Saturday, March 19, 2011

Galactic Trader

I'm not much of a gamer.  Seriously, I can count the number of games I've played through to the end on one hand.  The classics are more my speed-- and when I say classics, I'm talking Pac-Man, Asteroids and Space Invaders.  The only people who are more old school than me are people who still play Pong.

So when I followed all my friends over to Facebook (the tumbleweeds at MySpace were getting boring to talk to), I initially resisted the Facebook game apps.  I eventually started playing FarmVille and CafeWorld.  Once I started I really got hooked; I loved that I could turn my Cafe into my own pizza parlor, and I became a true FarmVille junkie, planning my crops around my social commitments. I rarely spent real money on the game; I say rarely, because when they did an "alien invasion" theme week, I couldn't resist buying a crashed UFO to put in the middle of my crops.
But after a while the game started to become a hassle.  They added too many special goals, andto be honest I wasn't having much fun with the regular farming anymore.  Plus they kept harassing me for my e-mail address.  I didn't want to give them my e-mail address.  So one day, I went to log in and I was sent to a screen that said my e-mail address was required to continue, and it only gave me two choices: enter my e-mail address, or leave.  So I quit playing, and I announced to all my friends and family that I was done with Facebook games until they came up with one that had spaceships in it.

Well... now there's a game with spaceships in it!

In Galactic Trader, you build your fleet, explore strange new worlds... and strip mine them of all their resources! You meet new life and new civilizations... and blow them all up!

Seriously though, the game gives you tasks to complete, as you help mine resources so that different organizations can build spaceships, space stations, hyperspace bypasses and so on.  The more you play the more systems you unlock, the bigger ships you can build, and the aliens you meet get tougher.

And a lot of the hardware is very reminiscent of other media.  For example:
Colony Ship or Colonial Battlestar?

Ressearch Station or Cardassian Station?

Space Academy or... ummm, Space Academy?!?
Scarlet Raptor or Starfury?
Cargo Ship or Space Galleon?
Super Cargo Ship or Space Battleship?
Of course, this only adds to the fun.  Having so many classic designs mashed into one game makes it like the Super Robot Wars of spaceships.  (Ahh, Super Robot Wars Alpha... another game I started and never finished.)

The game has a total of 12 missions, and while I was going through those missions I was totally hooked.  After about two weeks I finished them all, and after that... nothing.  There's no "Congratulations!" message, no direction on what to do now, and a plot line about hidden artifacts that's kind of left hanging.  I'm hoping the creators of the game are planning more missions.

Now that I'm done with all the missions, my enthusiasm for the game has dropped down to much more rational levels.  I can build up my fleet and my resources at my leisure.  I'm still way ahead of all of my friends, so I can make necessary materials they might need available to them, which is good because right now I can beat them all in war games, and I'd like them to start giving me a challenge since none of the alien races do anymore.

The more systems you unlock, the richer minerals you can mine.  So I came up with a "cheat sheet" chart to help me be able to tell where to find each one without constantly having to click on every planet.  If you play the game, here they are.  Click on them for bigger, more usable versions.

So if you're interested in playing, the game can be found on Facebook at

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