Star Trek Into Darkness has been in theaters around the globe for a few weeks now, but today brings the first showings in the United States, with a wider release rolling out tomorrow. To celebrate - and to take advantage of the building Trekkie craze - AppGlu today released into Google Play the new Trek Episode Guide.
The free app isn't an official one, but it what it provides is likely far better than an official app could. Late last, CBS Interactive released an official Star Trek PADD database app for iOS and, well, it was a massive disappointment. The database used by CBS was poorly written, occasionally inaccurate, and woefully lacking in detail - and the images offered in the PADD app were likewise poor and typically of a depressingly low resolution.
CBS could have done better, and in spite of lacking some features, AppGlu's Trek Episode Guide does so. Let's get this out of the way to start: Trek Episode Guide doesn't have any form of built-in search, and it's focused solely on - as the name would imply - the episode and movie summaries. Granted, that's still 716 episodes and 12 films. But you can't tap on a character's name and read everything about that character. For a character like Worf, who appeared in 271 episodes across two series, in addition to 4 films, there's a lot to be brought together.
Where does Trek Episode Guide get this content? From none other than the community-assembled Memory Alpha, the web's most comprehensive Star Trek wiki. Memory Alpha has more than 35,000 articles, covering practically every aspect of Star Trek. Trek Episode Guide scratches just the surface of that database by just covering the episodes and movies.
Trek Episode Guide has a very Star Trek feel to it, co-opting the LCARS interface created for Star Trek: The Next Generation. There's a lot of non-functional visual chrome (that was the point of on-screen LCARS anyway), but overall it doesn't distract too much from the text content.
Navigation is accomplished by a long list of episodes, sorted by your choice of title, stardate (where it exists in the Star Trek timeline), and air date. An alphabet/stardate/real date picker sits on the right side of the list, allowing you to jump around the 700+ item list.
Tap on an episode and it loads up the full text to the right on tablets and in a new screen on smartphones. Images are scattered around the LCARS chrome edge of the episode viewer, though tapping on one opens up all of the episode's images in a side-scrolling gallery. True to Trek form, the text throughout the app is presented in the tall and bold Swiss 911 Ultra Compressed font, which while great for looking futuristic on the TV screen, isn't fantastic for actual real world use.
While Trek Episode Guide might right now be limited exclusively to episode and movie summaries, our hope is that they'll eventually be taking advantage of the super hyper-linked nature of Memory Alpha to build a more comprehensive Star Trek database app.
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