46th place on the list of Definitive 50 SNES games goes to the airline business simulator Aerobiz Supersonic. It was released in North America in 1994 for the Super Nintendo and SEGA Genesis. One of the first message you see when starting up this game is the line “From its Executive Series,” which is a reference to Aerobiz, the first in this series of business sims. Supersonic plays very similarly to its predecessor, but does add more options, and significantly more locations.
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In this game, the player takes the role of an airline CEO. Depending upon the difficulty selected, that player’s objective is to lead his or her company to corporate dominance in four to seven international regions. Four 20-year time periods are available to choose from, and players must meet their goals within that time frame.
The time eras are 1955-1975, 1970-1990, 1985-2005, and 2000-2020. Each period has its own flavour and quirks, dependent upon the history of that time. Events like the Cold War, the formation of the EU, wars, the Olympics, and natural disasters all appear in the game, and must be played around strategically. Changing technologies also affect gameplay, with planes capable of longer distance flights becoming available in later eras.
Current events are also important to consider when choosing where you will open your airline. Seven regions are available, each with several major cities to pick from as a hub. In the later eras, I would recommend picking Tokyo, as there are many small local cities you can charge highly to fly routes to, as well as the more obvious major regional cities. It is probably better to choose an American city in the earlier eras of the game, as many markets in the Asian and European regions are difficult to open up thanks to Cold War tensions.
Aerobiz demands players balance the needs of their customers with cold economic realities. As the CEO, you must strategically decide what cities to open routes to, where and what side businesses to buy, which flights you should gouge consumers on, and which ones you should undercut the competition on.
This business sim allows zero to four players to play, without the need for a multitap add-on. Four companies always compete in the game, and those roles can be filled by either humans or the computer. Humans will need to pass the controllers back and forth, as each person takes his or her turn individually.
Aerobiz isn’t the fastest paced SNES game, and it requires a patient player, willing to put up with a control scheme better suited to the PC (the game is not compatible with the SNES Mouse, which would have been ideal). However, it does offer deep and rewarding gameplay for those willing to stick it out. Aerobiz Supersonic is one of my personal favourite Super Nintendo games.
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