Crucial Classics: Wing Commander Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Update ID

1up/EGM's Crucial Classics series has focused on Wing Commander this week. The WC series tied for fourth place among reader submissions for the top fifty gaming classics of all time. Today's article does a good job summarizing general flight sim history and explains the significance of Wing Commander in that genre throughout the 1990s. It gives games like Starlancer and Freespace their proper place in the overall system and discusses a few of the unfortunate characteristics of the genre's relative decline in popularity.
That's where Origin's breakthroughs in presentation came in. What made advancing through Wing Commander worthwhile was the feeling of being there, achieved through a strong fictional background, plenty of visual detail, and a multitude of transitional cinemas to maintain the feeling of immersion. The game world had a distinct personality, and so did each of the characters, in their dialogue and their piloting style -- nearly everyone who played the game remembers flying next to the suicidal Maniac. ...

In their time, the Wing Commander games were supremely compelling flight combat sims, breakthroughs in presentation and the use of cutting-edge technology. Plenty of gamers bought a 386 and a Sound Blaster to play them, and even more gamers wished they had the money to do the same. The series also represented some of the brighter lights of the oft-derided "interactive movie" phenomenon.

The full article can be found here. It makes a pretty good read.

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