EA Replay -- On the Way

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Replay is just three days away! It's been a few years since we had a commercial release... are you excited, WingNuts?

I can't wait to relive the Vega Campaign in handheld form!

If anyone has any neato celebratory art -- pictures, music, good words, etc., let us know so we can have it in the news on Tuesday.

Slowly but surely, Wing Commander is coming back! Three cheers for Electronic Arts!
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I wrote an 'EA Replay Eve' LiveJournal entry and then decided it didn't fit the audience... so here it is, in all its fanatical sentiments:

--

I thought it fitting to compose a few words on the morning before EA Replay, an attempt to capture the odd whistfulness and unadulterated hopefullness passing through my conscience at this time. Those uninterested in Wing Commander and all its pecularities should read no further.

Soldiers, Sailors and Spacemen of the Alliance Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Vega Campaign, towards which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world... etc, In all seriousness, EA Replay comes out this week. I would be lying if I said I expected it to be the most major Wing Commander news this year, but it is an important turning point none the less.

I am very excited - WingNuts deserve this, and more. Many people have never really appreciated the quirks and changes of the SNES ports. How I relish the thought that the Chat Zone should soon come alive with arguments about extra Ventures, green Salthi and the "Blue Angels". And oh, how great do I envy those who are about to experience the extra introduction and the extended takeoff scene of The Secret Missions once again.

My PSP, entirely unused since its extravegent purchase in September, will soon join Prophecy GBA as part of my everyday kit. When I discuss Wing Commander with passers by, as I often do, I will now be able to flash them the greatest example of the series at a moments notice.

Fans can relive the classic wherever they go -- talk to Paladin on the bus, tangle with Krant in the park. What's more, they can show Electronic Arts that there is a strong interest in the series. I dream, hopefully, of a Replay in every pot and two in every garage. As Namco has rebranded Galaga and Pole Position across the world, so too might EA with their set of new classics. Let us see the package for the 360 Arcade, the Wii Virtual Console, the Nintendo DS and the PS3. Who can help but be amused at the thought of plugging one of those stand-alone game controllers into their television and enjoying Wing Commander?

I remember quite vividly my first experience with the SNES Wing Commander. When I was in middle school, years ago, the video store had a rental copy of The Secret Missions. My family never owned a Nintendo, and I had not yet become a connoisseur of subtle port differences... but oh, how that box art amazed me. Mindscape had comissioned a beautiful new painting for the Secret Missions, showing a Hornet locked in combat with a Jalthi. The picture alone was a new Wing Commander adventure, and I went out of my way to admire it whenever I could. Soon after, I paid one of my brother's friends $5 - a fortune, at the time - for a tiny folded poster of the image. I still have it, worn and weary, all these years later.

I would go on to do a lot with the SNES ports over the years. it was the first Wing Commander game I ever emulated, after being careful to buy my own cartridges -- my own odd morality for that one series alone. I was in awe at the unexpected introduction to SM, and the mention of "Warhammer" continues to be a favorite trivia question. Then, of course, there were all the tiny little differences in the manual... and all the oddity and intricate planning of the memory-saving Salthi/Jalthi swap. It was a strange and exciting trip, and one I sincerely hope upon anyone who picks up Replay for the first time.

I was amazed by box art again in 2002, when I learned that the Japanese Super Famicom release of the game had an even more intricate new design with it. That discovery would lead to quite a few adventures in the used Japanese gaming market, and would lead me to discover some half dozen odd ports that the community never knew existed. I got to know, through e-mail, the man who produced WC for the SNES at Mindscape -- like the vast majority of developers, a kind gentleman more than willing to answer an old fan's obscure questions.

Then, of course, there is Wing Commander 2 SNES. Perhaps the most interesting lost video game in history -- developed in-house at Origin, boasting an entirely new engine and updated graphics... but shippsed off to Japan and never released. I've lead several crusades over it in recent years, and have put together a wealth of information... and even formed good friendships with most of the men who worked on the project. No one has the game itself... but how can I help but pray that it still exists in a vault somewhere, ready to be included in some future Replay collection? I went so far as to contact the current team with this information, in the hopes that they will somehow find it.

