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

ah, I remember it like it were yesterday. It was the early nineties and I was well into teh ultima games, they were what I wanted to play. My mate John down the road always had the sparkliest new computers cos his dad was a doctor and he had WC2 and a pirate copy of 1. The only password we knew was that maniac was 23. We had loads of fun.

I then went to secondary school in 1994 and used to go into Game and EB on the way home through town. I spotted WC1 on a shelf around that time in the Hit Squad release. It was £10. I never had pocket money. I used to go in there for weeks just looking at the box cos I could never get the money together. I begged my parents and they wouldn't buy it for me. After literally months they cracked and I was allowed the £10 to get it. It was the best day of my life and I played that game to death. I still have the same edition 10 years later.

My dad had a heart attack and had to leave work around that time. He started to get generous and got me WC2, the CD release on the EA Classics label. Once again I was in love. Things just went from there. I will never forget visiting Game every day for months just to look.
Death said:
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.)

I got to make all kinds of .BATs later... The path above is the one I used when I was really n00b. My 386 was really short on RAM and had no audio card, I didn't know about the pilot's hand on the stick thing until I got the 486.

but no game will ever beat ultima7 in the "hard-to-run-with-all-the-bells-and-whistles" competition. I spent hours and hours messing with high and low mem stuff. God Damn Origin and their proprietary EMS managers!!!

But there was nothing cooler than listening to the GUARDIAN in the intro. AVATAR... KNOW THAT A NEW TIME HAS COME...

WC2 was also really picky, but easier to run.

Of course, DOSBOX is close to perfection, all the games with all the eye and ear candy and almost no fuzz.

Climber, I got the HITSQUAD version in London about 10 yrs ago. It is kinda sucky, but at least it is the original WC1 on a CD.
Kilrah said:
Back in 1990 I was 15 years old and used to buy a French magazine called A.C.E., one day there was this article about an upcoming game called Wing Leader that would be fantastic, as they said. It was stated that it could be compared with movies like Star Wars or The Last StarFighter and the TV series Battlestar Galactica. An orchestra arranged the music and the graphics were astonishing. I remember ready the article, watching the screenshots and feeling a sudden need to have it and play it. As more articles were written the name of the game became Wing Commander.
Sorry guys, it wasn’t A.C.E., it’s name was Advanced Computer Entertainment and it wasn't French.
Damn i've spent over half of my life addicted to Wing Commander now thanks to my dad :D
Got it on sale for $20 for my good ol' A500 (which i still have around the house someplace) and was amazed by the level of detail it had and not just the game but the documentation too (anybody else feel ripped off by not getting to see the TCSO show?) and this was all back in '94.
Since then played 'em all at least ten times for good measure and thank god for places like the CIC for keeping the flame alive and the unsung heroes delivering quality mods to keep those joysticks busy.
Wing Commander II was the first game I ever purchased for my first computer after hearing good things about the original. After playing it I wish I'd played the original first to know the characters and storyline better but still the story was deep enough to keep me completely enthralled. Up until that point I'd never really played a game with such an incredible and indepth story except for perhaps a few console RPG's but none of them could stand up to the drama and the maturity of WCII's storyline. It still remains my favorite Wing Commander mostly out of sentimentality.
My first Wing Commander game was Academy. I probably got it in '97 but I don't remember exactly. Anyway my dad and I were at the mall one day (I was probably about 8 at the time) and for whatever reason strolled into the local games store Software Etc. Thy had a cardboard display near the register filled with WC games. I asked my dad about it and he said that he had heard of the game and there were lots of them. Aparrently something in my brain just clicked and I knew I should get one. I picked up Academy figuring academy-training so I should get it first.

Of course being only 7 a few of the finer points of the game (like quitting after a mission without leaving the game) took awhile for me to pick up. I do however credit WCA and WC:KS to be the best tools for teaching kids to read though since I read the manuels enough to destroy them.

Anyway a few years (and hundreds of Kilrathi) later we wandered into Best Buy one afternoon and saw on the first shelf facing the entrance all of the WC games upto WCIV I immediatley rushed over and picked Kilrathi Saga since it had 3 games in it.

