It has been exactly ten years since the third major Wing Commander installment was released by Origin Systems Inc. Yesterday and today in 1994 eager fans received preordered copies of the premiere edition. Retail standard issue copies arrived a couple days later. The launch of Wing Commander was a huge step up for the entertainment industry. WC3 pioneered 3d graphics, live actor video, games on CD and more. It was one of the first games to take advantage of a multimillion dollar budget and went on to sell over a million copies, numbers that were quite substantial even to parent Electronic Arts back in the day.
I remember picking up my copy of Wing Commander Armada in the summer of 1994 and receiving a little card telling me to get my computer ready. Much like Wing Commander 2 with the sound card and Wing Commander Prophecy with the 3d accelerator, Wing Commander 3 encouraged a legion of PC gamers to go out and buy a CD-ROM drive for hundreds of dollars. In little over four years we went from a handful of floppy disks to a stack of CDs. Once computers had their CD-ROM installed, systems with only 8 megabytes of RAM sufferred 5+ minute load times before the missions. Still, we happily waited for one of the most incredible gaming experiences ever.
I've put together a little bit of Wing Commander 3 related memorabilia below. I've been told that this might make a neat wallpaper, so a high res version is available here.
From left to right (top third): Wing Commander playing cards, Wing Commander customizable card game booster pack and card, Wing Commander 3 "blue box" classic edition (one of many different rereleases), Wing Commander Armada WC3 preparation advertisement, WC3 for the Playstation, WC3 for the 3DO, Terran Confederation patch, Wing Commander card game advertisement, WC3 premiere edition poster, WC3 development team shirt, WC3 3DO dev team shirt, (middle third): color Warbirds poster, WC3 ultimate unauthorized strategy guide, WC3 PC standard edition, WC3 official guide advertisement, WC3 premiere edition box, Making of WC3 VHS tape, the Victory Streak manual, WC3 premiere film reel tin and discs, WC3 playguide and Kilrathi Saga manual, WC3 premiere edition t-shirt, (bottom third) WC3 demo, WC3 official guide, WC3 authorized combat guide, Wing Commander Kilrathi Saga, Wing Commander card game booster box and starter pack, and Wing Commander 3 novelization: The Heart of the Tiger.Each and every Wing Commander game was at the forefront of technology and innovative gameplay when they were released. Games today still rarely exceed the polish and production values associated with installments in the series. Wing Commander fans around the world share a special bond. We'd like to wish this gaming classic a Happy Tenth Birthday!