’s production schedule is like Star Wars on steroids: three to four movies a year. Yikes! Having said all this, I wonder if I’ve done too much with this site.

Eh. Uncle Geekly isn’t that talented anyway, so there isn’t that much quality to be lost with more frequent content. What are your thoughts on this subject? The idea of short runs adding to a project, not the quality of this blog. I may pass all blog complaints to Standard Issue Star Trek Geek Jim, so he can yell at me via yodeling telegram. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Underused Intellectual Properties in Tabletop Gaming

Not every intellectual property gets the tabletop game treatment. They can’t all be Star Wars that has hundreds of games on boardgamegeek (BGG), granted a lot of those are Star Wars skinned versions of other games, but still, there are a lot of Star Wars games to choose from. That made your uncle Geekly wonder which intellectual properties could use a tabletop game or two. Here we go.


Star Trek

You know how I said that there are a lot Star Wars games out there. The same can’t be said of Star Trek. What’s worse is that most Star Trek games that are on the market are little more than rethemed Star Wars games. Now, I’m a little fuzzy, so perhaps someone can help me, but are Star Wars and Star Trek so similar that they’re interchangeable?

Yeah, that pissed off some fans. I don’t believe they are, but the real issue is that board game companies don’t seem to see a difference between Wars and Trek.

doctor who

Doctor Who

This is another overlooked intellectual geek culture property, and I’m not sure why. Sure, there’s an RPG and a handful of licensed games like Yahtzee with a TARDIS and a Dalek as the dice cup out there, but the time travel of Doctor Who is prime for some interesting game mechanisms that could bring certain game types into the 21st century.


Literary Board Games

Board games have been turning to books lately for inspiration. The Cthulhu mythos has dominated the board game landscape for years, due its status in the public domain, but other classic works like 1984, Animal Farm, Moby Dick, and Beowulf as well as newer works like Cronin’s The Passage trilogy and Pratchett’s Discworld novels have received the board game treatment. There’s a wealth of classic works out there. Why not turn one into a game?

Why not a class/status struggle game based on Jane Austen? Or cast a gamer as Gatsby trying to impress Daisy? Or base a game on Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein? There are shockingly few games based on Frankenstein.

Horror novels have generated a lot of buzz. There’s even a game adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining, where one player assumes the role of the Torrance family and the other plays as the Overlook Hotel. You can’t tell me there isn’t at least one or two more King novels that wouldn’t make a good board game.



Yes. Some anime and manga titles have received board or card games in the past, and some of those have been pretty good, but most of the time anime fans are left with cheap knock off games. Like some other properties on this list, anime games tend to be skinned versions of other games. It says something when there are more animes about board games than there are board games about anime.

To add insult to injury, countless games use anime style art, but have nothing to do with the source material. It’s about time there was at least one or two decent anime/manga games out there.

Note: I haven’t yet played Bauza’s Attack on Titan board game. I hold out hope that it’s good. I like Attack on Titan and Bauza as a designer.



With so many horror board games doing well, why not make a game featuring Scooby Doo? Exploration and puzzle solving are huge in board gaming right now. Fred, Velma, Daphne, Shaggy, and Scoob would make for some accessible characters for younger gamers, and older gamers would mind the link to Saturday morning cartoons.

I could’ve added more than these five, but your uncle Geekly wants to hear your thoughts. Are there any intellectual properties you’d like to see made into board games? Let us know in comments.

3 Lists of 3 Movie Marathons

It’s Friday night, and you have no plans—or your plan options are limited. Why not try a movie marathon? But which movie marathon should you choose? Old uncle Geekly doesn’t know for sure, I don’t know what type of movies you like, but the following three lists of three could help narrow the search.

Short and Sweet Marathons Most People Could Finish


Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy (5 Hours and 29 Minutes)

The shortest of the movie marathons on this list is the one named after the various flavors of Cornetto ice cream treats featured in each film: Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End. Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg make a dynamic duo in these three comedies. The different themes and characters also make the Cornetto Trilogy feel like it isn’t a trilogy and perhaps, the easiest one to watch.

I may not be The World’s End’s biggest fan, but it’s still a good movie and the trilogy doesn’t come close to overstaying its welcome.


