SNES A Day 3: Pilotwings

pilotwings_us_box_art_front

Approximate Release Date: August 23, 1991
Genre: Flight simulation
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

I hate Pilotwings.

I’m not prepared to call Pilotwings bad, I just think it might be one of those games in which you had to have been there on release. My introduction to the series was Pilotwings 64, which I only really played because it was one of two Nintendo 64 launch titles. 64 was enjoyable, and saying that its predecessor is fine is about as much enthusiasm as I can muster for it, though. Pilotwings suffers because it’s trying to do more than the little Super Nintendo can handle.

The main problem is the lack of feedback in the gameplay. This is especially evident in the skydiving portions, which are terrible. Also terrible: the graphics. This is an ugly game in motion, relying totally on the Super Nintendo’s Mode 7 shenanigans, and the lack of visual fidelity makes it hard to gauge crucial elements like speed or distance or relational position. It’s a nightmare to play today, but I respect the effort and ambition.

Not everything is bad in Pilotwings, though. The jetpack (well, jetbelt) is kinda fun, though it suffers from the same problems that plague the rest of the game. The light plane events are on the boring side, but they aren’t terrible. There are probably more types of events than these three! I just can’t keep playing this game.

But on a random note: pressing start to make text prompts go away should have died in 1985. Why can’t I use A or B like any other game? Might as well make me press the Select button to switch between menu options.

Tomorrow: King Koopa and traffic congestion terrorize SimCity.

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