Slot Airplanes — Game Review
Aerobiz Supersonic, known as Air Management II: Kōkū Ō wo Mezase ( エアーマネジメントII 航空王をめざせ ) in Japan, is a business simulation video game released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System by Koei in North America in August 1994. It was later ported to the Genesis. It is a sequel to Koei’s previous airline simulation game, Aerobiz.
Gameplay [ edit ]
Screenshot of a game of Aerobiz Supersonic, taking place in 1957.
In the game, which is somewhat similar to its predecessor, the player is the CEO of a start-up international airline. The player competes with three other such companies (either AI-controlled or other players) for dominance in the worldwide travel industry. Such dominance is obtained by purchasing slots in various airports around the world, and flying routes to and from those slots. Once a route is created, the player has control of what type of planes fly the route, the price of airfare, and numerous other variables. The winning conditions for the player’s airline are evaluated at the end of each year. These are to have a regional hub in every region, have the highest passenger total of all airlines during the given year in four to seven regions (depending on difficulty level), one of which must be the player’s home region, and have a profit during the given year.
The game includes numerous historical events that can help or hinder airline performance. Four different eras of play are available for the player to choose. They include 1955–1975 (which depicts the dawn of jet airplanes), 1970–1990 (which depicts a period of instability, oil crises, and the end of the Cold War), 1985–2005 (which depicts the present day of economic prosperity and relative stable peace), and 2000–2020 (which depicts the replacement of jet planes with supersonic airplanes, the European Union extending to Russia, and countries trying to get airlines to fund alternative fuel research). This futuristic era was chosen by SG and Koei to be illustrated by San Francisco illustrator Marc Ericksen for the packaging art, showing two executives conferring over a holographic aircraft design in a futuristic airline terminal.
Airlines must be able to achieve the goals assigned to them within 20 years; only one airline can achieve this victory with no draws permitted. If none of the airlines can achieve the goal, then all airlines lose because stalemates are not permitted at the end of the game. Tiebreakers are also not permitted because games are not usually designed to be in ties at the end of the 20-year contest. In the rare instance that all airlines go bankrupt simultaneously, then all airlines would also lose.
Events [ edit ]
Historical events [ edit ]
The simulation includes numerous historical events, including:
- Summer Olympic Games accurate up to Sydney 2000. (Note, the 1976 Summer Olympics were in Montreal, although the game has them in Toronto as Montreal is not in the game. However, some events of these games were held in Toronto, and in other cities throughout Eastern Canada.)
- The downfall of colonialism
- The secession of Singapore from Malaysia
- The Rise of Fidel Castro (1959)
- Suez Crisis
- Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
- Yom Kippur War
- An international oil crisis (1973)
- Iran–Iraq War
- Operation Desert Storm
- Destruction of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany
- Fall of the Soviet Union
- Return of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China
- Growth of the European Union
Hypothetical events [ edit ]
The simulation also includes hypothetical events, including:
- After 2000, the Summer Olympics start occurring in random selection of the game’s major cities.
- Ukraine joining the European Union at JUL 1998.
- Belarus joining the European Union at JAN 1999.
- Switzerland joining the European Union at JUL 2003.
- Russia joining the European Union at OCT 2005.
- Civil war by random cities and random times (Although in the game, they often occur in Lima, Peru, which had a civil war in real time)
- The introduction and quick obsolescence of commercial supersonic aircraft (2007–2016)
- Global oil crisis in the mid-late 2010s
- The nations of the world asking the airlines for money to find alternatives to fossil fuels
- Volcanic eruption in New Zealand
- Floods in Thailand  and Vancouver, Canada  (both events corresponding with global climate change)
- Earthquake in Sao Paulo
Major players in the game [ edit ]
Eastern Bloc [ edit ]
From the beginning of the game until 1986, the Eastern Bloc countries are stuck with tense relations with Western Europe, North America, and countries in the British Commonwealth. In particular, their worst-possible relationship with the United States, United Kingdom, and Japan means airlines located in the Eastern Bloc cannot buy from the big American planemakers of the time, Boeing, Lockheed, and McDonnell-Douglas. However, they have normal-excellent relations with African countries, Middle Eastern countries, countries in Central America, South America, and some Asian countries. Furthermore, relations with France are decent enough that Eastern Bloc companies can buy from countries based there like Airbus and Sud Aviation, though at a markup. Airplanes from Eastern Bloc countries are, in general, represented as undersized and inefficient gas-guzzlers that can only do medium-range flights as their longest routes; however, their base cost is cheaper and they can perform certain specialty roles well.