The Dark Knight Trilogy (7 Hours and 37 Minutes)

Jim might slap the back of my wrist with a classroom ruler for including Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy: it’s overrated. To be fair, I agree with him, but it’s still a quick watch, and the films have their moments—Heath Ledger’s Joker alone is worth the price of admission. While Kevin Conroy will always be my Batman, Christian Bale does a good job, despite hyperventilating through half the movies, and many of the villains are satisfyingly menaces.


Back to the Future (5 Hours and 42 Minutes)

I had to go with the film series that has pervaded pop culture so much that there was a Back to Future Day on October 21, 2015. Universal Pictures created a trailer for Jaws 19, Mattel manufactured a hoverboard as seen in the film, Pepsi produced a limited run of “Pepsi Perfect,” Nintendo released the Wild Gunman game Marty played in the Café ‘80s scene, and many more including Nike recreating the Nike Mag shoes Michael J. Fox wore. The Back to the Future franchise begets Rick and Morty. ‘Nuff said.

Ridiculously Long Marathons I Might Be Crazy Enough to Try One Day


James Bond (2 Days, 4 Hours, and 56 Minutes)

He’s the world’s best/worst secret agent—he’s given his real name to how many people?—and along with Sherlock Holmes, one of the most successful and recognizable fictional characters of all time. James Bond also has 26 movies (before the one that’s due in 2019) with six actors portraying the titular character. Sure, the early films are dated. Daniel Craig’s turn is a modern retelling of Connery’s and if one is looking for a more relatable Bond, one should turn there. I also wouldn’t blame you for not wanting to blow an entire long weekend. We’re talking days. Days!


The Marvel Cinematic Universe (1 Day, 18 Hours, and 44 Minutes—and counting)

While DC continues to flounder (I hope that changes soon), Marvel consistently produces strong movie-going experiences. The trick was to start with solid individual movies before expanding and crossing the various franchises. The only problem is that there are too many Marvel movies. This marathon only includes the films, not the Netflix originals and other TV shows. I’m crazy; I’m not that crazy.

You may not be able to finish every film over a standard weekend. You may have to call in sick from work. If I’m being honest, I’d have to be a little sick to attempt this movie marathon that gets longer every other month. So, I wouldn’t be lying. I am sick. Cough. Cough.


Miyazaki Marathon (1 Day and 10 Minutes)

Miyazaki’s marathon is the shortest of the full day ones, and it happens to be the most likely one I’ll try to make happen. Season squeed after hearing that. I’ll have to track down his shorts (that make up about an hour of this runtime) and make sure we have all the animated features he’s ever written and directed. We’ve got to do this right.

To date Miyazaki is the only anime director to have ever won an Academy award. It’s shocking that he’s only won one. He’s a director who I’m always on the lookout for his next release.

Classic Geekly Movie Marathons


The Middle-Earth Anthology (20 Hours, 13 Minutes)

You could be forgiven if you wanted to cut the showtime in half and watch only The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Uncle Geekly won’t judge, but even at 10 hours or so, The Lord of the Rings will occupy a large portion of your day. No regrets. Miss Geekly has me beat as she’s seen it at least five or six times with all the bonus features.

Any way you slice it, the Middle-Earth Anthology is cinematic magic and worth your time. Peter Jackson and company do a phenomenal job of bringing to life the series that birthed epic fantasy.


Star Wars (22 Hours, 27 Minutes)

This runtime includes the anthology films (Solo and Rogue One) and that may turn off several fans. It also doesn’t include the upcoming ninth main film, but I had to include Star Wars somewhere on this list. It’s too good. It transformed people’s lives. Some other fill-in-the-blank hyperbolic statement that somehow doesn’t seem like enough.

There are so many ways to watch the films: in order of release, chronological order, and many, many others. I won’t go into the virtues of how to watch these films, you do you, but with a runtime of just under a day one could watch a Star Wars marathon on a day like May the Fourth.


Star Trek (1 Day, 1 Hour, and 17 Minutes)

Okay. This one may be the other more than a day marathon I’ll have to try at some point and that’s why it’s on the lists of classics. Star Trek may not get the same recognition as the other two titles on this list of three, but it’s every bit as iconic. I’m also required to say something like “iconic” because Jim would put me in a sleeper hold if I didn’t. Zzzz.

Where was I? Yes. Some of Sci-Fi films’ greatest moments have come from Star Trek movies, and it deserves to be on our classic Geekly movie marathons.