So, let us end SNES memory lane right there. We will have fun activities and similar bits of trivia all day tomorrow at the CIC... and hopefully everyone will be able to pick up EA Replay in stores on Wednesday. If anyone you know has a PSP, the game will make an amazing and affordable gift... and even if you don't have the handheld and don't want to buy the game just to show your colors, can you resist at least going to the mall and staring at such a thing -- the classic Wing Commander logo on a store shelf once again.
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
I disagree. The audience for that LJ entry is perfect - as we all read that for LOAF, which happens to go hand in hand with all things Wing Commander.
 

powell99

Aviation Junkie
What EA Replay means to me?

EA Replay is something important for many reasons. It allows me to relive one of my favorite childhood memories in a neat hand held package, and more importantly it gives me hope that a new Wing Commander Game will be released in the near future. EA Replay means that there is a wider interest in the Wing Commander games outside of our fair little community. EA Replay is a reward for all of us loyal Wing Commander fans who watched the decline of the Space Sim Genre and waited for a new Wing Commander game. It’s the special sort of treat that not many internet communities get. We’re lucky to have EA Replay, and we should all enjoy every savory moment of gameplay that it offers.
 

matthew954

Spaceman
What EA Replay means to me

EA Replay means that we all have hope of a possible new Wing Commander game in the not too distant future. I played a video store rental copy of the Super Nintendo edition of Wing Commander. Needless to say I fell in love with the game. The story and characters were all great. I had rented the game so many times that the one clerk actually told me that no one else has rented the same game over and over again so many times before. About 2 years or so later I had a chance to borrow a friends copy of The Secret Missions. It was nice having some new experiences with Wing Commander, I had played the previous game so much I pretty much had the whole game memorized.

I had only rented and borrowed those two Super nintendo games for a good while until they had released Prophecy Gold for PC. i had gotten to experience the series at a whole new level with full cinema cutscenes. At the time Prophecy and Secret Ops were my hard core favorites, until I managed to acquire both Wing Commander 3 and 4. Prophecy and Heart of the Tiger had great stories to them but The Price of Freedom had me one hundred percent hooked. Other than the super nintendo version of Wing Commander 1, there hasnt been a wing comander game that I have picked up and played through multiple times. The fourth game has without a doubt the greatest story and group of actors and characters.

My favorite game character has always been Mega Man, but my favorite game series will always be Wing Commander. EA Replay Means that one day I may be playing a whole new Wing commander game, wheter its on the PC, or on the new game consoles.
 
What EA Replay means to me

When I first saw the news update, announcing EA Replay, I was stunned. For a while, I thought EA had totally forgotten about Wing Commander. Not anymore. Every day I visit the CIC and EA, to see if there are any announcements about a new Wing Commander game being made.

What does EA Replay mean to me? It makes me want to play Wing Commander and its Secret Missions to try to memorize it, and see if there are any differences between the PC port, and the PSP port. I feel as if EA wants to breathe new life into my favorite game series. Now, once I am able to get EA Replay, I can show my friends what Wing Commander is, on the fly. Explaining to them how this series changed gaming.

Thank you EA, you have given us more hope with EA Replay.
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
The first time I played a Wing Commander game, I was a freshman in High School. A friend of a friend who's name I forget lent it to me. I was mostly new to PC gaming at that time - I grew up with a NES that was kept at my grandparents and a Game Boy I had to more or less sneak around with for two years.

The box was just big enough to fit in my backpack and I read the manual from cover to cover through most of my classes (I was always a poor student). I couldn't believe what I had been missing all these years - of course I had X-Wing but nothing came close to these screenshots. This was a major Hollywood movie, just like the box demanded repeatedly.

