Star Trek was such a crazy-collectible property in the 90’s that Playmates Toys churned out exclusive action figures all over the place. There were store exclusives, magazine exclusives, even a VHS exclusive. But that’s not all. This is the story of one of the more obscure exclusives: Commander Benjamin Sisko in Next Generation Duty Uniform, exclusive to the Super Nintendo game Deep Space Nine: Crossroads of Time.
Okay, so it’s not exactly an epic story. There was a DS9 video game for the SNES, a Sisko figure was offered as a freebie if you used the mailaway form included in the game's instruction manual, and that’s pretty much it. The figure depicts Commander Sisko when he wore a Next Generation-style uniform in the DS9 pilot Emissary. You'd probably expect there to be a lot of kitbashing here, taking parts of existing figures and Frankensteining them together to save on production costs. And you’re right, there is a lot of reuse: most of the figure comes from the basic Commander Sisko. But what's cool about this figure is the TNG-style torso, which appears to be unique. I always loved the DS9 line because the poses and proportions are more realistic than the more exaggerated TNG figures, so getting a TNG-style figure with a DS9-style sculpt is a real treat.
The figure is all fine and dandy, but in order to get it you had to first buy the SNES game, Deep Space Nine: Crossroads of Time. The game, as you might expect, pretty much sucks. You control Sisko as he investigates a mystery on the station, running through the different levels of DS9 and phaser-blasting bad guys. Then, you hop in a Runabout and zoom through the Wormhole, blowing away enemy ships. All this sounds exciting until you pick up the controller and realize that the controls are just finicky enough that you'll become a Runabout-shaped stain in the Wormhole more often than not. Not only that, but there’s a lot of repetition as you replay big chunks of the game if you die. But on the good side, the storyline is reminiscent of a DS9 episode from the time period and it’s cool to see sprite avatars of your favorite DS9 characters in action.
The game came with an instruction manual (of course) and a cool poster reproducing the artwork on the front of the box. When you flip the poster over, you see ads for other games on the back. I remember the good old days when SNES games came with posters... fun stuff.
But back to the figure, the weird thing is that it doesn't seem to be representative of the game. I’d expect that if you’re offering a figure exclusive to a video game, that the figure would have something to do with the game itself. Although I didn’t play through to the end, it's apparent that Commander Sisko in TNG uniform isn't important to the game; in fact, I don't think that this Sisko actually appears in the game at all. Strange.
Because you had to buy an expensive game to get the figure, there might not be too many of these Siskos around these days. It has been one of the most difficult figures for me to find, rivaling First Contact Crusher and Redemption Data in apparent scarcity. This sample is number 2,637 which makes me think that there are at least that many figures in circulation. But it’s possible that not all of the figures produced were actually shipped since the number in circulation depends on how many people both bought the game and mailed away for the figure. That said, it doesn’t seem to be worth all that much on eBay, and it's certainly not as expensive as some of the more notorious figures like 1701 Tapestry Picard. That makes me think that the character isn’t as popular, or people just don’t know about the figure, or both.
Sisko came in a mailer bag along with the insert above. It's pretty much just Playmates saying, "Hey, thanks for mailing away for the figure... be sure to watch more Deep Space Nine!" It kind of reminds me of the Ovaltine message that Ralphie decoded in A Christmas Story.
Thus ends this tribute to SNES Commander Sisko. Of all the Star Trek exclusives, this one is probably my favorite. Maybe it's the figure's obscurity, maybe it's the great TNG uniform sculpt, maybe it's the fact that I'm tempted to buy up a half dozen and use that torso to customize a cool TNG crew. More pics follow!