15 Years of Wing Commander - What Was Your First Time Like?

Wow, 15 years. I'm getting too old.

I got my first PC in the fall of 1991, a Tandy 386/SX 25Mhz from Radio Shack. I was using a Sega Genesis (cartridge model) as my gaming console at the time, and I kind of avoided PC games because I didn't want to get hooked on 2 platforms. There was a bit of skepticism on my part too. I couldn't believe the screen shots shown on most game boxes were accurate portrayals of the actual game play, so that was another reason for me to avoid them.

The mall near my house had 2 software stores, an EB and a Babbages, and I usually bought my Sega games at Babbages. Babbages had a great return policy- if you bought a game you could return it for any reason for a full refund. That convinced me to try my first PC game- Aces of the Pacific by Sierra. I was blown away by the graphics, the missions, the relative historical accuracy, and the campaign feature. My Sega's days were numbered.

I had always hoped that one day a really good space combat flight simulator would become available for home play. The Sega titles were mostly OK, but they lacked something- an immersive plot and/or story line. Plus, Genesis games presented a bit of dichotomy. They were great for 4 or 5 (or more) hours of play, but they lacked a save feature, so you couldn't progress 2 hours into the game, save it, turn it off, and pick up later where you'd left off. I always hated that. I guess none of the consoles had that feature at that time. I actually spent 11 hours one saturday playing M1 Abrams Battle Tank from start to finish.

Not long after that my cousin and I stumled across a copy of Wing Commander sitting on a shelf at Babbages. We pulled it down, looked it over, and he convinced me to buy it. By then I had upgraded my PC with a gamecard and joystick, a soundcard and speakers, and 2MB more of RAM. I was hooked on WC within 5 minutes. It was all I played for the longest time. The expansion packs, WC2, WC3 (my favorite, played on a new P133 with a CD-ROM!) WC4 and Prophecy all followed in order.
My brother got Wing Commander for christmas though I do not remember if it was 1990 or 1991. We had an IBM XT 8088 at that time and well, me being only 8 respectively 9 years old, I watched my brother (who is three years older) play the game all night long. I was absolutely thrilled by the intro and the moving hand holding the flightstick.
To be correct, I didn't watch my brother all night, I think I left close to 4 am. But when I got up at 10 am, my brother was still playing.
I was of course interested in that fascinating game though more by its pretty images. Since I wasn't yet able to understand the english texts, I often just hit "A", shot wildy into the space and ejected alle the time. For the same reason I didn't look much at the packaging or the manual except for the pictures. Since that was a problem with the copy protection, I memorized two answers (Ralari's weight and front shield of the Fralthi) and restarted so often until those questions were asked.
But after a year or two, I wanted to know more about the game, I wanted to really play it. So I went and asked my brother or my parents all the time what this phrase meant and so on. I can reasonably say that more than half of my English knowledge comes from Wing Commander.
I showed the game some friends and they were thrilled as well, though not to the same extense as me. We played together and explained the phrases to each other. We got the SM 2 before the SM 1, which I only got after being a WC fan for quite some time already.
I kinda missed the release of WC 2 even though I was thrilled by all the previews. But then I got it as copy form a friend and I was thrilled again. But it took me a year before I bought it. Since then I bought every WC game after its release and took a great interest in Sci-Fi with giant felines (Cherrhys Chanur series, The Kzin wars).

Happy birthday Wing Commander, you're still my favourite.
Darn, we were hoping to have a wc1 remake ready by now :)

other than that... happy birthday!