We had just gotten a custom built 486/80 that had a really powerful Soundblaster 16 card and a Diamond graphics card. It took a try or two to set the installation right - I was impatient, okay? - and from that moment on, I was hooked. Wing Commander was my first gaming love. Sure, I had other games I really enjoyed before that but nothing ever got it's talons into me like that opening cinematic.

Despite one bump in the road (I couldn't figure out I had to take out the tankers at the end of Disc 1), I blew through the game more or less quickly. I kept the game for months though, simply replaying the levels over and over and over.

Wing Commander set the bar so high, that all other fight sims seemed to be a crude joke. I barely bothered with Descent, stopped playing Terminal Velocity and uninstalled Fury3. Sure, I still had TIE Fighter, but that was more for simple variety than anything else. As good as that gameplay was, it didn't allow me the ability to watch my character interact in a dramatic storyline of such quality.

And ten years later, and I still whistle George Oldziey's music when I'm on the highway.

Like an old name or a good song, things come back to you on a whim. Our generation is starting to understand nostalgia, we're finally coming into our own. Wing Commander hasn't had an "original" release in quite some time, yet here we are still talking about it. A hundred television shows have passed into obscurity since 1990; fads, music, fashion and slang have come and left and somehow Wing Commander hasn't. Dated, perhaps - but not gone by any means.

The longevity of the series is astounding. Every other console series - Mario, Zelda, Sonic - they all get games every couple years, and they're done with great care and understanding that they have a fandom to maintain and quality to uphold.

Wing Commander? We held out for five years to get Prophecy on the Gameboy Advanced and another three years to get the original game on the PSP. Is there another saga in gaming history that has such silence but maintains such a vibrant fan base? It goes beyond the CIC and the Chat Zone; the nostalgia each of us has is now also the nostalgia of game programmers and movie makers. Our generation that made Wing Commander big is now making things for it's self and it seems like we're getting our chance to renew that contract we signed when we strapped into that fighter in Enyo.

So, this is it then. EA Replay is proof that the fan base is alive beyond our walls. That people remember that great gaming is now what it was back in 1990. That we, as Wingnuts, have won. We've succeeded where many others have failed.
 

Mincemeat

Doomsday's Neighbour
I'm not a PSP owner, but I'll be watching the release of the "EA Replay" compilation closely.

While PSP owning fans of the classic games would undoubtably queue in line to buy it, I'm somewhat deterred by the price tag (in New Zealand anyway), and my need to actually buy a piece of equipment destined for little use.

However, the compilation includes my favourite space-shooter - thus piquing my interest as a minor Wing Commander collector.

If I ever find a frequent, practical use of a PSP unit (like I have done for my iPod), then "EA Replay" will definitely be on my shopping list.

But until then, I'll simply enjoy the reactions of fans and critics alike in these forums.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
14 lines for 14 games... ( An EA Replay Sonnet)

Awake, I lay here so expectantly
a palming renaisance is near at hand
comfort in sleep a fleeting memory
The current generations games are bland

Usher, universal media disc!
Send forth waves upon the sea of gamers
Their eyes shall see the folly and the risk
entropy of design does meet players

Yet Electronic Arts has lit a flare
a beacon of hope Replay aims toward
A reminder of it's creators care
Let our victory spur others forward?

Mankind is still locked in a deadly war…
The near future will need me one time more
 

Dran

Nothing is written here
A little more than 100 Characters, guess I got carried away :)