This time the only thing I needed to master was landing (I ejected the first few missions) but man was it great. I remember how great I felt as I took out my first Dorkir, my rage at the Kilrathi, the joy of freeing Confed planets. It was great.

Well eventually I got to WCII. I remember debating with my dad if Hobbes was the traitor (my logic he always scratched the card table clearly he was trying to make us waste money on tables instead of missles while my dad was suspicous of him since he thought he was named after Hobbes from Calvin and Hobbes.) I was amazed to find that it was in fact Jazz and to this day he remains at the top of my most hated character list. It was also the game that introduced us to Tolwyn, my other most hated guy. I despided everything about him and would frequently insult his hair when he was dressing me down for ejecting or something else I did.

Finally WCIII, to tell the truth my least favorite. It didn't have the same twisting dogfight intensity anymore and there were too many captital ships. Still I remember Rachel's sting when I choose Flint over her (later I tricked them both by never talking to them) I was sure Tolwyn was the traitor right until Hobbes killed Cobra HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO BLIND! Still I continued and destroyed Kilrah which still seemed a rather shallow victory.

So here's thanks WC for giving me more fun than any series and hoping you have another 15 years.
Sorry for my bad english.

I had first look WC in 1996. In this time I have 35 years old. Bat I play my favorite game today. In russia it was a most popular game series. It is a great fan with my life. And books and film and so so on.

Now i have all WC series including Standoff and new (in my collection) WC 4 DVD HRs.

My friends have a question. Chris Roberts have a new company. Wat a plans do you know? In Russia its most popular teme in forums and press.

ThanKs fo assistance.

Best regards virpilots.
I started playing WC about 4 months after it hit the shelves. I was 15 at the time and even then, games weren't cheap... but my father was when it came to my allowance.

I'd been trying to think of a way to get some cash to buy it when I went over to my friend's house and, lo and behold, there he was playing it on his machine! (No joystick, by the way... flying just with his keyboard!) Next to him was a piece of paper with the words "Mass Driver: 3000" written on it. Next to that was another sheet that said "Laser Cannon" and had lots of crossed out numbers on it. (He'd copied it from someone else and was guessing at the copy protection questions.)

Well, the next thing that happened was he bought himself a cheap joystick and sometimes we'd play as a team. I'd run the keyboard and he'd do the actual piloting. (We did that playing F-19 a lot too!)

Later, when WC2 came out, he went and bought that and we continued playing.

Seems like my experiences with the first 3 games were at other peoples' houses. I did end up buying WC3 through WCP for myself, though. (Cause I could afford to finally!)

Ahhh the good ol' days.
I wish I'd gotten into Wing Commander sooner, but too many factors kept that from happening. My first experience with the series was when my brother rented the WC port for Super Nintendo. I thought it was a really cool game, but I was also a pretty dumb kid so I had no idea there was a PC version.

Years later we got Wing Commander III.....for Macintosh. :( There were two problems with this, one being that our Macs weren't powerful enough to handle the game very well, and the other being that the game wasn't as easy as the SNES version, so I had a hard time getting into it.

Four years ago I built a PC and I have been trying to catch up on all the awesome games I missed. Wing Commander has probably been one of the harder goals to persue, but at least I've finally gotten to see what the game was really supposed to be like. When I replayed the SNES version on emulators it occured to me just how incomplete the game felt, and I was pleased to learn that a lot of my assumptions about the PC version were true. I really wish someone would update these games for modern PCs so that I can play them the way they were meant to be played.
First TIme

wow, i remember my first time playing wing commander. My dad had brought home an IBM XT pc for us to fool around with back in 91, upgraded with a VGA graphics card, and *gasp* a mouse (which i could never get to work in WC), running i believe MSdos 3.3. I had been fiddling around with BASIC, learned DOS, enjoyed the paint program that came with my mouse, called "DR. Halo" and then got into gaming with a little something called "commander keen".

After that we got a 386/66 with a little more ram and decided to go get some more interesting stuff :

i decided to go down with my dad to the local electronic boutique (now eb games, soon to be gamestop) and we looked through the very few games that were actually runnable on my little computer system. i ended up picking two, Wing Commander, and Megatraveller 2. Both of them were scifi games with interesting looking graphics.

