Sunday, September 19, 2021

Matter of Import 64: Airline [Cases Computer Software Ltd 1982]


Airline is an economic sim released for British microcomputers in 1982, including the BBC Micro, ZX81, and ZX Spectrum. It puts the player in charge of L-Air, an airline with a few million pounds in assets and not much else. The goal is to reach a net worth of 30 million in seven years and take over British Air, though this is easier sad than done.

Despite a few animated interstitial the game is textual in nature, with the player making menu choices as the game rolls along. Each year they must choose how many planes to charter for the year, the quality of staff to hire, and what kind of insurance to purchase. Choices having been made, the player finds out what if any random events happen during the year - from disastrous accidents and economic downturn to airline strikes and terrorism. All of these impact your yearly income or loss.

To help players make these choices players are given various charts and points of data, though figuring out exactly how that tracks to the game's simulations and the limited choices you're able to make isn't always exactly clear.

Still, it's a simple game, and after a few play-throughs you can pick up enough to have an idea of what you're doing. Whether this is worth doing depends on what you're looking for in your economic simulations, and how much time you feel like spending puzzling it out.

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