That’s my list. I’m sure you guys have more marathons you’d like to add. Tell me how wrong I am in the comments.

Geekly News: November 2, 2018

Elder Scrolls VI Release Window Announced

This bit of news doesn’t amount to much. It’s a slow news week, so eh. Bethesda announced that the Elder Scrolls VI Redfall will be a PS5 and Xbox (whatever they’ll call it) release. That’s pretty much what I figured. I said as much two or three weeks ago; this is just confirmation.

 Starfield may have a chance of gracing current consoles, but there was little to no chance Redfall would make the PS4 or Xbox One. Fallout 76 counts as one of Bethesda’s flagship releases and the company likes to release one flagship title every three or four years. That means that Starfield should come out around 2021—maybe 2020 because they’ve been working on it for 6 years already and 2020 sounds like an awesome release year. Okay, there’s little chance Starfield will be a current generation console release.

Elder Scrolls VI should be released three to four years after Starfield, so that puts its release year at 2023 through 2025. Oh boy.

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 on Hold (Again)

Okay, maybe this is a pretty busy week of news. The third volume of Guardians of the Galaxy may not survive the firing of James Gunn. Here’s a quick recap of what’s happened. James Gunn posted insensitive tweets and was eventually fired as the director of Guardians Vol. 3. Some of the franchise’s actors back Gunn and Disney/Marvel has had a devil of a time finding another director they like. This has led to a stop-start every week or two.

MCU boss Kevin Feige announced this week that the franchise is on an indefinite hold. If the sides can’t find common ground (Bautista has no contract that covers a third Guardians movie), there’s a good chance that Guardians of the Galaxy 3 may not happen at all. Don’t worry. The gang will make an appearance in Avengers 4.


Boba Fett Movie Cancelled

Kathleen Kennedy confirms that the Boba Fett Star Wars spinoff movie is “100% dead.” While the cancellation of a Boba Fett movie helmed by Logan director James Mangold may upset some, the reason for this move is a shift to the Jon Favreau penned live-action TV series The Mandalorian. I couldn’t see both projects taking off, so a little focus for the Fett man may be in order. Let’s hope The Mandalorian delivers.


Andy Muschietti to Direct Attack On Titan

It director Andy Muschietti has just signed on to make a new Attack On Titan live-action film adaptation. The first one didn’t land well with manga readers. Why must every movie have a love story—especially when there isn’t a love story in the original work? Muschietti is a big fan of the original manga and if his work on It is any indication, the new Attack On Titan film will get the blockbuster treatment with plenty of chills.

PlayStation Classic

PlayStation Classic Games List Confirmed

PlayStation announced that it’d join Nintendo with its line of diminutive classic systems with 20 preloaded games several months ago, but this week they announced the full list of games that’ll come with the system. They are as follows:

  • Battle Arena Toshinden
  • Cool Boarders 2
  • Destruction Derby
  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Grand Theft Auto
  • Intelligent Qube
  • Jumping Flash
  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Driller
  • Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
  • Rayman
  • Resident Evil (Director’s Cut)
  • Revelations: Persona
  • Ridge Racer Type 4
  • Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
  • Syphon Filter
  • Tekken 3
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six
  • Twisted Metal
  • Wild Arms

A lot of these are classic games or the first game in genre defining series. The PlayStation Classic hits shelves on December 5, 2018.


Video Games

Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun! and Drum Session! (Switch, PS4)

Drum ‘n’ Fun (Switch) and Drum Session (PS4) mark the first time that a Taiko no Tatsujin game made it to the West. This series is a huge arcade/rhythm game in the East and it’s only a matter of time to see if the States and other countries will take to its catchy beats.



Bohemian Rhapsody

This is the big one this week for me. I’m a sucker for biopics and I like Queen. I don’t watch too many biopics in theaters, but I may make an exception for Bohemian Rhapsody, the biopic for Queen front man Freddie Mercury.

Nutcracker and the four realms

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Could this film be so bad that it’s good? I’m not sure. A lot of critics have called it “soulless” and “incoherent,” but the visual effects are good. It sounds like an impressive cast that includes Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, and Morgan Freeman can’t help The Nutcracker and the Four Realms from becoming Disney’s worst reviewed film in history. Yikes!