My first encounter with Wing Commander was a purchase at the local bookstore down the street; I bought it home and never tried to install it. A competition was later held at the same bookstore where they were giving away different prizes depending on how far you got into the game. It was my first exposure to the game, and I died in my first encounter with the asteroid fields. I was a little pissed, but I got a free t-shirt anyway. After the competition I went straight home, and installed the program. It was a pretty trying installing as I had to delete so many other programs just to get the 10 MB’s free. Later when I purchased WC III, I decided to play the whole series from begging to end. I ended up repurchasing the deluxe versions of WC, and WCII. It was my first encounter with WC I. I loved flying the Kilrathi ship in the Secret Missions, and getting the back stories on Manic, Paladin, and Angel. Since that time I have played and beaten all the Wing Commander games with the exception of Privateer. I haven’t played WC I in it’s entity since that time. With the release of EA Replay, my excitement is mounting. I bought the PSP about a year ago to combat my boredom on my frequent trips to NY, and R.I. With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up I have many of these trips to deal with, and EA Replay is coming to the rescue. I look forward while on my long train rides, and bus rides killing cats, and maybe playing some of the story lines I have not seen yet. It is my hope that we will be seeing some of the other WC games released onto the PSP, and maybe, just maybe a new Wing Commander game. Before the release of EA Replay, my hopes in the release of any Wing Commander game had totally diminished. I had been left feeling pretty sure another one would not be seen in my lifetime. Chris Roberts had moved on to making and producing movies, Origin, and Digital Anvil had been dismantled, and things were looking pretty grim. I am not to sure what the motivations of the release are, and if the port will actually be good. I played the SNES version, and found the controls pretty difficult with the old digital SNES controller. The steering seemed pretty choppy, and the button combinations did not always work for me. The game ended up collecting dust, and later sold for $5.00. With the PSP, a(n) analog controller will be used, which may make the game easier to play for old joystick jocks like myself. At some time I would like WCII re-released. To me this is probably the best in the series. Maybe because it was my first introduction into the series, but I have a tendency to think it was because of the story line. For me one of the most touching things to me in the story was Hobbes. I did not really like his character in the begging viewing him as a Kilrathi and all, but as the storyline developed he won me over with his flying, and character. I grew very attached to all the characters in WCII, and was especially surprised in WC III to his defection. In the end I would like to thank EA for giving me a version of WC that I will be able to play anywhere and easily. Keep them coming, we’ll be ready to pick up our PSP’s and be transported back to the days of our youth and the lush Wing Commander Universe.
 

maniac89

I love Wing Commander: Prophecy
What EA Replay means to me...

After years of despair that EA wasn't going to make a new Wing Commander game, and the fact that Origin shut down, I lost all hope that there was EVER going to be a new WC game. But then after I heard they were making Privateer 3/Privateer Online, I got eccentric. But after two failed attempts with a new Privateer game, I started to really lose hope. But then EA Replay came.

Once I heard the news of a WC game coming to my PSP, and they were DEFINETLY making it, all that hope came back to me. The thought of taking Wing Commander anywhere I wanted, got me pretty excited. My first thought about this was, "I hope to God people will buy this so they will make more of these!"

So what EA Replay means to me, is that maybe this will be a sign to EA that people still love Wing Commander out there, and want to see more of it.
 

Flojomojo

Patron of the Nerdly Arts
Wing Commander was the first game I've ever played that came even close to the depth and visceral thrills of a space dogfight as seen in Star Wars. I didn't have a PC, and the Macintosh version was several years off ... but I managed to snag a cheap copy of the DOS version to play at the 386 I was using at work. That machine had no sound card or joystick, but the colorful, pseudo-3D graphics were great and my ship controlled just fine with a mouse. I had all of the paper goodies from the box to amuse myself as well. Nobody makes game extras like the "Claw Marks" magazine anymore.

Naturally, I snagged the Super Nintendo version as soon as it came out. While the graphics and controls weren't nearly as good as those on the PC, it was a different experience on the big screen with loud orchestral music.

Now it's coming out again, this time with the SNES version on PSP. It will be cheap, bundled with other games, and won't require tweaking AUTOEXEC.BAT files, but part of me wishes it was the best of both worlds: the ease of use of the SNES version, plus the technical specs of the DOS version.

I suppose that's the price you pay for having an interstellar war in your pocket!
 

Bob McDob

Better Health Through Less Flavor
The first computer I ever had came when I was six. Six marked something of a watershed in the development of my interests—it was the age at which I first saw Star Wars, and my interest in World War II aviation was sparked around that time as well by a Discovery Channel Wings documentary on TBF Avenger torpedo bombers. So I guess it turned out that by the time I started gaming I displayed all the trappings of a proto-Wingnut.