After perestroika in 1986, airlines from these countries can purchase airplanes from the United States thanks to normalization of relations. These airplanes become even cheaper following the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in 1989-1991. In the game’s hypothetical then-future scenario (2000-2020) Russia enters the EU in 2005, making Airbus prices cheaper. Ilyushin and Tupolev airplanes remain very cheap and become more efficient than earlier models.
Western Bloc [ edit ]
Western Europe [ edit ]
With normal-tense relations with Eastern European countries until around 1985, airlines that are headquartered in Western European countries must either purchase cheap airplanes from the «local» market or order slightly more expensive planes from the United States of America. After Perestroika, they can purchase from any plane manufacturing company. Joining the European Union in the mid-1990s makes airplanes cheaper or more expensive depending on relations with the United States prior to the founding of the EU.
North America [ edit ]
North America’s situation in the game is identical to the situation found by Western European countries. The only difference is that planes from American companies are cheaper than planes from Western European countries. Since North America has a higher tourism rating than Europe until the 1990s, North America–based airlines can afford more airplanes and routes for a better risk-profit potential than European-based airlines.
People’s Republic of China and other countries [ edit ]
Normalized relations with both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. allows all planes to be purchased by airlines headquartered in the People’s Republic of China regardless of the year. However, improving relations with either country will reduce the price of the airplanes — giving the player a choice of acquiring either inefficient Soviet-made planes or efficient American-made planes at bargain prices. Like the People’s Republic of China, countries that are not strongly affiliated with either NATO or Warsaw Pact may purchase from any manufacturer as long as relations are not tense (red). Relations with the country must be at least normal (orange) in order to purchase airplanes from that country.
Reception [ edit ]
Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the Super NES version a 7.2 out of 10, deeming it «a different type of game — one geared more toward strategy.»  They gave the later Genesis version a 6.6 out of 10 and opined that «As always, Koei manages to make a unique strategy game that becomes very entertaining when you really get into it.» 
Next Generation reviewed the Genesis version of the game, rating it three stars out of five, and stated that «sim fans are sure to be pleased with the level of detail.» 
VideoGames selected it as a runner-up for 1994’s Best Strategy Game award, which was won by Equinox. 
References [ edit ]
- ^Hypothetical flooding of Thailand at flood.firetree.net
- ^Hypothetical flooding of Vancouver, Canada at flood.firetree.net
- ^ «Review Crew: Aerobiz Supersonic». Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 59. Sendai Publishing. June 1994. p. 33.
- «Review Crew: Aerobiz Supersonic». Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 66. Sendai Publishing. January 1995. p. 40.
- «Finals». Next Generation. No. 7. Imagine Media. July 1995. p. 77.
- «VideoGames Best of ’94». VideoGames — The Ultimate Gaming Magazine. No. 74 (March 1995). February 1995. pp. 44–7.
External links [ edit ]
- Aerobiz Supersonic at MobyGames
«Plane» is the case of an action movie in which the dumb title—the most memorable thing about it—isn’t an artistic statement, it’s an alibi. If it can convince you that it’s so simple, suddenly all of its laziness with character development, plotting, action sequences, etc., seems quaint, if not knowing. Add the pitch of Gerard Butler on a self-rescue mission, saving his flight passengers and crew from angry Filipino militants after a crash landing, and the expectations lower themselves.
This rickety vehicle is produced by Butler, who seems to make these movies to avoid wearing superhero spandex or having to hurl himself off a cliff like Tom Cruise. He’s fared better as a last action hero of a certain type of movie, and the biggest problem with «Plane» throughout is that it isn’t wilder; it does not revel appropriately enough in its open dumbness. For its junky concept that eventually embraces ’80s action storytelling firmer than a handshake in «Predator,» there are so many missed moments in which director Jean-François Richet attempts to get a free genre pass isn’t so much as coasting but rushing to get itself over with.
