Jump to content

Warbirds (video game)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cover art in all regions
Developer(s)Atari Corporation
Publisher(s)Atari Corporation
Designer(s)Robert Zdybel[3]
Programmer(s)Robert Zdybel
  • Melody Rondeau
  • Susan G. McBride
Composer(s)Robert Vieira
Platform(s)Atari Lynx
Genre(s)Combat flight simulator, first-person shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
(up to four players via ComLynx)

Warbirds is a 1991 first-person combat flight simulation video game developed and published by Atari Corporation in North America and Europe exclusively for the Atari Lynx. Taking place in the 1910s during World War I, players assume the role of a rookie aircraft pilot from the Army Air Force who joined the titular squadron taking control of a prebuilt biplane in order to win the war against the enemies. Its gameplay mainly consists of dogfights against either AI-controlled opponents or other human players using the Lynx's ComLynx system, with a main four-button configuration.

Warbirds was written and designed by Atari veteran Robert Zdybel, who dedicated the project to his father.[3][4] The game garnered positive reception from critics and reviewers alike who praised the presentation, pseudo-3D visuals, sound design, controls and gameplay. Its multiplayer support received unanimous praise but the single-player offering was noted to be one of the title's negative points. It also served as an inspiration for Beyond Games' 1993 BattleWheels.[5][6]


Gameplay screenshot.

Warbirds is a first-person combat flight simulation game where players assume the role of a World War I fighter pilot taking control of a biplane, with the main objective being the elimination of enemies to win the war.[7][8] A variety of options can be altered to aid in shooting down enemy planes, including turning on unlimited ammunition and altering how much damage the player's aircraft can take until it explodes and players can also choose their preferred style of play for the plane before starting. When playing, the players has the ability to look ahead, behind, above, and to the left or right of their plane to detect oncoming enemies in the playfield. The game has five scenarios in which the player can fly against up to three enemy pilots of varying levels of skill. Up to four players can compete against each other by connecting four Atari Lynx units via the ComLynx port.

Development and release[edit]

The creation of Warbirds was spearheaded by designer and Atari veteran Robert Zdybel, who dedicated the project to his father and he previously worked on several titles such as Stellar Track for the Atari 2600.[3][4] The game was originally titled Red Baron and was planned for a Q4 1990 release, before being renamed in 1991.[9][10][11] Previews of the game touted multiplayer support for up to six players instead of four.[11] It was also on display for playing at Atari Corp.'s booth during the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in 1991.[12]


Warbirds was met with positive reception.[30][31] The game was reviewed in 1992 in Dragon #181 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game a positive review awarding it 4½ out of 5 stars.[15] Computer and Video Games reviewed Warbirds in their August 1991 issue stating "There isn't a lot of variety to the gameplay but what's there is good for a while." Giving it an overall score of 84 out of 100.[14] Raze also reviewed the game giving a score of 86%.[28] Robert A. Jung reviewed the game which was published to IGN Entertainment, In his final verdict he wrote "Warbirds is designed and written by Robert Zdybel, a newcomer to Lynx game design; He dedicates the game to his father, and it's a worthy piece of gaming to be proud of. It's a game that's simple in concept and fun to play. Throw in true simulator realism, a variety of options, and the ability for four-player competition, and the sum is greater than its parts. For the video gamer looking for realistic aerial action, Warbirds leaves eveything else behind." Giving a final score of 9 out of 10.[4]