And you know as a kid, you used to sit there and stare at the box art for minutes and minutes at a time, taking in every little detail. These two games, especially wing commander caught my attention. I still remember the image of the dralthi flying across the box, it completely captured my imagination. they were both on sale at the time, and he bought both for me, and off we went home.

In the car i opened up Wing Commander, the sheer detail of the claw marks guide was amazing. The whole thing just felt so real. It was like real people and real ships. I got home that night and proceeded to install wing commander, once it was running. i dont think i stopped playing it until 1am that night. I was sucked in from the very first second. I ran through every mission, demanding flying perfection from myself just to make sure my wingman got home alive. To this day i can still remember finishing that last mission. the original wing commander was truly an incredible game. i just finished it again playing the kilrathi saga disc.

When wing commander II came out, i bought it immediately, only to my dismay to find that my pc was too slow to play it correctly. i had to wait a few months but an upgraded pc came and i played and finished that as well. then i delved into X-wing also, which while good, didnt have that same feeling that a wing commander game gave me.

Man those were great times. i wont even get into III and IV and privateer I and II, i miss those days of gaming. chris roberts really needs to save us from the misery of todays game industry. The last time i had even a VAGUELY wing commander-esque feeling playing a video game was playing the original Metal Gear Solid. and even that was a long time ago.
The year was 1995. I had just gotten my first computer the christmas before (and spent several months getting it to work right - AT&T was a crap brand). During the intervening period, I spent my days familiarizing myself with the including game bundles - including classics like Jetfighter, Links LS, Lemmings, and ... erm, Megarace.

I was also becoming gradually aware of the existance of other games. The year before, in Disneyland, I had gotten my first glimpse of Star Wars when I rode the "Star Tours" ride, with all its 70s-era kitsch, and dug my dad's VHS of A New Hope out of the VCR cabinet. Now, being a six-year old proto-geek, I naturally wanted to fly an X-Wing badly, but a visit to the local Computer City revealed "joystick required". So instead, I bought Rebel Assault. Doh.

But I still wanted to fly spaceships. One of the first books I'd ever read was "I Want To Be An Astronaut" in preschool, and I had a little toy space shuttle I'd fly around. My dad bought me a copy of Expert Astronomer, and I watched the videos of Al Shepard's launch and the Saturn V in a state of moderate awe. I must have watched the Apollo-Soyuz video dozens of times, marvelling at how strange the Americans sounded (I didn't learn until later that it was actually the Russians, which accounted for the accents.)

But I digress. My passion at an all-time high, I finally persuaded my reluctant parents to buy me a joystick, and one day we all headed off to Costco to buy a two-button Gravis. Included was "Wing Commander II: Vengence of the Kilrathi". I had no idea what that was, but the pictures were cool.

After a hasty memory upgrade (had about four megs less than I needed), I loaded up the game for the first time. I still remember watching the Origin FX splash sequence, unaware that my life was about to be changed forever.

So yeah, I fell in love.

The rest of my first-grade year (what a young pup I am) was a whirlwind of staying up late to play Wing2 (under the justification that I couldn't save mid-mission), decorating my school folders with cockpits and pretending me and my friends were fighter pilots.

I think Wing Commander had a bigger influence on me as a pre-adolescent then anything else, and the fact that I got into it before all of its influences like SW and WWII only made it more lustrous. During "journal time" I'd instead write long epic fanfiction about flying with Hobbes, create my own "Victory Streaks" out of scrap paper, and paint watercolors of fighters in action. For my friend's ninth birthday, I drew a BWS Intrepid card.