Things are looking up for «Plane» when it’s gearing up for a big crash. Our main hero—Plane—is struck by lightning in a large spat of brutal weather, knocking out its power and dooming it to an unforeseen landing. With more of an air of «I can’t believe this bad service,» the 14 passengers on board start to freak out progressively; things become even direr when someone thinks they can outwit seatbelts. The sequence is cut with a punchy, glad-you-aren’t-there intensity, and a couple of illustrative stunts—nasty things involving heads and neck trauma—make a firm point not to test gravity. Butler’s pilot Brodie Torrance, who kicked off the flight with some Southwest Airlines-grade jokes over the intercom, executes some macho maneuvering and has his co-pilot Samuel (Yoson An) clock the ten minutes they have before they eventually crash land on a remote island in the Philippines.
During this tumultuous descent, it’s mighty strange when «Plane» shows a closeup of a drafted text message but not long enough for us to read whatever it says. But that’s more of a hint that no characters have any important point to this story, aside, maybe, from a captured fugitive named Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter), who is handcuffed to an officer at the back of the plane. His history of committing homicide comes later in handy when the flight lands in progressively hostile territory. Brodie, with his history in the RAF and a gun secretly in his pants, brings him along the mysterious terrain to find help. Butler and Colter proceed to fend off plainly bad guys, with little chemistry between them in the process.
Everything shifts for them when, after making a communications breakthrough at a shady warehouse (bullets on the floor, not a great sign), a bad guy sneaks up from behind and tries to kill Brodie. The scuffle that ensues is impressive, with the camera mostly holding on Butler’s face as he wrestles with this bigger dude in tight quarters. But nothing is as exciting or long-lasting from here on out, even when Richet tries to heighten the danger with merciless militia men who roll up and kidnap Brodie’s passengers and crew. «Plane» rushes through its emotional and explosive beats so that it can get to the next crisis without having to fill out the previous one, and it wildly skims on the good stuff in the process. Hostage situations are quickly fixed, dull gunfire exchanges are executed as if they were shot on different days, and even Colter’s stiff, quiet killer only has his silence to make his stiffness remotely interesting as he doesn’t get much of an arc despite the ominous promise at the beginning. It’s just a bunch of action filmmaking gruel, presenting the jungle terrain with a color tint that matches the dank sweat on Butler’s t-shirt.
The biggest scene-stealer, really, is Gun, a quite large rifle brought by some airline-hired American black ops dudes who later appear, and which can fire bullets that rocket through car doors and exploding rib cages. Gun has a sounder dramatic arc than any other heroes in this assortment of action figurines and scowling cardboard cutouts and at least provides gory over-the-top violence like «Rambo» (2008), given the film’s sleazy evolution. (My preview audience audibly adored Gun more than everything and everyone else in «Plane.”) Everyone else on-screen, from Butler’s simply exhausted pilot to Colter’s fugitive-maybe-looking for redemption to the super-scowling Filipino militia leader named Junmar (Evan Dane Taylor), is treated with such little sincerity by the script that you almost start to feel bad for them.
Meanwhile, at Trailblazer Air headquarters back in New York City, the film props up its message that airline companies, not just their pilots, are ready to go to war for you. A group of people sits around a U-shape table with ominous lighting. The airline’s CEO, Hampton (Paul Ben-Victor), uses his list of contacts trying to locate and then protect the passengers, including those American guys who come with their own equipment. A no-BS PR hotshot named Scarsdale, played by Tony Goldwyn, has all the answers and plenty of ‘tude, too, like when he barks, «If you have New Year’s Eve Plans, I just canceled them.» It’s telling how these scenes are filmed with the same feeling of a board room in one of Butler’s «Olympus Has Fallen» movies. Like the other bits of wonky heroism in the disappointing vacation that is «Plane,» it makes for an exaggerated joke with no punchline.
Now playing in theaters.
Fairchild Channel F Reviews R-S
This two-in-one package reeks of mediocrity. Robot War plays like a poor man’s Berzerk (Atari 2600, 1982). You move a man freely around the screen as a gang of robots converges upon him. These robots aren’t too bright and tend to mindlessly follow your movements. You defeat them by guiding them into «electrified force fields» which bear a striking resemblance to blue squares.
When played at a low speed, the game is easy and unsatisfying. If you crank up the speed however, it becomes a frantic little chase game. There’s no predefined score limit (lame), but I’d recommend playing to ten.