Fast-forward to a few weeks later. My family was at Costco, and I was there with them, based on an ad in the paper reading JOYSTICK SALE. The joystick in question was a simple enough affair—Gravis, black, one trigger and two buttons—but there were two bundles, each with a seperate game.

One was Wing Commander. The other was Wing Commander II.

Looking back, I don't know what made me choose the second package. Probably it was because it was the first one I saw, or maybe there actually were differences between the joysticks that I just don't remember. What matters is that it was the one I got. And that was enough.

Wing2 was the first game that I ever became truly involved in. Despite my terrible piloting abilities (finishing the first mission by way of ejecting, for instance), I managed to get the gist of the story by using the cheat codes included with the game to skip around. I stayed up late past my bedtime on more than one occasion by persuading my mom that I "had to finish this mission", and when that excuse wasn't enough I put the game on pause while I was at school. There I would decorate my folders with Arrow cockpits and sketch designs of my own creation. Playground games turned away from Power Rangers-style wrestling (much to the relief of concerned teachers); instead, we became space fighter-jocks, dueling under the trees and on the fields. The first time I ever really got in trouble at school was when I told a classmate to "go to hell." Guess where I got that idea from?

I quite literally grew up with Wing Commander. And yet, years after my initial foray into the series, I had never played the original—didn't even own a copy. It was something I longed to do, but in that time before eBay and Amazon.com couldn't find a way of doing.

Then came the June 2000 issue of PC Gamer, and with it the original game on disc.

In some ways you could consider that disc a precursor to EA Replay—twelve games, a fourth of it practically "Origin Replay" (Wing Commander *and* Ultima I AND Ultima Underworld!) To be perfectly honest, though, I never gave most of the other games a second thought—it was Wing Commander I wanted, and it was Wing Commander I got. For the first time I really saw the original Tiger's Claw; not as a hapless target doomed to be destroyed in a few seconds, but a powerful, magnificent warship. Shotglass, Bossman, Knight, Hunter—they were all just names to me before, but now I had faces for them. Now it was the landing theme, not Oldziey's original compositions, that I hummed to the annoyance of my peers.

So I guess that on the most personal level, this is what EA Replay is: a return to that moment six years ago when I went back to the 'Claw for the very first time.

But what does it mean to me as a fan?

Some time ago I dug out my old copy of Wing Commander II for the first time in years, reinstalled it and played it all the way through. A few things struck me: how the cartonishness of the graphics seem remarkably dimmed when you're playing the game, the almost joust-like feel of combat ("pseudo-Newtonian," if that expression means anything); the big, round projectiles and satisfying smack of a hit; the crackle of an explosion. Strange, I thought, how visceral, how personal, it all felt, and how as the series went on it grew less so, until by the time of Prophecy it sometimes felt as if you were swimming around in a gigantic ocean running into entire schools of fish and massacring them en masse by harpoon.

Things were different outside the cockpit, too. Here the original stands as the better example: the individual interactions with the "band of brothers" (and sisters) among the 'Claw pilots; the medals you earn emphasizing the martial tradition in which you serve; the cutscenes and mentions of past and present battles and events that constantly remind you that, though your carrier may be a fortress island in space, she is only among the most notable in an archipelago of thousands. By IV it had vanished, subsumed completely by the script and storyline imperative; the elaborate campaign branching that had been such a hallmark of the series turned into several different paths; the crude yet wonderfully concise talking heads of the original exchanged for flesh-and-blood actors hamming it up.