Oddly enough, though the whole reason I bought WCII in the first place was because of the joystick, I've never played it with one. All through the mid-nineties, and later when I finished the game, was with a mouse.
15 years? Hell, that's almost my half life.

ok, let's see, 1st WC..... that must have been around '93.
I remember it startet all with my first PC (a 486 / 33mhz) and X-Wing. That game was some kind of dream come true.
Fly a spacefighter, a dream I had since I was a kid an watched Star Trek, Space 1999 and Captain Future (and made my parents made with that *g*).
Well after I was done with X-Wing I wanted more and by gubing at the Virgin Megastore I found WC 1.
To be honest, I wasn't very brim over with enthusiasm when I read the infos on the box and some backdated gamemags. It was an game that use only 2D BMP as Fighermodels, and since X-Wing I was addicted to an higher techlevel with polygonmodels ans so, but is was a spacecombatsim and that had to be enough.
Well, my mind changed quickliy after the fist runs. OK the techlevel was below X-Wing (I even had to clock down my PC to 8mhz to play it) but the gameplay was just WOW. Cutscenes showing everyone, even the player, telling a real story that changed bywhat you wher doing out ther in combat and and and.....
As soon as I gut the money I got myself the Seceret Missions and WC2 (witch were all catching dust in the store).

Well, the rest is history
First release of Privater saw my first addiction to WC. Wing Commander 1, 2, and 3 followed suite pretty quick. I didn't have a computer then, so my time consisted of sitting next to my cousin as he piloted his Galaxy around Gemini sector blowing up Drayman's and tractoring in their scrap. As his "co-pilot" when he switched to a turret position I took over. Likewise I could move and do comms for him when we needed to land or just taunt our enemy.

From there I got all the games and played them on my old P166, that is, when my family finally got our first computer. Privater was my long time favorite, and still is. There on I entered the RPG scene, being a member of the Aces, and later a member of the WCRPG splinter. (I've since changed names.)

Privater remains where my true love for the genre lay, though my passion for it all is unmatched today despite many good games to follow in the past 15 years.
I remember the first time I ever saw a Wing Commander game very clearly. It was my second day at University. 28th September 1993.
I'd met a girl the first night and the next morning she introduced me to the people who had the rooms either side of hers. One had his own PC. I was pretty impressed by this as the closest things I had to computers were a knackered old spectrum for games, and an even older BBC-B which I was using to type essays on.
He had a game on there which I still have on my hard drive today. And that was Wing Commander 2. He had the 8bit soundblaster and showed me the intro scenes with Thrakath's speech. After that it was just pure love.
The girl I'd met lasted about two weeks, although we stayed friends throughout our Uni life. WC2 has stayed with me forever. :)

After the Christmas Holidays, so about 5th January 1994 my Dad's school was upgrading it's PCs and he got me an old 386 that was being skipped. I took it to a computer place and handed them lots of money for bits and advice and built my first PC right there on their counter. We started just before lunch and we finished about a half hour after they had closed the shop. It was a 486dx with 4mb RAM and 2 hard disks. One was 40mb with dos and windows on, the other was 360mb and was about half of the build costs. I had a 1mb VLB video card, a SB16 with the panasonic interface feeding a 2x CD drive.
That evening I set it up on the dining room table at home and installed WC2 for the very first time. I had a deluxe edition with WC1, 2 and all the add-ons. I just sat there watching the intro in lovely 16bit stereo, loving every minute of it.

I remember my first joystick was a 3d Logic Tornado. It was cheap but great, and looked the part. It was also short lived. I got through three of them in a year, but I also got through both Wing Commanders. I remember friends oooo-ing and aaa-ing at Rebel Assault because it looked pretty, but it was always WC2 that kept me up until 4 in the morning.

When WC3 was released I scrimped, saved and borrowed. I remember begging for more money for my birthday. I still remember to this day handing over £140 ($200?) for a 4mb stick of RAM so I could run it. I used to click launch and then go and make a coffee, the loading time was about 15 minutes!!!!! But then the gameplay was such love.

I lived off potato and toast for a fortnight so I could treat myself to a Thrustmaster FCS joystick when my 3rd crappy one died. Suddenly I was twice the pilot. It wasn't Christopher Blair in that cockpit anymore, I was in control.

