Air Bucks was one of the first business simulation games dealing with running an airline. It involves purchasing landing rights for cities around the globe.
In 1993, an enhanced version titled Air Bucks v1.2 was released for the Amiga.
The game begins in 1946, after the Second World War. Using default settings, the player controls the airline "Air Bucks" with three AI competitors; all are based in the city of Miami. The player negotiates land rights for a surrounding city not more than 1000 miles away, as the only available plane at the beginning (the Douglas DC-3) has a limit of 1000 miles before landing. Usually the first land rights purchased are in either New York or Washington D.C.
After the land rights negotiations are successful (at the end of a month) the player makes a route between two or more cities he has landing rights for, sets a ticket price, and then assigns planes to the route. The ticket price determines the profit or deficit, and can be constantly changed until the best price is set. This continues until the player controls as many sites as possible.
The game's demand model calculates passenger demand for each route based on ticket pricing, plane speed, size of destinations, plane age, service quality (a function of employee wages), advertising spend, aircraft reliability (a function of maintenance spend) and other factors. The game also simulates fuel price fluctuations based on historical inflation data, and periodically generates weather events and strikes which temporarily close particular airports.
Only two out of the four companies can have landing rights to one site. The default computer companies are "Transglobal Inc", "International GT", and "Great Times". The amount and selection of computer and human players is customisable, as are the company names and logos, starting site, and difficulty.
Computer Gaming World gave Air Bucks a negative review. The magazine criticized the interface, version 1.0's slow game speed, and poor computer AI and economic model, and concluded "Right now, my feeling is that this flight has been delayed". In 1993 Impressions released version 1.2, advertising that it was a "New Air Bucks!" with "the features you want", including better VGA graphics, interface, computer AI, and economic model. The company ("Committed to customer satisfaction") offered the upgrade for free to registered owners of the game.
Cities in Air Bucks
Air Bucks represents 96 airport sites: 6 in Australia; 2 in New Zealand; 8 in the South Pacific; 25 in Asia; 7 in Africa; 33 in Europe; 1 in Greenland; 1 in Bermuda; 14 in Latin America; 5 in Canada; and 26 in the United States. While the game includes a number of small historical "technical stop" destinations such as Wake Island, Canton Island, the Azores, Shannon and Recife, some major cities such as Dubai, Casablanca, Tel Aviv and Brisbane are absent.
- Olafson, Peter. "Air Bucks version 1.2". www.atarimagazines.com. Retrieved 2016-12-05.
- "Air Bucks". Scribd. Retrieved 2016-12-05.
- Brooks, M. Evan (January 1993). "Impressions' Air Bucks". Computer Gaming World. p. 72. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
- "Check out the New Air Bucks!". Computer Gaming World (advertisement). April 1993. p. 41. Retrieved 6 July 2014.