Kennedy Approach

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Kennedy Approach
Cover art
Designer(s)Andy Hollis[1]
Platform(s)Amiga, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Commodore 64
Release1985: Atari 8-bit, C64
1988: Amiga, Atari ST

Kennedy Approach is an air traffic control simulation computer game released by MicroProse for the Atari 8-bit family and Commodore 64 in 1985. It was designed by Andy Hollis.[1] Ports for the Amiga and Atari ST were published in 1988.


A thunderstorm roams

The player assumes the role of a controller in a Terminal Radar Approach Control, giving instructions to aircraft so that they can safely land, as well as take off and enter their correct flight corridors. The purpose of the game is to manage the flights that are presented to the player without the flights being delayed or exiting/landing in the wrong location. The aircraft either come flying in on the screen and have preset exit or landing points or show up as wanting to take off with an exit point. It is the player's job to determine the route each aircraft flies and when they may land or take off.

The aircraft cannot be too close to each other, so the player needs to make sure that they are passing each other on different flight levels or with sufficient distance (three grid dots north/south or east/west) between them. If an aircraft crashes, collides in midair with another aircraft, or exits at the wrong location or altitude, the system will inform the air traffic controller, and the game will end at the end of the shift. Aircraft do not change course/altitude unless the player tells them to. Incoming aircraft not given clearance to land, however, will go into a holding pattern and wait until given clearance. When necessary, the player can also give holding instructions to aircraft, as long as their course takes them over a VOR tower which is used as the holding fix.

To start with, there are few flights at the same time, but at higher GS levels, there are many flights that need management at the same time. Also storms which the aircraft can not pass through show up and some aircraft have very little fuel and have to land fast or they will crash.

There are five airspaces in the game:

Three types of aircraft are presented in the game:

Four airlines are depicted in the game:

In both the Atari and C64 versions, the conversations between the controller and the aircraft are read out on the TV loudspeaker. Although they are quite ritualized and formal, and the blocks of words which make up the orders are clearly distinguishable, synthesized speech was an impressive feat for home computers that averaged fewer than 64 kilobytes of available RAM.


Compute! stated that "the sweat on your palms when you play Kennedy Approach is quite real", and approved of the documentation. It concluded that the game "is a fascinating, well-designed simulation for someone who wants to get a taste of what air traffic controllers do all day (and night) ... Kennedy Approach gets a clammy hands rating of 9 out of a possible 10".[2]


  1. ^ a b Hague, James. "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers".
  2. ^ Minnick, David and Robin (June 1986). "Kennedy Approach For Commodore And Atari". Compute!. p. 71. Retrieved 8 November 2013.

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