  1. ^ "Electronic Gaming Monthly & Vic Toaki Inc. Present... The Games Of April 1991...Appearing In Local Stores Now! - Lynx - Warbirds". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 21. Sendai Publishing. April 1991. p. 29.
  2. ^ "Electronic Gaming Monthly & Vic Toaki Inc. Present... The Games Of May 1991...Appearing In Local Stores Now! - Lynx - Warbirds". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 22. Sendai Publishing. May 1991. p. 113.
  3. ^ a b c Hague, James (2019). "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers". dadgum.com. Archived from the original on 27 April 2019. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d A. Jung, Robert (6 July 1999). "For the video gamer looking for realistic aerial action, Warbirds leaves eveything else behind". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on 14 August 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  5. ^ Hawken, Kieren (November 2016). "From The Archives: Beyond Games". Retro Gamer. No. 160. Future Publishing. pp. 64–69.
  6. ^ "Interview with Kris Johnson, Founder of Beyond Games, Developer of the Cancelled Redline Arena". dreamcastlive.net. 30 June 2018. Archived from the original on 9 May 2019. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  7. ^ Warbirds user's manual (Atari Lynx, US)
  8. ^ "Entertainment: Lynx - Warbirds" (PDF). Atari Explorer. Atari Corporation. Summer 1991. pp. 58–59. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 September 2018. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Atari Adventure - Lynx New Soft News!". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 10. Sendai Publications. May 1990. p. 94. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  10. ^ "News - Loadsa Lynx Lunacy". Computer and Video Games. No. 111. Future Publishing. February 1991. p. 9.
  11. ^ a b "Atari Adventure - More Hot Titles Coming In 1991!!! - Warbirds". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 21. Sendai Publishing. April 1991. p. 78.
  12. ^ "Game News and Previews - Atari Avalanche". Game Players. No. 22. Signal Research. April 1991. p. 91.
  13. ^ Williamson, Colin (1998). "Warbirds - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  14. ^ a b Glancey, Paul; Swan, Rob (August 1991). "Lynx Lowdown - Warbirds". Computer and Video Games. No. 117. Future Publishing. p. 36. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  15. ^ a b Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (May 1992). "The Role of Computers - Reviews - Warbirds" (PDF). Dragon. No. 181. TSR, Inc. p. 58. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 July 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  16. ^ Harris, Steve; Semrad, Ed; Alessi, Martin; Williams, Ken (July 1991). "Review Crew - Lynx - Warbirds". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 24. Sendai Publishing. p. 26.
  17. ^ Mortis, Rigor (June 1991). "Lynx ProReview: Warbirds". GamePro. No. 23. IDG. p. 58.
  18. ^ Upchurch, David (August 1991). "Screentest - Computer - Warbirds: Chocks away! WW1 flying sims take off on the Lynx". ACE. No. 47. EMAP. p. 68. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  19. ^ Amann, Hans-Joachim (July 1991). "Konsolen - Kriegsvogel - Warbirds". Aktueller Software Markt (in German). No. 54. Tronic Verlag. p. 117.
  20. ^ Iida, Keita (1995). "AGH Lynx Review: WARBIRDS". atarihq.com. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  21. ^ Pingos; Badin (September 1991). "Lynx Review - Warbirds". Consoles + (in French). No. 1. M.E.R.7. p. 112. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  22. ^ Johns, Ian (May 3, 1991). "Games Reviews - Warbirds". Games-X. No. 1. Europress. p. 20. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  23. ^ García, Marcos; García, Juan Carlos (November 1991). "Lynx - WarBirds - Los duelistas". Hobby Consolas (in Spanish). No. 2. Axel Springer SE. p. 46.
  24. ^ Hamon, Sébastien (October 1991). "Lynx Tests - Warbirds". Joypad (in French). No. 1. Yellow Media. p. 105.
  25. ^ Demoly, Jean-Marc (September 1991). "Tests – Lynx – Warbirds". Joystick (in French). No. 19. Anuman Interactive. p. 137.
  26. ^ Szameitat, Carsten (December 1991). "Konsolen - Lynx Reviews - Warbirds". Play Time (in German). No. 7. CT Computec Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. p. 86.
  27. ^ Forster, Winfried (June 1991). "Videospiele / Tests - Warbirds". Power Play (in German). No. 38. Future Verlag. p. 132.
  28. ^ a b Ellis, Les; Boardman, Julian (June 1991). "Reviews - Warbirds". Raze. No. 8. Newsfield. p. 48. Archived from the original on 13 June 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  29. ^ Hengst, Michael (February 1991). "Test - Nur Im Duett Ist's Nett - Warbirds". Video Games (in German). No. 2. Future-Verlag. p. 98. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  30. ^ Molyneaux, Maurice (July 1991). "Gaming on the Go - Warbirds by Atari". VideoGames & Computer Entertainment. No. 30. Larry Flynt Publications. p. 100.
  31. ^ Sweeney, John (June–July 1992). "Lynx Games: Lynx Jinks - Warbirds" (PDF). New Atari User. No. 56. Page 6 Publishing. p. 6. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-09-26. Retrieved 2020-02-22.

External links[edit]