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Star Trek The Next Generation: The Game

“It’s your turn. Play the game, Wesley.”

This is the episode with the lamest video game, ever. Then again, I used to spend hours playing "Pong," which was just two black lines and a floating dot. I also once spent all night playing "The Sims," because I just couldn’t let those dumb fake people starve to death while looking at an empty refrigerator. Games can be lots of fun, but users beware.

We find Riker fooling around with a very silly alien chick on Risa. Haven’t lots of bad things happened to our crew there? Maybe Captain Picard should stop letting his people visit that place. Now, I’ve read some criticism of this episode that says the game they are playing is kind of sexy, and that it is creepy the way that Beverly wants so badly for Wesley to play it. I didn't really think about subtext that much.  I was just glad that Wesley was back and that he had an interesting person to hang out with that wasn't his mother.

Ashley Judd plays Ensign Robin Lefler, who has 102 laws that she always remembers. Wish I had done something like that when I was growing up, maybe I wouldn’t have made the same mistakes over and over again. I thought that Ashley was really pretty and had lots of charisma, but on first viewing, I had no idea who she was, or that her family were famous singers. I just thought Ashley and Wil made a good couple and were fun to watch.

I’ve always liked Wes, and I guess I’m pretty dense, but I didn’t even find out until years later that he was such a disliked character in some forums. I always thought that it was sweet, you know; just a boy and his mom. Tragic death of an important person in someone’s life, like Wesley's father, that always gets to me, I guess. Some of my favorite episodes feature Wesley. Anyways, I never minded that Wesley was smarter than everyone and could figure things out when no one else could. I just enjoyed it. Someone has to figure out a solution before everyone dies, don’t they?

I always seem to like shows like this: the ones where things go to a weird place and there is a mystery to be solved before the crew faces certain doom. Maybe the concept of a whole ship full of mature adults (well, maybe excluding Riker) succumbing to the charms of a silly little game is a little far-fetched. Disk goes into cone — whoopee… but then again, addictions can take many forms. I’ve been addicted to my TV screen since the seventies.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the one with Leonard Nimoy in fact, scared me to death when I saw it in a theater in 1978. The idea that if you lost consciousness, that you would be taken over by an alien entity?  Well, that thought is very unpleasant. I can think of lots of shows where someone had to pretend to be infected or possessed by something, so that they can avoid being eaten/mind controlled/whatever. That’s always a good time on screen. Okay, the scene where Wesley and Robin are pretending to enjoy their game was a little creepy, but we also got some fun chase scenes with the standard overly-dramatic chase music. Oh no! Robin’s been body snatched!  Now it's time to play hide and seek!

Bits and Pieces:

My favorite part was with Nurse Alyssa and Wesley in the turbo lift. She keeps sighing ever so sweetly as she plays her game and Wesley is pretty embarrassed.

That whole chocolate ice cream scene with Troi was totally unnecessary. We get it; she’s addicted.

It’s a little sad that Robin had such a lonely childhood. She had to remember all those laws to protect herself.

Of course Data is taken out of the equation, early. Those dumb aliens had to pick the Federation’s flagship with an android aboard, because of course they did.

Related Data note: He saved the day by flashing the crew. Get your minds out of the gutter. He used a light source.


Etana: “You see the disk and the cone?”
Riker: “Yeah.”
Etana: “Concentrate. Make the disk go into the cone.”
Riker: “How do I do that?”
Etana: “Just let go.”

Robin: (to Wesley) “Your neutrinos are drifting.”

Alyssa: “I’m at level 47.” (Happy little sigh)
Wesley: “That’s great.”
Alyssa: “You know what the secret is, don’t you? Don’t force it… if you just let the game happen, it almost plays itself.” (Another happy little sigh)

I don’t know why I like this episode so much, I just do… okay? Sorry, I’m being defensive; no one has even told me that they hate this episode yet, and/or that I’m a crazy person.

Four out of five sundaes without hot fudge. (It melts the ice cream.)

Mallena loves her DVR, her Pug, almost anything in the sci-fi, fantasy, or supernatural genres, and her family.  Well, maybe not in that exact order.


  1. I always liked Wesley and this episode. So you aren't alone! Ashley Judd is fun, and the addiction of a game in this tech dependent society isn't that far fetched.

  2. Cool, thanks for the support, Anon. Your comment is so appreciated.

  3. I had to comment and say I'm with you on this episode. The premise is dumb, but I genuinely think it's Wesley's most shining moment on the show. His nerd-romance with Ashley Judd is adorable, and they both make the episode watchable & enjoyable.

  4. Emma, thanks for commenting🌸. I was sad when Wesley left the show. Too bad we never got a spin-off of Wesley's continuing adventures. Ooh, maybe some day.

  5. I enjoyed Pong too! Although Space Invaders was my goto arcade game at first, and the Atari 2600 version was quite good. I play video games more than any other leisure activity, even today in my mid-50s, and one time when I was sick and home from school, I played so many hours of Ladybug on my Colecovision that I got a blister on my thumb, so I fully get the video game angle here.

    I never hated Wesley, but I had to deal with Adric first, so even when Wesley was annoying, I had already dealt with far, far worse. And he's much better in his later appearances as well, like this one.


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