Stellar Emperor – Winning The Game

This was my moment of obsessive power gaming eliteness, way back in 1987.

I wrote generally about the game Stellar Emperor previously.

In Stellar Emperor there were two “Top Spots” in the scores for each four week campaign.

The first was President of the Imperial Senate. This went to the player with the highest individual score. This score reflected primarily your skill at planetary management and your ability to hold onto your six planets. (No score for planets that other players took from you!) The planetary score was derived from an equation that multiplied the population of your planet by several factors, the most heavily weighted being the happiness of your population.

The other 19 players of the top 20 were given titles as well. Second place was “Second Lord of the Empire,” third place was “Third Lord of the Empire,” and so on.

The second top spot was Emperor of the Galaxy. This went to the leader of the winning team. I do not know if the leader of the second or third place teams got any sort of title because I never lead a second place team.

In campaign #12, I lead our regular team, The Arcturan Empire (AE!), to victory and managed to also claim the top spot for individual score. So I was both Emperor of the Galaxy and President of the Imperial Senate.

Now I could simply make that claim, but it would be just that much better if I had some proof of this achievement to back me up.

And, of course, I do.

When anybody got into the top 20 individual scores in a campaign, they got (eventually) a certificate in the mail for Kesmai and GEnie. You also got one for Emperor of the Galaxy. I still have all of the certificates from my Stellar Emperor days, but here are my two favorites:

Wilhelm d'Arcturus - President on the Imperial Senate

President on the Imperial Senate

Emperor of the Galaxy

Emperor of the Galaxy

They are signed by Bill Louden, who was pretty much the founder of GEnie and whom I got to meet the next year at the Air Warrior convention in Dayton, Ohio, and a name I cannot make out representing Kesmai.

In addition to the certificates, the Emperor of the Galaxy and the President of the Imperial Senate each got a pewter cup engraved with their name and title. Here is my matched set:

The Victory Cups

The Victory Cups

I haven’t quite figured out how to get a good shot of the cups with our digital camera. I will update this picture if I get a better shot. (I passed on the “reflecto-porn” opportunity that seems so popular on eBay.)

Now, I could have had a third piece of proof.  The monthly GEnie magazine, GEnie LiveWire, used to print the scores for the games.  Sometimes.  They would do it for a few months, then forget for a few months.  My win did not make it into LiveWire.  Neither did my Stellar Warrior campaign win, for that matter.  Such is life.

So how much did these two pewter cups and two certificates cost me? A little over $1000, spent at a rate of $5.00 an hour. This meant that in the 27 Day Campaign (each 4 week campaign had a reset day as part of the cycle) I spent over 200 of the possible 648 hours logged into the game.

(Did I mention that I was working close to full time and going to school?  The stamina of youth!)

Well, in hindsight spending that much money on a game seems more than a bit stupid, but I had a good job at the time and no responsibilities other than myself. I never played another campaign anywhere as seriously as that one and I laid of playing for a while to pay off that credit card bill, and I did pay it off. I recall that one player of Kesmai’s Air Warrior game got in so far with GEnie that he pretty much had to go to work for them.

But those two pewter cups have followed me around for the last 19 years. They are not that special looking, but when people ask about them, I tell them that they cost $500 each. That, and the time and glory they represent, is why I still have them sitting on a shelf in my office.

Of course this victory came with a ton of help from the Arcturan Empire team. To the names I remember, Moonlancer (the team founder), Ganelon, Wegnar, and to all the names I have forgotten, I owe a great deal of thanks for a great campaign and a lot of fun! I see those cups every day and think of those days gone by.

26 thoughts on “Stellar Emperor – Winning The Game

  1. Nick

    Interesting Blog, I was also a heavy player on GEnie way back when these games were online. I played Stellar Warrior, perhaps you have heard of or remember Death’s Head, that would be me. I think I have like 10 of those cups tucked away somewhere along with the Certificates since we dominated the stellar Warrior arena for quite some time. The only name that comes to mind from those modem days was Conan, who taught me the ropes. I also wrote a front end for the game called DEFCON and it made me the killer player I was in the game. You post brought back old memories and I was actually hoping the game might be around in some form yet, but I guess it is gone.


  2. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I do remember that name, and I think I saw it a couple of times when I was going through ancient copies of GEnie LiveWire as a research/memory jogging exercise.

    On my list of things to do is a write-up on Stellar Warrior, a game that deserved more love than it got. It wasn’t as deep as Stellar Emperor, but it was a blast if even a few people go on.


  3. Joe Solomon (Arachnid in MW3 - ship 2273)


    Just thought you might be interested in a project I’m working on. Basicially emulators of MW3, SE, and SW.

    MEGA EMPIRES III, MEGA PLANETS III, and MEGAWORLDS III (all (c) Soltronics 2007)

    Trying to get what I”m going to call Megaplanets III running by Saturday night. Its a planet management game. A second version will have the ability to send fighters/troops to invade other planets, without any ‘flying’ involved, though.

    Mega Empires III – is the full project with planet management, but using 3D space flight to make planet attacks, collect/transport tax etc. Basically MW3 with 3D flight, also similar to SE and SW.

    Hoping to have a beta open on one of the above by Saturday. I have a host/client code going but working out the protocol is a serious headache. If I can get past that, I’ll have stuff running.

    Have a gamehost, and a webpage setup on the gamehost. Just waiting for the game itself.