This one won’t be for everyone. If this movie follows the 1977 original, Suspiria tackles some heady material, and its trailer depicts vampires who let the blood flow even more. This lends itself to multiple watches, once to get over the gore and the second to dig deeper into what the film is about, but a run time of two and a half hours may be a little long.

Nobody's Fool

Nobody’s Fool

This is the latest Tyler Perry comedy. In this one, Tanya (Tiffany Haddish) is released from prison and is reunited with her family. The family learns that she’s in an online relationship with a mystery man who may be “catfishing” her. It’s a fun premise, so I may watch it. It also doesn’t hurt that Whoopi Goldberg, Amber Riley (Glee), and Mehcad Brooks (Jimmy Olsen from Supergirl) are in the cast.



Eminem produces this odd fusion of comedy, battle rap. Eminem has a knack for the theatrical and it looks to continue here. Bodied has received a lot of praise and high marks, so it may be worth a watch.

The Front Runner
Hugh Jackman stars in Columbia Pictures’ THE FRONT RUNNER.

The Front Runner

This one starts early next week. It’s another biopic, this time based on Matt Bai’s All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid. In short, it’s Hugh Jackman portraying Senator Gary Hart during his 1988 presidential campaign where he’s caught up in an extramarital affair with Donna Rice.



Friday, November 2, 2018

Homecoming (Amazon)

I’ve talked about this one in the past. Julia Roberts stars as a caseworker who helps military members transition to civilian life. Years after she starts a new life as a waitress when a Department of Defense auditor questions why she left the program. There may be more to her being placed as a former caseworker than she realizes.

House of Cards (Netflix)

Today marks House of Cards’ final season. I lost interest a long time ago, and the Kevin Spacey scandal didn’t help, but hopefully Netflix’s first original series ends on a high note.

The Other Side of the Wind (Netflix)

This film may be the biggest thing Netflix has ever produced; it’s one of Orson Welles’s lost films. Being locked away in a Paris vault (due to legal issues) for decades didn’t prevent The Other Side of the Wind from influencing other films that came after it. It all but created the Mockumentary. What’s even better is that Netflix plans to release a follow up documentary on the film’s history which may be just as interesting.

Watergate (History)

History beats The Front Runner (Gary Hart) to the punch with this series about Watergate. This scandal may have marked the United States’ loss of innocence; it definitely gave birth to scandal journalism.

Mickey's 90th Spectacular

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Mickey’s 90th Spectacular (ABC)

Mickey Mouse made his first appearance on May 15, 1928 (Plane Crazy), and Steamboat Willie was released around Thanksgiving of the same year. Mickey’s 90th Spectacular is a special that celebrates Mickey throughout the decades.

Outlander (Starz)

Based on the historical time travel book series of the same name, Outlander returns for a fourth season on Starz. The premise sounds interesting and it’s received good ratings, so I may give it a try.

Betrayal Legacy

Board Games

Betrayal Legacy

I may be a little late with this one, because tabletop games are difficult to track down with their new releases. Betrayal Legacy holds my interest with a death grip. Rob Daviau was involved with the original Betrayal at House on the Hill (think of a Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods in board game form) and he adds his patented legacy game mechanism to the mix. For the uninitiated, legacy games are games that change the board through multiple plays, so Betrayal Legacy should play out more like a movie and the choices players make will have lasting consequences.

I may pour a little cold water on this writeup with saying that legacy games aren’t always executed as well as they could be. Gamers may want to wait and read a review (a spoiler-free review as this board game will play like a movie) before purchasing it.

That’s all we have for Geekly news this week. Be kind to one another and stay geeky.


Halloween Costumes I’d Like to Wear One Day

It’s Halloween time and your uncle Geekly has made Halloween costumes in the past. Okay. They were cosplays for various conventions and if Halloween was around the corner, so be it. Geekly’s gone as Hinata (Naruto), some failed attempts at a few others, and many times dressed as Medieval farmhand #3, but there are plenty of Halloween costumes Geekly hasn’t tried making and would like to at some point.


C-3PO (Star Wars)

It’s a classic, but there’s a reason it’s a classic. We’re talking actual metal. None of that phony plastic stuff. Yes. The stay at least five feet away from him on a stormy night 3PO. If it doesn’t creak or squeak, it doesn’t count. With so many remote control R2-D2s on the market this costume would be a blast.


Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid)

I’ve tried this one before, but never went out in public with it. No. I’m not talking the camouflage wearing Snake everyone knows and loves. I’m talking about the Snake everyone likes most but is afraid to admit it: cardboard box Snake. Yeah. I have a pair of BDU paints and combat boots from my days in the service. All I need is a large box and getting the box is half the fun. I can’t think of anything better than to walk up to a sales associate and ask for a box big enough to fit a grown man. You can’t ask what it’s for.


Sasori (Naruto)

We went from the simplest to the most difficult. If I were to dress as Sasori, it’d have to be the entire thing. We’re talking his tank puppet Hiruko, a hundred puppets for his Red Secret Technique, his various other human puppets (the Third Kazekage and his parents) and turning my own body into a puppet. Okay, I may have gone too far.


Big Daddy (Bio Shock)

Another one that must be made of metal. Hmm. That would make it a little difficult to maneuver. Something other than metal might be okay, but it must have an authentic look with little sisters and all that. I’ve seen this done many times, but the best had to have been at Gen Con. Maybe I can borrow the costume. Do you think there’d be a listing on Craig’s List?


Sheogorath (Elder Scrolls)

Sheogorath’s costume may or may not be that complicated, but I like any excuse to speak and think like the Daedric Prince of Madness. I’m constantly doing the Fish Stick.

These are your uncle Geekly’s bucket Halloween costumes of sorts. Let me know what yours are or if you’ve been any of these characters, message me your contact info or you can just leave a comment. I’d advise not to leave any personal information.

Geekly’s Free Video Game Summer: July 18, 2016


Sorry I’m late with this week’s post. My head was in the clouds and as a result, we’re headed to the stars with this week’s Geekly Free Video Game Summer. Let’s get to some games that are out of this world.

Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes

Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes

I have to admit that I spent more time with Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes than I did with the other games on this week’s list—I’m a bit of a Star Wars geek. There’s also a lot going on in this game.

Players accrue two forms of energy and countless forms of in-game currency. If you’ve read our “6 Things to be careful of in free-to-play games” (here’s a link in case you missed it), you’ll know that more than three currency types in a free-to-play game denotes a cash grab. Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes is a cash grab, but it’s enjoyable none-the-less.

Intellectual properties owned by Disney have a history of fun, free-to-play, cash cow video games—I’m looking at you Marvel: Contest of Champions—and that’s not a bad thing, so long as you know what the game is tempting you to do. Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes’ main campaigns—yes, there’s more than one—are scaled, with regard to difficulty, in a satisfying way. I could see some players getting frustrated and buying boosts to shave time off of developing their characters for the main quest lines, but the Galaxy of Heroes’ main source of frustration rests with the Galaxy War and Battle Arena game modes.

Both the Galaxy War and Battle Arena are player versus player game modes. It makes sense that PvP game modes would be more difficult than most of the other game modes, but the Battle Arena is where Galaxy of Heroes separates the players who pay for boosts from the ones who don’t. I’m sure you could earn enough experience to do well in the Battle Arena and it’s not vital that you place in the top 50 players, but it helps if you place high in these game modes and it’s obvious that you won’t unless you spend real world dollars. Don’t worry. There are other ways to develop your characters and get stronger. If you resign yourself to the fact that you won’t be a world beater in the Battle Arena, you’ll find that finishing in the top 1000 isn’t bad for power ups.

Did I mention that this game has a mountain of game modes? Well, it does. I’m almost level 50 and I still haven’t unlocked all this game has to offer. There might be too much going on for my liking but Galaxy of Heroes eases players into new game modes, so learning any new game modes is easy enough, and the inclusion of extra game modes serves to bridge the divide of paying and non-paying customers to some extent.

The last game mode I’ll mention is guilds. Guilds are popular in free-to-play games and I should probably write an article on what makes a good guild or guild mode at some point, but let’s stick with Galaxy of Heroes for the moment. Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes doesn’t have the worst guild set-up, but I wouldn’t mind a little more feedback for guild activities and there’s something cheap with the guild gold introduced when you join a guild.

