Monday, December 28, 2009

This Week's Recommended VC Game: PilotWings

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In 1990, I was blessed with the ability to get my hands on a Super Famicom before the Super NES would be released in the US (almost a 1/2 year later). There were a handful of games I remember getting to play, Gradius III, Super Mario World (in Japanese, I never knew what hitting the boxes actually said until I would play an emulated version nearly a decade-and-a-half later), F-Zero, and PilotWings.

PilotWings stood out because it, and F-Zero, really showed the abilities of the Super Famicom/NES. The much talked about 'Mode 7' capabilities were brought to light with PilotWings. To give a brief idea of what Mode 7 was, it was really the first attempt by a game manufacturer to attempt to build 3-D rendering into the system. They were able to do this by using rotation and scaling of objects on screen to give a 3-Desque effect. No launch game showed this effect more than PilotWings.

Harmless in nature, PilotWings takes the user through a flight simulator in order to achieve pilot licenses in flying a plane, skydiving, hang gliding, and rocket belt use. If you are able to achieve this, you can use the coveted helicopter to blow things up (probably the only real violence in the game). These tasks are not easy, especially as the game progresses. Skydiving is always fun but can be a pain and flying the rocket belt to land perfectly can be maddening.

It would be followed up six years later by a sequel that is equally good, if not better, than its predecessor - PilotWings 64 on Nintendo 64. Overall, this game was one of my favorites when it first came out in 1990 because of the technology and its overall fun. When looking at other titles for the Super NES, this one always stands out in my library as the 'harmless' one. Outside of the helicopter stage, there really isn't any violence. It is just a fun, easy to learn but hard to master game. While I agree 800 Wii points is steep, I think you will find it worth the price and will get hours of enjoyment. And, for those who had it on Super NES/Famicom in the early '90s, it does hold its nostalgic value as well.

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