    Not to write a book…. but I’m considering a version of MEIII that allows a total of ten planets, six scorers and four support bases. Also, allowing for one main ship, and three or four extra ships. This would allow all players to have even playing field, without people tempted to use ‘mules’. If they do, I’ll just add more ships per player.

    Give it a look sometime.


  4. Scott Ross

    Ha, whats up NYRanger. I also played SE on Gamestorm under the alais of WaLL. Been along time since anyone has mentioned this game to me. Still one of the best multi player games ever on the net, its a shame no one has ever brought it back in some form.

    I wasted a lot of years and time on this game.


  5. Jeff

    Hey Wall & Nyranger! This is Hetulik. Amazing to see how many of us must still be doing a “stellar emperor” google search every once in awhile! I echo your thoughts Wall. Stellar Emperor in my mind was one of the best, if not the best games on the net. I have a soft spot for Stellar Emperor and have many many good memories from those days playing it.

    Arachnid – I’ve very impressed and wish you the best on your efforts. There’s nothing i’d like more than to see a variation of MW3/SE return to the net. Please keep me in the loop on your progress and I strongly wish to participate in (and be part of) the revival of the game. My email is I tried to access your site but was unable to.

    Wilhelm i enjoyed your article. Thanks for posting.



  6. UT

    Wow, Thought I was the only one still tinking about SE. Anyone ever here from Sas, Talon or Kon from BL

    I am still playing old Games, Terra “Battle for the outlands” same kinda player base as SE

    UT Aka
    Ship Number 311932


  7. YaBee

    I remember Wall and Het from SE. Anyone remember Dark Avenger 2 of 7? Well, I called myself DALoner but I learned how to play SE from’s been a long time!


  8. Mysticicehawk

    Heya all I was only on SE on gamestorm in 96 till EA killed it in the buyout but I was Mysticskyhawk I Remember a few of the names on there, I still have not found a game close to it , next best thing Ive been playing is Eve-Online but Id kill to find a game thats even 90% of what SE or MW3 was so Let me know if any of you know of any..
    Oh and the SEMW3 site is back up , I dont know if hes still going to try and rebuild the game or not but we can all hope.. is back up


  9. Scott

    Suppose I should poke my head in here and let people know I’m still kicking around. With the nearly 4 years I spent with MegaWars III initially, 2 years in the mid-90’s on the text-based SE (through Delphi) and another 3 or so years of GameStorm beta/retail graphical incarnation up until they pulled the plug on us – I’ve yet to find any game which I’ve enjoyed so throughly!

    Setting up stagers, scouting and rescouting, attack runs and waking up in a cold sweat + heart pounding, logging in only to confirm your dreams were true and someone is pounding your planets… ahh.. what memories!

    Good to see a few of the old fellas are still around as well.


  10. Dave

    Nice to see familar names again. I dunno how many times i have done a search looking for a remake of SE, oh how i miss playing it. If anyone remembers me I was Third Day on SE I think, been so long i cant remember lol.


  11. Dave G

    This game was awesome. After playing Airwarrior way too much I moved over to Stellar Emperor. Spent many hours on this thing in the mid 90’s when it was a beta through Kesmai. I think I was playing as Kabuki at the time. I do remember playing against you guys above.
    I hope someone brings it back, that would be cool…


  12. Tom Boisvert

    Talon is alive and Well thank you:) AH the old Mule Days…. I’m still alive on World of Warcraft on the Drenden Server with several characters of course.


  13. Willis (Caleb - 324402)

    Very cool to see the fabled pewter cups! Never head the pleasure of playing MW3, just SE on Aries/Kesmai/Gamestorm. I have one of the few plaques given out by Gamestorm for being the Emperor of the Weekend War Tournament, but it certainly pales in comparison to the pewter cups!


  14. Frank Anthony Muao

    Glad to see people still remember this game,I played about a year and miss the hell out of the game,AKA NoFear,Would love if someone brought back this game.


  15. WarpRat

    Ive been standing here with my flight helmet in my hand for almost 8 years now. I can’t seem to find where my scout ship is parked.

    ISO answers!


  16. Killer Elite

    My GOD, this brings back memories looong forgotten. I use to be Killer Elite in Stellar Emperor/Warrior. I think my ship number was 2507. I was the leader of the Stellar Knights in I dont know which war but we were the best and did win that one war….but those were definately the days!

    I do remember a few names…Sirius comes to mind and Vagabond….I also remember Death’s Head….shoot, there are a few others on the tip of my tongue…oh well, what can I say…it was like 23 years ago and I was alot younger then :)


  17. Willis

    Wilhelm2451, I’m not certain, but I’m guessing that Kesmai signature is that of Michael J. Bispeck. He was the lead programmer on the Aries/Kesmai/Gamestorm version of SE from at least 1997-1999. Looking at the little bit of information there is out there, he was credited in the original Air Warrior, so that means we was there in 1987, and probably before then. And from what I can see, he was among those who moved to EA when they aquired Kesmai.


  18. Admiral Zen

    Whoa, flashbacks to Stellar Emperor, I was Admiral Zen back in the day, think I have about 9 of the pewter cups . . . even won a VCR off of GEnie. Lord know I couldn’t afford the $$ it took to win so often (and the countless hours on the old modems) .. odd to find this sooo long after . . did anything ever take off with these emulators?


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