I first played WC1 on an Amiga and constantly referred to it and Monkey Island to prove how better my 500+ was than the pc's of the time. ;)
I barley remember when i got WC1. My dad used to take me to work up untill I was in kindergarden. So he used to sit me in front of a computer and brought a game up for me to play. Well it was my 2nd birthday and I loved flight sims. He took me down to an electronic store in the southbay (I think it was Frys). He got me Wing Commander for me to play at work. It was my favorite game (and still is next to Operation Flashpoint). I wasn't that bad either I got up to the Dakota track. Granted it took me untill wc2 came out but hey I was 2. Then I got wc2 which I played and never beat until 3 years ago. I practicly lived privateer and wc3. I eventualy lost interest when Jane's AH-64D Longbow came out (hehe I still play that) I did not buy WCIV because my dad told me it was a remake of wc3. Once again I was 5 so I belived him. I went off and played Jane's games until WC Prophecy came out. My freind and I thought it was pretty awful. However, it renewed my interest in Wing Commander. I saw the movie and loved it. (Yeah I do actualy). I went to borders and bought every WC book they had. Then I went on ebay and bought every WC game except for WC3 and WCP which I already had. My friend did the same and we single handedly launched a small Wing Commander fad at our school. Pokemon unfortunatlry won out. I started to visit the CIC a few weeks before the WCM came out. I started posting..well that one is obvious.
My first time was also with a Commodore Amiga A500+ (It came with 1Mb of memory as opposed to the A500's 512K).
I was naughty in those days and stumbled across a pirate copy of Wing Commander.
It came on 3 double-density 3 1/2 inch disks (about 720Kb per disk).
I played it once, got hooked immediately and made a backup copy of disk 1 (the disk that we write save games to).

Spent a lot of time playing this beauty of a game. To the point where I made a backup of the entire thing and stored it seperately. So I had one 'master' copy and one 'working' copy to play with.
Also tracked down someone who had the PC version (and also legitimate - so full box plus manual). Managed to borrow the manual and spent 10p per A4 sheet, photocopying it.

The only downside was the amount of disk-swapping I had to endure, the framerate (which was something like 7fps!) and the number of times I crashed into Tiger's Claw trying to land. Still managed to complete the game though :)

I could only watch in envy as Commodore unleashed the mighty A1200 onto the world and I saw a running version of WC1 on it, looking smooth and fast and quick (well, compared to my A500+).

This led me onto buying legitimate copies of Wing Commander 3, 4 and Prophecy.
My story isn't too special. I played WC1 for the first time on the PCG Classic Games disc. Man, I wish I still had that.
Crazy to think the games been out that long. I started with Privateer back in 94/95, about a full year before Wing Commander 4 came out which was my first introduction to the greater WC Universe. I remember Privateer as being the absolute greatest game i had ever played, hours upon hours i spent drawing Orions, Centurions, Galaxies, Tarsus's...you name it. When i picked up WC4, my mind was further blown. I remember the first time the little Origin Intro started, and moved on into that oh-so-cool scene where Seether decloaks his dragon and rips into the convoy, my first meeting with Maniac on Nephele, and the proceeding dogfight with the Razor. Man it was a blast. From there I picked up Armada, and slowly have built my collection to include all the games. Greatest series ever. Hands down.
BradMick said:
Crazy to think the games been out that long.

I started by renting The Secret Missions for SNES from Blockbuster.

Later I bought a 3DO and got Wing Commander III and thought it was very similar to the SNES game I'd rented before. At some point my brain made the connection.

And then the Internet happened, and we got a computer and AOL, and I found WCHS. The commas signify years of empty space. Along the way I played more of the games.

Gripping, I know.
My forray into the Wing Commander Universe started with the purchase of Wing Commander 1 for the SNES in 1992. I dont' know why I bought it, but I did. I did not think I would ever play a game that would rival the drama and passion that FINAL FANTASY 2 brought, but I was so engulfed by Wing Commander I have never played anything like it.
Has it really been 15 years?

Wow, 15 years already? After reading some of these other posts I feel positively old. I was around 21 at the time WC came out and had just finished a 3 year tour in the Philippines. Cool place, btw.

Wing Commander was largely responsible for my upgrading frenzy back then. I just couldn't get enough of the game. I purchased a soundblaster just to have sound in wing commander. Then I upgraded to a 386SX 16 just to have the expanded memory the extras in the game needed. If you boil it all down to the basics, upgrading my PC for WC is where my training for a career in IT really started.

Since that time I have bought every WC game ever made the day it was released (with the exception of Privateer 2 which I just recently purchased on ebay). In some cases I have bought the games several times over.

