The sky is the limit.
Aerobiz was a Simulation Game
made in 1992 by Koei, a company that is big on simulation games. The basic premise is you are starting a new international airline and you have to lead it to global dominance against three other competing airlines. The game provides a wide range of freedom and surprising level of depth and complexity for a 16-bit sim game with regards to business decisions and action as you expand from your home region across the world. The series was known as Air Management
in Japan and there were three installments in the series:
Each successive installment expanded gameplay by adding more aircraft, more cities and adding or refining features and interface. The first installment is the most famous while the other two are nearly unheard of. As a player, you have control over routes flown, planes purchased, peripheral businesses bought, advertising, maintenance & service budgets, regional hub opening, and other business aspects. However, the game still subjects you to (mostly) historically accurate political and economic events (such as wars), natural disasters & weather effects, and random events (such as forced landings or crashes). For example, a player starting an airline in Moscow in any of the cold war eras of play, would initially be restricted to buying only Soviet aircraft and major relations disadvantages in trying to open routes to western cities.
Aerobiz contains examples of:
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: The game restricts your airline to no more than 40 total routes.
- Artificial Stupidity: The AI would continue to purchase outdated, inefficient airliners even after newer, cheaper and more efficient planes are made available. would regularly place the largest, most inefficient airliners in its fleet on low density routes and then leave them there despite losing big bucks and its competition (you) opening the same route with a small, high efficiency airliner and turning a profit.
- In one game, a computer invested all of its money in a charter company, sticking with it as the price crashed. The CEO was unsurprisingly fired. With it's new CEO and capital, it decided that the best plan of action was to put all of its money into THE EXACT SAME COMPANY.
- Awesome but Impractical: The fictitious future aircraft in Aerobiz Supersonic are downright terrible when compared to previous conventional models.
- Console Wars: Initially ported to both the Sega Genesis and Super NES consoles, the final installment was on the Sega Saturn only.
- Easy Logistics: You never have to worry about ensuring adequate ground support equipment is available for your airliners at their destinations, nor do you have to worry about flight scheduling, maintenance issues, etc...
- Featureless Protagonist: The player is this type of character as the CEO of a major global airline.
- The Great Aviation Economics Mess-Up: Supersonic predicted supersonic airliners and 1000+ passenger super-jumbo jets in the 2000's.
- It also failed to portray a large number of very prominent cities that cropped up in the late 1990's & early 2000's, such as Dubai, UAE.
- It also failed to portray the large scale move from regular airliners to smaller, more fuel-efficient Regional Jets for most small and medium-sized routes.
- It also missed the terrible economic impact that the 2000's would have on airlines around the world.
- On a lesser scale, it also predicted the next Airbus airliner would be the A350 (which is only now being conceptualized), and that McDonnell-Douglas would produce the early concept "MD-12" (a stretched MD-11) and still be an independent manufacturer.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Supersonic featured "Glider", "Prop", "Jet", "Jumbo Jet", & "Supersonic" difficulties.
- Non-Indicative Difficulty: Supersonic plays with this one. The first four difficulty levels determine the scenario goals, with each step up requiring dominance in one more region. However, the scenario goals are the same for all four players, thus while you have to dominate [X] regions against your competitors, so do they against you. Combined with Artificial Stupidity, this makes the middle difficulties easier to win because an astute player can easily block the others from getting enough regions to win. It's the easiest level where players have to watch out for airlines expanding into regions he may not be able to reach as they go for the win.
- Instant-Win Condition: Regardless of size or overall passenger totals, the first airline to meet all the goals, wins. This can lead to some odd situations where a large airline, dominating the passenger totals, profits by big margins, loses to a much smaller airline that happen to dominate their home region and expand into three otherwise ignored regions.
- I Want My Jetpack: Some aircraft featured in the game were designs expected (by the dev team) to enter full production, but never even made it off the drawing board, such as the McDonnell-Douglas MD-12.
- Just Plane Wrong: Though most aircraft have historically accurate phase-in and discontinuation dates, they don't feature accurate seating capacities or operational ranges.
- Karl Marx Hates Your Guts: Though you can sell old aircraft to "World Lease" at half-price, you can never purchase any used aircraft to bolster your fleet, and all aircraft are sold at a fixed price which never moves even as the design ages.
- My Rules Are Not Your Rules / Not Playing Fair With Resources: If your airline runs in the red for a year, it goes bankrupt and you lose. If an AI airline runs in the red for a year, it goes bankrupt, changes its name and gets a huge influx of cash to start over and bounce back.
- No Bulk Discounts: Aircraft prices are not eased by purchasing in large quantities. However, manufacturers will sometimes offer their planes at half-price for one turn. One cannot imagine how much money Boeing loses when you buy 10x 747-400s at half price and never purchase another one again.
- Slightly averted in Supersonic: If more than half of your fleet is composed of Boeing Aircraft, you will get a 10% discount on future Boeing purchases. If the fleet composition falls below half, the discount is lost. International Relations can also affect the price of aircraft. (Example: If the attitude between your home country and the US is rated green (positive), you can purchase American aircraft at a 10% lower cost.)
- No Export for You: As mentioned above, Air Management '96 was only released in Japan.
- No Plot? No Problem!: Justified as the goal is to start and expand an airline.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: The Supersonic Era from the 1994-released Aerobiz Supersonic has the player starting in 2000.
- We Buy Anything: The "World Lease" corporation will purchase any aircraft and at any quantity from you. Got a '40s era, piston-powered Lockheed L1049 to sell in 1974? We'll buy it for half the price you purchased it!
- Zeerust: Futuristic predictions of huge, 1000-passenger airliners & supersonic airliners traversing the globe seem almost quaint for someone who picks up the game now.