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|Air Warrior II|
|Publisher(s)||Konami (Air Warrior SVGA)
|Release date(s)||Air Warrior II - 1997
Air Warrior - 1995
|Distribution||CD-ROM or download|
Introduced in 1988 by Kesmai, Air Warrior was played over modems and hosted on the GEnie online service provider. Players could choose one of a number of World War II aircraft to fly, along with a small number of ground vehicles, and play in a multiplayer "arena" with hundreds of other players. The game focussed mostly on dogfighting, with a secondary strategic role of capturing forward airbases near the center of the map. Several updated versions followed, and additional service providers were added over time.
The original version of Air Warrior ran on Apple Macintosh, Commodore Amiga, and Atari ST computers, had simple black and white wireframe graphics, and cost over $10/hour to play. Over time, Kesmai produced improved versions of the game, starting with SVGA Air Warrior (AWSVGA) in 1993, and continuing with Air Warrior for Windows (AW4W) in 1996, Air Warrior II (AWII) in early 1997, Air Warrior III (AWIII) later in 1997, and finally Air Warrior III Millennium Version (AW:MV) in 2000.
Kesmai also did business deals to provide access to Air Warrior through additional on-line services, including Delphi, CRIS, CompuServe, America Online, Earthlink, Gamestorm and CompuLink. A version of Air Warrior for Windows was ported back to the Macintosh in 1997 in an Internet open beta, and then later moved to America Online. In 1999, Electronic Arts purchased Air Warrior, and became provider of the latest version of the game, only to discontinue it in 2001. The last version was Air Warrior III Millennium Version, and the last day of on-line flying was December 7, 2001, the sixtieth anniversary of the attack at Pearl Harbor. On that last day many current and former players reunited for one last sortie.
Several Air Warrior conventions were also held during the games life. Players would attend the convention which was highlighted by a room that was loaded up with computers so that players could fly missions together online at the convention.
The Air Warrior map was divided into 3 Countries, the A's, B's and C's. Each Country started a round with a predetermined 1/3rd of the map. Airfields from which you took off from were defended by 1 stationary Flak gun and could be reinforced by player controlled Flak Panzers or "Flak Panzies" as the players were called due to their lacking flying skills and use of ground based vehicle. Opposing airfields could be captured by dropping airborne infantry from C-47s. There was one permanent base for each country to keep a team from being completely overrun. Maps consisted of Europe and Pacific. There were also 2 different realism levels as well as a World War I Map.
Aircraft were primarily piston driven propeller aircraft of the WWII era although Bi-Planes and Tri Planes were included in the WWI arena and there were two jet aircraft but for online play they were only released on the occasional "Jet" night.
Air Warrior might have been the first multiplayer game that allowed players to "multi-crew" a single plane, whereby one person fly the bomber and others sign on as gunner. A favorite among players was the "death star": a fully loaded B-17 bomber with its full complement of approximately 6 gunners.
Regardless of the player’s affiliation, for the most part there was camaraderie not seen in games since. This was due in part to the $10 an hour charge to play as most of the players were adults and conducted themselves with honor.
Computer Gaming World in 1990 called Air Warrior "the most exciting [wargame] I've played", warning players to "be resigned to spending some money on it, though, because time flies while you do". A 1991 survey in the magazine of strategy and war games gave it three and a half stars out of five.
Air Warrior III
|Air Warrior III|
|Release date(s)||30 November, 1997|
|Distribution||CD-ROM or download|
Besides many small playing fields, Air Warrior III had as one playing area a map of northern Europe with some real-life features labeled, although Berlin, the Kiel Canal, and Peenemünde were left unmarked. There was also a playing area map that included a hodgepodge of Pacific islands and the coast of Australia. The player could design his own missions on any of these playing fields. Fans of the on-line competition developed a tool that enabled the player to paint his or her own aircraft. Screenshots could be taken in combat, and even videos, which could be distributed over the Internet. Douglas C-47s could be used to carry paratroops to take enemy air bases. These could be shot down by flak panzers as well as fighters.
There were many ships and a few buildings to attack, even V-2s at Peenemünde, a bridge near Westminster's Parliament House, and the Brandenburg Gate of Berlin. However, targets that were destroyed soon re-appeared. Besides aircraft, the player could control a jeep, a tank, a truck, or a flak panzer, although the player could not drive through the fence surrounding the airfield unless a tank destroyed it at a given spot. The aircraft carriers and other ships were fixed in place. The game was notorious for its sheep (Dolly) and for the "Kill Calls" which we sent to a scrolling screen to mock a player by the person that shot him or her down.
- Brooks, M. Evan (2001)
- Archibald, Dale (1990-01). "Lost in the Ozone Again / "Air Warrior" on GEnie". Computer Gaming World. p. 14. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
- Brooks, M. Evan (1991-11). "Computer Strategy and Wargames: The 1900-1950 Epoch / Part I (A-L) of an Annotated Paiktography". Computer Gaming World. p. 138. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- Anderson, Brooke P. (1997). How to Fly and Fight in Air Warrior, Appendix: History of Air Warrior.
- Air Warrior II at MobyGames
- Brooks, M. Evan (2001). , dates of release for some versions of Air Warrior.
- Book of MacDweeb, 1999. , satirical history of Air Warrior for Macintosh in the spirit of the Wingless Cafe.