I first bought the 5 1/4" version of WC, then the 3 1/2" version of both WC 1 & WC2, then the DOS CD versions of both, finally culminating with the Kilrathi Saga when it was released. I picked up the one and only copy at the Air Force Base Exchange in Korea while I was on a tour there.

I also purchased the Premiere Edition of WC 3 directly from EA / Origin and had it several days before the regular edition released in stores. I don't believe I slept that entire weekend.

I also bought WC4 and then later purchased an outdated Creative Labs DVD kit just so I could get the DVD version of the game.

Although I don't have the floppies of the game anymore, I still own all of the cd versions of every WC game and have several copies of most of them. 3 copies of prophecy, 2 copies of WC4 cd version plus the DVD version, 2 copies of the dos WC3, 1 copy of each of the CD's of WC1 & 2, and the Kilrathi Saga. Of course I also have bought both floppy and cd versions of academy and armada as well as Privateer 1. Like I said above, I just recently got Priv 2. Did I leave anything out?

I won't even mention the books and the card game.

Sorry for the long winded post!! It sure is a walk down memory lane. With as much WC playing as I have done over the years, it's amazing I am still married!!
My wife must really love her Confed Pilot !! :D
Gunslinger2 said:
Wing Commander was largely responsible for my upgrading frenzy back then.

I think just about everyone active in these forums can bring up at least one example of how they had to get more knowledgable about computers because of WC. At the very least, installing and configuring SoundBlaster cards, plus the always-fun IRQ and memory shuffling for those whose experience goes back to DOS.
We got our first computer probably right around the time Wing Commander came out - I don't remember when exactly. I did not much care about it, as all the games I had ever seen for it were totally stupid compared to the consoles (we called them "video game systems" back then). As for using it to do work...yeah, right.

The next day, my dad came home with Wing Commander in an effort to get me interested in the thing. I gave it a try and...and...it was so much better than ANYTHING I had ever experienced on a Nintendo or a Sega. I was so wrapped up in the characters and the story. Just like the front page said today, I looked at those blueprints constantly, and I surely had Claw Marks memorized within a couple of weeks. It was so strange that you could fail a mission, and the game would still go on...but it would be different! And if a wingman died...he was truly dead.

When X-Wing came out, I found it a much better game than Wing Commander, simply from the superior gameplay (and I did always want to fly an X-Wing ever since I saw Star Wars). But the characters and other unique things about Wing Commander kept me playing that too.

And as it turns out, X-Wing opened up a whole new Wing Commander experience for me. After three days of playing X-Wing, I had totally destroyed the mouse to our computer. So we replaced that, and also got a joystick for me to use so I wouldn't destroy any more mice - a CH Flightstick, two buttons, nothing fancy, but a nice heavy base and very reliable - I used it for more than 10 years. So once I got the joystick, not only could I play X-Wing with much better controls, I got to go back and experience Wing Commander with a joystick. It made it a whole new game, and I played it more than ever.

Ah...the memories. I still play Wing Commander to this day, though usually via the Kilrathi Saga.
I think it was about the fifth grade before I finally rented it for my Super NES. I had always passed it over for something else that came out recently, and regretted doing so after playing it! It was funny though...the copy I rented had no instruction manual, so I didn't know how to land. I figured out how to eject though, and I did after every mission :p I kept wondering why I only flew the Hornet and Scimitar until the ending, because I knew there were two more fighters to try just from seeing screenshots and reading about them from the in-game dialogue.