What upsets me the most, though, is that there are an entire generation of fans out there who have never played the original games, and other people who see Wing Commander as "Luke and Biff in space." Perhaps those people who buy EA Replay for Syndicate or Ultima or Desert Strike, see Wing Commander and wonder "gee, I wonder what things were like back then." And then they'll load it up, without having to go through the technical hoop-jumping of DOS configuration, and hear the strains of George Sanger's overture through their PSP speakers for the first time.
 

st3lt3k

Rear Admiral
"What EA Replay Means to me"

"What EA Replay Means to me" by st3lt3k

The release of EA Replay means to me that Electronic Arts is taking a step in the right direction. Although I don't currently own a PSP, I am nonetheless looking forward to the game's release for the following reasons:

  • The decision to offer this collection represents an awareness of both the value of and the market for previous game titles (including, but not limited to, Wing Commander);
  • A new generation of younger gamers will be exposed to the "golden age" of gaming. Hopefully this new generation will also visit the Wing Commander CIC . . . ;
  • An older generation of gamers will be able to return to the games they enjoyed; and,
  • EA Replay may later be released on other platforms, such as the PC which I do own.
What these reasons have in common is that they increase the likelihood that EA will release more Wing Commander games in future. In addition to Wing Commander games, the animated series, books, the movie and even soundtrack cds may see a similar revival. I applaud EA for taking this step and hope that it releases still more Replay volumes from its storied past!
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
I was not exposed to Wing Commander until 1994, when my father got our first PC (we had been a Mac only house until then). A Gateway 2000 that came with a game pack and joystick that included not only Armada but also Privateer/RF/Strike Commander on one cd! I was quickly engrossed by the games and became an instant fan. Soon afterwards I acquired WC2 Deluxe at a yard sale and got WC3 as soon as it was released.

My Wingnutdom was further fanned by my stumbling on a site which has long since slipped from the minds of many wingnuts old enough to remember it, the TCU, or Terran Confederate Underground. A site similar to the CIC's ships database, from their I stumbled upon the once great lurking spot for WC fans, #Wing-Commander on Dalnet. During the great years of the 1990s I spent many of my young teenage nights debating with the same people I still do today about certain story points or mission events.

As the release of EA Replay has arrived, I suddenly find my roommate's PSP not so useless, it has spent a great many months just sitting as our Xbox 360 has been the constant go to. I did not play WC1 and the SMs until KS came out. Playing the original game only furthered my excitement. I had specifically saved money to purchase the best joystick I could to play WC to my full potential. Several hundred dollars later I was the proud owner of a Thrustmaster F-16 FCLS, F-16 TQS and RCS systems, although for WCP/SO I had upgraded to the newer Thrustmaster F-22 FCS. For a long time they provided me with continuious enjoyment.

I hope, like LOAF, that EA Replay may bring some more life and new faces to our forums, new people to induct into our community and continue a tradition started long ago about a game against giant space cats based loosely on the events of the Pacific Theater of the Second World War. WC has not only proved a fun diversion to everyday life, it has provided me with a community which I continue to interact with on an almost daily basis and have no intention of leaving any time soon. So as I can not wait to enjoy EA Replay I look forward to the day when myself and my fellow wingnuts can look upon a new EA collection of WC games not unlike the C&C anthology released not too long ago.

Congratulations fellow wingnuts, today we start another era in our saga and hopefully we will gain some new members that will continue our love for a video game classic.

Long Live the Confederation.
 

stick

Spaceman
I just picked up EA replay, and so far i'm impressed with Wing Commander, granted, i've never played the SNES version, so i assume the slight slower pace of the game is due to that, and i'm not used to the control scheme as yet, but all in all, the nostalgia factor alone makes it all worth while. Thanks wcnews for letting me know about this release! :)

edit: i don't think it's too slow anymore after trying the sim in secret missions. ~~~
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Plan on getting it tommorow or friday depending on what kind of time I have. I can't wait it's been way too long since I've been able to fire up KS WC1 and it will be nice to be back in the Vega Sector for a while.
 

stick

Spaceman
After playing the game off and on since i got it, I am finding it somewhat frustrating to play the game, to be honest, i'm finding it more difficult than i expected to even be able to line up a shot to fire. I guess one can argue it's more realistic that way or something, hehe.

Oh well, it's Wing Commander and I still love it.
 
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