My housemate would sit up just watching me play. The final night when we were approaching Kilrah and that final run in the Excalibur to win the game, we must have stayed up until 6 in the morning. He just kept saying "Stay cool, you can do this!". I remember him making me pause the game and go down to the 24hour shop to get more cigarettes so I could have a break and stay focussed. We watched the end-scenes in total silence, and just sat there all the way through the credits until the final bit where Tom Wilson says "isn't that the guy from StarWars?". When the music died away and we exited back to DOS we realised we both had tears streaming down our cheeks and we couldn't work out if it was because we were so happy to have got there, or so sad it was over. <sniff>

I've watched people play x-wing like it was addictive. I've seen people play Quake online for 12 hours solid. I've even got a guy working for me who spends 30 minutes in MS Flight Sim 2004 setting the autopilot, plotting his course and doing pre-flight checks before he even leaves the ground! But none of them have become the stuff of dreams. All you've got to do is close your eyes let the computer screen just melts away and you're in that hornet, that ferret, that arrow, and you just reach out, hit tab, feel the afterburners kick in, and watch the stars slide by.

Here's to another 15 years.
I came pretty late into the WC series, got WCP as my first game when I was young. Liked it at first, but eventaully I grew tired of one-sided battles with aliens who are no challenge at all. WC1-4 got me hooked up again tho.
hah, how come i missed this thread? :D

When I first saw wing commander, I was 5 years old. My father got a copy of WC1. At that age I was mostly whatching my father play, and sometimes going for a drive with Test Drive, or going Indiana Jones.

I had no idea of languages of course, so the characters speaking and such wasn't very interesting. You couldn't fly around just for fun. So I didn't really liked it at first. I rather played Elite. It was nice and simple.

One day, a friend of my father visited us, and I wanted to show off the games and how great pilot I was, so I loaded up Elite, shot the base, and started to fight with the "police" ships. That was the moment when my father told me to play WC instead, cause its a much more interesting game. I sat down, and started fighting missions. I remember that I was flying something with a brown cockpit, with an oval window (?), and about 6 Dralthys (the ones that look like that, anyway) were coming. From then, I was hooked.
I still remember the moments when you'r waiting for a torp lock on a capship. That different music is playing, you hit the burners, start rolling to avoid fire, and pray, heart pounding... Man, those were the good ol' times.
Than came WC2 of course (both 1 and 2 pirated :( they were Not distributed after the first release, so I couild never get a "cheap copy". Well, as far as I remember they were not distributed at all, till 1992 ), and than 3, and 4. Both in original boxes. Wc3 was a bit hard to get used to first. I still lacked english knowladge, so I didn't allways understand the goals. So I ended up on the loosing path many times. I let my father play it trhough. Though later, I played it through myself. I mostly learned english from WC3 and WC4. Mostly 4.
I like WC4 the most. The actors, the story, the ships... I play it through every year since. It's a tradition.

I got WC:P for Christmas, allthough there were no pieces available for sale in our country at that time. I got it off one of the shop workers in a game-store. They had an evaluation copy to test it, with the new Hungarian box as well. It means that the box only had the 3 cds in one cd case in it, but no manual, or any aditional material. This was due to the fact that the translation of the origianl documentation didn't finish on time. The worse part of it is that its still not finished, and the original english-boxed version was never ever distributed here. As Wing Commader grew smaller, as other type of games ruled. No one wated to import such a game for those few fanatics :( So, I still don't have anything ecept for the 3 discs about WC:P.
Allthough I never really wanted to, I'll never accept WC:P as part of the WC universe.
I forgot to mention Privateer, wich was (is) the best space-trade-sim ever. For me, anyway. I kept maps and pricelists and such notes :D, allthough those got lost a few years ago due to moveing.
Only game I miss I never played from the WC sereies is the Privateer2.
I had Academy and Armada also, but for me they only served their original porpous, wich was to keep the players interested while waiting for the next release.
My 1st time was when I was young (can't remember how old) and my dad was raving about it and made me play it. I didnt like the difficulty and my dad got rid of it:mad: But the pcg classic games collection gave me a chance to play it when I was able to fly and shoot decently and I've been a fan ever since.
Let's see here... I was about 12 or 13... probably 13...