For the most part participation in your guild doesn’t feel any different from playing on your own. There are raids that you can assist with—if one of your guild leaders starts a raid—but the chief way to contribute to your guild is to perform menial tasks like using energy fighting in Cantina Fights. Well, if you log in during the day, you’re going to use energy fighting in Cantina Fights whether you’re in a guild or not. Sure, a daily task for your guild might dictate which game mode you’ll play more of that day, but I prefer guild modes in other games that make guilds use the same currency players use for their own progression. It makes for fewer forms of in-game currency and guild members talk more about how they’ll contribute credits toward group goals; they have to balance personal and group success.

Despite a few flaws, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes is fun and I recommend it. Just be mindful of how the game is trying to coax players into spending real world money. It’s okay if you want to spend real money on a free-to-play game, just be careful. You could spend a heap of money on in-game purchases.

Star Trek Timelines

Star Trek: Timelines

Star Trek: Timelines is disappointing. It could easily be the one game that’s head and shoulders above the rest on this list, but crashes and load times make it difficult to navigate.

Perhaps you’ll have better luck than me—I’m playing Star Trek: Timelines on iOS—but I have to wait at least thirty seconds any time I want to load a new area, the game logs me out at pivotal moments, and often the game doesn’t save my progress and I have to retrace my steps. Technical difficulties aside, Star Trek: Timelines is a deep and engaging game that most Star Trek fans will enjoy.

All of the Star Trek iterations jumble to form a timeline mess, and you are in charge of various Star Trek crew members who have the skills to correct the timeline. Unlike several free-to-play games I’ve played this summer, Star Trek: Timelines has a story and that story’s pretty engaging. From what I was able to play, it felt as if my choices mattered. One of the first battles you’ll encounter is with the Klingon Federation. At one point you can help Worf’s son Alexander, but there are multiple ways you can choose to help. I’ve not seen this in too many free-to-play games, and it irks me that Timelines kept crashing. Timelines also employs John de Lancie to reprise his role as Q from The Next Generation and that’s exciting. Oh, man. I wish I could’ve played more of this game.

Star Trek characters excel at various tasks, and missions in Star Trek: Timelines require crew members who have medical expertise, scientific knowledge, engineering know-how, combat experience, leadership qualities, and/or negotiation skills. Usually, there’s more than one way to solve a problem, and that’s wonderful.

What’s not-so-wonderful is dilithium crystals. There had to be one currency or form of energy that goads players into using real-world dollars, and dilithium crystals’ iconic make them a good choice, but Timelines could’ve made dilithium crystals attainable through weekly log-ins. You don’t need dilithium crystals, you can use other, easier to obtain currencies (or the passage of time because dilithium crystals are used to rush production and missions) to get most of the items you can purchase with dilithium crystals, but there’s a difference between not having enough dilithium crystals to something and not having any because you refuse to pay.

I hope Star Trek: Timelines gets an update that will stabilize the game on iOS. It’s a great free-to-play game that’s marred by technical difficulties.

Pixel Starships

Pixel Starships

Pixel Starships takes the concept of Star Trek and applies cute, pixelated characters and starships. It’s a neat game with a large community—you’ll find a guild or two or fifteen you join and pal around with—but like Star Trek: Timelines and even Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes above it on this list, Pixel Starships suffers from technical difficulties, and it proves difficult to succeed without spending real world money.

You’ll have to spend time—lots and lots of time—to upgrade rooms on your ship so you’ll have the means with which to raid other starships, or you could spend cash to speed up the process. Pixel Starships starts off well enough but the wait times mount fast. Not only do you wait for upgrades, you have to wait to battle CPU opponents. You could also launch a player versus player match, but you end up with the same issue as Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes: players who pay win more often than players who don’t. Unlike Galaxy of Heroes, there aren’t too many ways to bridge this gap.

If that wasn’t bad enough, I had issues upgrading my starship. I’d click a room to upgrade in my ship, the computer would take my resources, and then the game wouldn’t apply the upgrades. Pixel Starship experiences rolling game crashes. They don’t happen all the time but they do happen in bunches.

Pixel Starships doesn’t stack up to the other games on this list as well as I would like. The divide between paying and non-paying gamers is too great, and technical difficulties slow down an otherwise good concept. The crew and ship are customizable and the game has character. I can see how gamers could enjoy this game. If exploring the galaxy in a cute pixelated starship appeals to you, Pixel Starships has depth of play. For me, Pixel Starships gets a half-hearted endorsement.

That’s another week of free-to-play games. I hope you enjoyed it, and until next we meet, thanks for reading.