The next time I rented a copy, it had a manual and I was able to play out the winning path. It was awesome!...but I wanted more. That Xmas, my dad found Secret Missions for me, also on the SNES. Played it, wanted more! I didn't have a computer though. My dad was thinking about one, but opted for a nice home theatre system instead. This was just after I spotted WC2 in a bundle pack with 9 other games. I was like : O I remember the back of it, too. It showed Blair on the bridge of Caernevorn (how do you spell it?), and a screen of the Broadsword's weapons VDU. I saw...turrets! And three mass drivers! I SO wanted to play it but couldn't! Prophecy came out shortly after, and still no PC, until 1999 when I was a sophomore in high school. What do you think my first games for it were?? :cool:
I was one one the luky ones, with the exception of Wing Commander IV I’ve played all the WC games in the right sequence. Wing Commander entered my life in 91, in the form of a pirated version (I believe that WCI and II never got published here in Portugal). As Loaf, my favorite game back then was SWOtL, but the first time I saw Wing Commander in action it was love at first sight. From then on I’ve tried to buy all WC games, and now I’m the proud owner of an almost complete WC Colection first editions games (God bless Ebay), and the love for Wing Commander never disapeared.

My life as a gamer was influenced by WC. Privateer made me buy a Soundcard, Heart of the Tiger a CD-Rom and Prophecy a new PC all together. I even lost a girfriend for playing way too much Privateer!

This 15 Years were a fun ride, I would do it all again. Long live Wing Commander!
Shooter said:
Wing Commander entered my life in 91, in the form of a pirated version (I believe that WCI and II never got published here in Portugal).

You are wrong. I have bought WC2 here at Braga. :)
15 years man has time flown! I was an old man of 26 in '91 and found Wing Commander in a Best Buy in Mesquite, Texas. I only had a 286 at the time and, as many of you can relate, it started an upgrade frenzy. I have learned more about PC and how to configure them from games than any source hands down.

I had started back to college that spring taking drafting classes. One of the classes I had to take was CAD and we used Autocad 10 at the time. The instructor had Autocad 11 but it would not run on any of his machines in the Computer Lab. I talked him into letting me take apart several machines and assembled them in to one computer that would run his Autocad 11. I was able to do this cause I had upgraded my home computer so much to play Wing Commander.
I have already told the tale of how I got WC1 on the HD of an used 386SX25 my father bought us (my first computer). I had no manual, and had to guess the answers to play. Not that it was difficult... I also already told how Spirit died in the second mission - she kept crashing into the drayman (i didn't know about Autopilot). Those were very cool moments... I will never forget those prompt commands that took me to the Tiger's Claw:


I always longed for those mysterious Secret Missions mentioned on the start Menu... But it would take a few years before I found them, there were nowhere I could buy them here.

I would play WC1 secretly, my father would get angry to know I spent so much time playing and not studying. And I did spend a godless amount of time trying to save the Ralari, or Valkyre, or maybe the Tiger's Claw or even the USO babes.

I was a really awfull player at first, and got stuck at a losing track mission where you had to defend the Claw in a Hornet against a lot of Gratha.

Then I restarted playing, and this time I blased through the winning path. I even got the Ralari home, after the devil knows how many tries. I was never able to save it again.

I cheered when the mopoks defeated the invadind kilrathis, and when the scientists fended the Kat marines.

Then, after dozens of attacks against the Imperial Command Post, I got to see the glorious victory cutscene. I was finally the Wing Commander.

In early 1995 , my father brought from NY a Creative Labs 4X multimedia kit, comprised of a Soundblaster 16 (non PnP!), two speakers and a 4X CD-ROM drive. The software bundle included a disk with Strike Commander CD, Ultima 8, Syndicate and... WC2 Deluxe! I was really happy again! I had to install the damn thing in my sister's 486DX2 66MHz (which my father later bought). Not long afterwards, I spent my entire alowance for that month in a imported WC3.

Then the spell was completed...
Edfilho said:
I will never forget those prompt commands that took me to the Tiger's Claw:


I cheated, with a batch file in a PATHed directory (C:\cave, of course... where else would you expect to find BATs?).

(Of course, this was on a 486DX4/80, so I used the ICD/ICE internal CPU cache toggle program that came on the WC1/2 twinpack CD, when running WC1 or WC2; that plus de-turboing the CPU got me the equivalent of a 386DX/20 system... with 16MB of RAM. :D Unfortunately the mobo for that system was fucked in a way that wouldn't let it do EMS memory quite right, so I could never use it to run WC3, which sucked because that was the game that I used to justify getting a new computer in the first place.)