Went over to a friend's house, and he was playing this "really cool Star Wars ripoff game! It even has the guy from Star Wars!!" And it's good to mention that I didn't have an IBM computer, I was still only getting to play Zork type games on my Atari ST. Well, I wanted to play this game really badly!! So, he sat me down and had me do the simulator... after about 5 minutes worth of waiting for it to load, I got to play it. For about 30 seconds before my mom came up and told me we had to go home. A couple months later, my dad bought a new computer, and he said "Want any new games?" and I will always remember how Wing Commander 3 was the first game that popped into my mind! WC3 was pretty much my first game, really. Even though 4 is my favorite, 3 will always have a huge place in my heart for getting me into all of this. :)

I am now 23, and have WC 1, 2, 3, 4, and Prophecy. The Privateer games I didn't know of (at least from a WC standpoint), so I never got those. I'll also always remember having my whole family go with me to see the WC movie opening weekend. It was great!!! I think my dad only went so he could see the Star Wars Ep. 1 trailer, but he ended up loving the WC movie! But no matter how hard I tried, he wouldn't play the games. :P My mom and sister just went along because they both had a thing for Freddie & Lillard. :P
I was a little younger then LOAF when I had my first Wing Commander experience. I was probably around the age of seven when our local Costco opened. My mom, younger sister, and I were walking around taking a look at the place thinking it was pretty cool sense we live in a small town that was at the time without the large chain stores like Target. Anyways they had a few huge cardboard boxes of video games out not to far from the entrance due to the fact they haven't had a chance to put shelves up for them yet. Being the kid who grew up learning computers and being taught things like DOS and Basic at a very young age I had a love for video games. My favorite ones were old side scrolling space shooters like Major Stryker and Raptor, so naturally when I found a box with a large Dralthi and the image of space cannons firing i was interested.
After buying it with the very little allowance I had, I took it home and installed it immediately. I remember reading the manual and like LOAF adored it. Sense I grew up drawing and painting; I spent countless hours drawing the schematics over and over again.
Needless to say it became my all time favorite game and I fell in love with it. Later, they moved our local KB-Toy's to our mall and my sisters was looking around at the toys inside. I was bored sitting outside in tell I glanced over at a small rack of games they had near the entrance. I thought "Hey, who knows...maybe I'll find something decent" and walla!!!! WC2/Expansions!
When I was around 14 or 15 roughly our Staples opened up and we all went over to get some school supplies and also near the door at the time was two shelves of computer software and I found WC3 for the first time.

Basically new stores opening and software by entrances has brought me good luck at stumbling across WC. :D
Terrashok, your story about WC3 is awesome. I can definitely relate to moments like that. Very cool.

My first immersion into the WC universe was when WC3 came out, I got a new computer and that game that day. I didn't know what WC was at all, but my buddy Dave told me it was cool. I mainly wanted it because it had Mark Hammill in it and I loved XWing and it looked like XWing kinda.

So I played it for the first time and went nuts. I loved it. It was like playing a movie. It was just truly an incredible game to play and a great time for me. I played it so many times just to see the movie scenes, but I loved the gameplay, too, I really got into it.

When I found out another WC was coming out, I flipped out. WC4 came out around Valentine's Day, I recall, and my mom owned a flower shop then, and I had gotten the game the night before the big day I guess, and I told my mom, "LIsten, you're gonna be busy all day, you won't have time to take me to school or pick me up, so just let me stay home." And she agreed. And from the moment she left, at like six or seven in the morning, I played the game. I played it straight through the day until about 10 or 11. I was completely in it. I was in that game. I cried with Vagabond died. I went crazy when Blair pulls a Luke Skywalker and infilrates the bad guy's station. I played that game so damn quickly. It still is my favorite game of all time. The gameplay is excellent and the storyline is really quite beyond any other video game I've ever played.

Then WCP came out and...it was cool, and good, but...different. Different bad. I liked the game a lot, yeah, but I missed playing Blair and I hated that Blair was left in the shadows and be all creepy and such. It just rubbed me the wrong way.

I tried to get into Privateer 2 but it just didn't appeal to me much.

I was so hoping that another WC game would come out and Blair would be the main guy, but it seems like it's pretty much beyond that from occurring. But I would be sure to take a day off of work if it ever did happen.

I read the books, played the games so many times, that I truly wanted to be in that world, that universe with the friends I'd made. I used to stay up at night just imagining life on the Victory and such. What I'd say to Vagabond and Maniac and such, who I'd hit on...<sigh> Good times.