Classic Air Combat Sim Recommendations

Since apparently only “recent” games should be talked about in this other thread:

I’ll create a thread for old sims. You know, the good ones. ;) (I kid I kid)

So y’all, thanks to this post:

I got Roland sound working in F-19 and it is MAGICAL.

Not gonna lie, I was kinda liking having the “Recent air combat sim recommendations?” thread being devoted entirely to classic air combat sims. Fit in with other great thread titles like “Minecraft! (single player dwarf fortress)” (I didn’t know DF was multiplayer), “Dwarf Fortress: Very Ambitious Roguelike” (I didn’t know DF was a roguelike), and “A solo Ironsworn: Starforged Run” (that one’s my fault).

I wish I knew this existed back in the day, but I’m glad I have it now. Can’t WAIT to read it!

Someone asked me to stream it, so…

You guys, I am totally falling in love with F-19 all over again. It’s just so amazing in pretty much every way.

So, is your game love in this order?

Space Sims > Anything Space > Air Sims > All other games ; )

Pretty much:

Games with spaceships > Pilot-focused flight sims from mostly the 80s and 90s (and modern equivalents like WOFF > Everything else.

I enjoyed your exploits vicariously @BrianRubin, even if I missed the train on the vast majority of these sims on account of being a dumb kid at the time.

Amiga this, PC that. I was too busy fighting the Sega/Nintendo wars on the playground at the time.

What I didn’t miss was F29 Retaliator, which is the first PC game that I can remember playing, and certainly my first obsession.

There’s a direct line for me between that game and paying for pricey modules in DCS today. I have happy memories of playing the free mode with infinite ammo and fuel, and just blasting everything out of the sky with what felt like 500 AMRAAMs each. I must have been an expensive pilot.

I don’t remember ever going back to it, so I have no idea if I’d still recommend it, but if you’re a dumb kid somewhere around 1991, definitely go for it.

So the F-19 guide was such a delight, I’ve decided to get all the books as I find affordable copies.

Would you believe that’s one of the few I haven’t played? Should I add it to my list? I’m going through tons of other sims of the era. Thank you for sharing your story!

Haha, I don’t know man, I would’ve been around 7 at the time! I have no idea how it was received by people with any critical sense.

Those were published by COMPUTE! Books! My first job out of college was at COMPUTE! Magazine. They published my first book. The editors in the book group were just awesome people.

That’s awesome!!!

Much excite!!!

More homework!

I highly recommend Air Warrior Online. But you will need a time machine or someone capable of bringing Kesmai/Gamestorm back from the dead. Hell, there are probably dozens of people waiting for its big comeback. Dozens I tell you! I am ready, right now, to drive a flakpanzer for 2 hours to get behind enemy lines and blast the dastardly CZ on their runway until they figure out what is happening and bomb us to pieces! Or to take off in a fully crewed B-17, and wait around for an hour while it reaches mission altitude and then get shot down by some guy in a 262. Let’s goooo!

I miss it so.

BZ forever!


I only played the single-player missions from Air Warrior III. Great stuff.

I remember from my sim columnist days, the boxed version of Air Warrior had the most sophisticated AI of any WW2 sim. The devs took the performance and historical tactics of the actual aircraft and applied those to the AI. So Wildcats and P-40s would “boom and zoom,” Zeroes would try to get you into a turning fight, etc. That was over 20 years ago, and none of the modern sim AI is anywhere near as good as what AW did in its single-player. Which few people experienced because the graphics weren’t state-of-the-art so the sim didn’t do well…

Is this the original AW or all of them?