I played at Wings. When I was an adolescent, I had a game in which you were permitted to fly in World War I. Much of the game was dogfights between you and the enemy. The box for the game came with factual information about the First World War, and there was a narrative within the game that took you through to victory in 1918. I liked the game. I just didn’t like being nailed by enemy fire.
Extreme ability was required to play the game.
The dogfights were mad. You flew with a view from over the shoulder of the pilot in the cockpit of your aircraft. Soon, you would know that when the pilot turned his head, enemy aircraft were near and it was time to go in that direction. If bullets were hitting your plane, you knew you were in trouble and it was time for diving away and getting as far from the fire as you could. I played at Wings. If you could get an enemy in front of you, firing a volley ahead of him often meant he would fly right into it, and your trouble would be solved.
The “cinematic” graphic interludes meant that a good deal of time was required if your character went to the grave.
Unfortunately, as the literature in the game explained, pilots tragically lost their lives during the First World War. The game’s realism meant that you were likely to get cut to pieces no matter how you played. I played at Wings. It was highly discouraging. The game was fascinating, but as soon as your pilot met his end, you were required to begin the war over again. It was not something that you would wish, particularly with my Amiga 500 model of computer, with its very slow loading time.
There was a workaround that meant evading death, and becoming one of the best pilots of the war… but it was cheating.
I found out by intuition that if I were losing, I could hit the hard reset command for the computer, and the game would be swept away as the computer rebooted. The upshot? The destruction of the pilot wouldn’t be saved to diskette and I could give that mission another try. I played at Wings. It was cheating, all right. The game was designed so that with successive missions your pilot became better at combat and the hardest missions could be won with an extraordinary pilot in your hands.
War shouldn’t be treated lightly, and if the game was any reflection of a teenage pilot at the outset of World War I, I would have died. I am sorry, of course, not that I would have been shot down, but that I insisted in my foolishness to make a game so insensitive. Have you ever had to cheat at something innocent? Feel free to let me know in the comments.