Torpedo Alley is similar to Air-Sea Battle (Atari 2600, 1977). One or two players move cannons across the bottom of the screen shooting at boats moving across in both directions. Each layer of ships has its own point value, and there’s also a layer of mines that block your shots.
The only problem with this is that your torpedoes move far so slowly. In fact, you’ll find yourself firing before a ship enters the screen, hoping it will just run into your torpedo. Neither of these games is particularly good, but I guess they might be worth a quick round or two. I love the disclaimer on the box which reads «Game play in color only on color televisions.» © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
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1 or 2 players
Publisher: Fairchild (1978)
Slot Machine games tend to be a pretty worthless bunch but this one has a certain 1970’s kitsch going for it. Its black-and-white title screen proclaims «Welcome to the Big Casino» surrounded by flashing light bulbs. The slot machine itself is large, colorful, and intricately detailed with fancy trim. There’s even a coin return slot on the bottom.
You begin by establishing an overall «purse» which is the cash you will have to work with — 90 bucks or so. Before each turn you enter an amount, typically 50 cents. You pull the arm by pushing in on the controller, which feels a little backwards. The colorful spinning symbols include an apple, bell, and wine glass. I really like that «tick tick tick» sound they make as they go around.
In most cases the lanes stop on their own but one particular variation lets you stop them yourself, one by one. I thought this might give me the ability to «time» the symbols but as it turns out they are randomized. That pretty much confirmed my suspicion that this game boils down to 100% luck.
You need to get three like symbols in a row to win, which is hard. For the sake of this review however I felt obligated to do it once, if only to see what happens. Well, after about 100 pulls I managed to get three bells in a row. What happened? Besides a bump in my cash purse, absolutely nothing! What a buzzkill.
I looked up Slot Machine’s instruction manual on the internet to see if I was missing any pertinent details, but what you see is what you get. You’d think they could have come up with partial payouts for specific combinations, but nope! This game is as brain dead as the sad, pathetic souls who play it. Oh wait. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.
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Publisher: Fairchild (1977)
Sonar Search takes the classic Battleship board game formula (remember that?) and actually makes it fun. Each player takes several «shots» per round by aiming a target at a clear blue screen. Hits are indicated by colored squares until the entire ship is revealed. When a shot misses, a series of «pings» indicate the proximity of the nearest enemy ship.
By making calculated adjustments you can methodically home in on the location of each ship. This extra audio component adds a nice layer of strategy. One flaw is that it’s hard to tell apart hits from player one and player two, since their tiny colored dots are surrounded with a white square.
In addition to head-to-head action, Sonar Search also provides a fun single-player mode which challenges you to sink five ships with the least amount of ammo. For such a modest little game, Sonar Search packs a surprising amount of entertainment value. My friend Chris absolutely hates this game, but only because he can never defeat me. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
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Recommended variation: 1-4
Our high score: 59
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Fairchild (1977)
I was beginning to think that all the games for the Fairchild had some degree of redeeming value, and then I played Space War. On the surface it looks a lot like Desert Fox, but instead of tanks you guide a saucer freely around the screen while shooting energy beams at your opponent. You can direct your shots left or right by turning the joystick.
The screen is wide open except for some scattered mines and two diamond-shaped «star bases». Firing shots and taking hits drains your energy, but you can «recharge» at any time by touching either one of the star bases. This leads to endless stand-offs where both players trade a few shots before docking at their bases and returning good as new. Playing Space War is so pointless that you’re probably better off doing absolutely nothing instead. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
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Publisher: Fairchild (1977)
After two minutes of playing this game my friend Chris came to the stunning realization: «Wait a minute — oh, we’re airplanes!» Okay, so maybe Spitfire isn’t much in the graphics department, but its dogfighting action isn’t so bad. Each round begins with a plane on each side of the screen and a green control tower in the middle.
After a brief countdown the planes take off and can fly freely around the screen while attempting to shoot each other down. The controls are a little counter-intuitive, as you push up to dive and pull to climb. I guess it makes sense from an airplane control point of view, but on the 2D screen it would have been easier to just turn the knob.
The game is pretty fun because you need to react quickly to shake an opponent off your tail. The collision detection isn’t perfect but that actually makes the game more realistic. I really enjoy the crash animations of the planes spinning into the ground. You can play to any score, and there’s even a one-player variation. Easy to play and competitive, this twitch shooter is usually good for a few rounds. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.