Air Warpier

Ages ago, after I stopped playing Stellar Emperor, but before I started in on Gemstone and eventually Sojourn/Toril MUD, there was a game I played called Air Warrior.

It was an online game featuring real-time, multi-player, air combat.

In 1988.

I played the game, first on a Mac SE, then on a Mac SE/30, which featured a 9″ black and white 512 x 342 display and a blazing fast 16MHz Motorola 68030 processor.  It was hot stuff back in the day.

Air Warrior could also be played on the Amiga, Atari ST, and eventually, on MS-DOS compatible machines.

Dozens of people would be online every night, on the GEnie network, flying, fighting, and dying online in a 3D environment that existed before 3D acceleration was even a consideration.

I even saw Jerry Pournelle in game one night.  Though, as I recall, all he did was fly off in the wrong direction and complain that if the game were realistic, we would all by flying Mustangs, not the Spitfires and Focke-Wulfs the knowing players favored. (It was the 20mm cannons we all wanted, they made possible a one-pass kill and screw all that dog-fighting… or stall fighting… nonsense.)

Of course, in the age of Intel 386 machines and 1200 bps modems (I was special, I had a 2400 bps Zoom modem) things were not always as smooth as everybody wished.

Some nights it was a nightmare of warping around the sky, shooting at targets that were not there, and being shot down by people nowhere near you.

It was no doubt one of those nights that spawned this parody of the Air Warrior Macintosh help screen:

Air Warpier

Air Warpier

I wish I had the real screen for a comparison shot.

I found this file deep in an old folder that has been dragged from computer to computer for the past 18 years at least.

I do not remember who put this beauty together, but I am sure that the 4-Q Squadron had a hand in it somehow.

Aside from that screen and a map of the “new” pacific theater that came along when they redid the terrain, I have no pictures or screen shots left from the game.

Proposed Pacific Theater 1988

Proposed Pacific Theater 1988

So Air Warrior and those early days of multi-player gaming is only a memory for me now.

Kesmai and Air Warrior lived on for a while after the passing of GEnie, but were eventually purchased by Electronic Arts and disappeared.  Where have I heard that story before?

The spirit of Air Warrior lives on today in the game Aces High.

10 thoughts on “Air Warpier

  1. Talyn

    Ah I loved Air Warrior on my Amiga! The memories…

    Since I lived in Dayton, OH at the time, Kesmai even asked me to go to Wright Patterson AFB to research some of the aircraft. They got me access to the archives and I spent most of the day looking through old files and photocopying what they wanted.

    It’s too bad our MMO’s don’t have the ability to construct campaigns with air/ground battles around player towns…


  2. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Oh, Dayton, Ohio, I’ve been there. I was there for the Air Warrior convention back in… oh… 1989. We went to the Air Force museum and the Dayton Air Show.

    Were you there for that event?


  3. msmiller

    The Air Warpier thing was done by Flush Garden (5186 … I think that was his number anyway) … and yes, he was a 4Q. And the originator of “HAR!”



  4. Flush Garden

    Yes, it’s true. Cap’n Trips and I had a few beers one afternoon and plastered up the “Air Warpier” start up screen. Special thanks to Cap’n Trips for the inspiration.

    Flush Garden


  5. Flush Garden

    Correction. I had the beers, not Trips. Which is my advice to you all… start drinking heavily. Happy New Year!


  6. au

    Har! Avast ye swine! Bash thar skulls wit’ a be’layin’ pin, arrrr! …

    Let’s interpret and critique, shall we?

    Ohh no! We can’t live without tats! Piercings, too!

    Go fer it! Make it ugly. Repeatedly. gaack

    <— Meanwhile, your so-called “girlfriend” or “wife” is doing the “wild thang” while you just dope…

    By the Troggs, Wild Thang…

    “Wild thing, I think I love you!”
    Wild thing, when I kiss you,
    I taste what other men had for lunch!”

    …and the list is endless…

    My advice to you all is to start drinking heavily. Very heavily.

    One final comment? THESE are the good old days. Not before. Not later. Now.

    Act accordingly.

    Thank you. <— deep bow



  7. Bader (2722)

    Hail from the Damned! Raise your glass and keep your sheep well hidden! Nice to see that this crappy old game is still remembered. When I fire up IL-2, and see the gorgeously detailed aircraft, and flight crew in the cockpits, I just think back to air Warrior and its wire graphics and know that the world is a much safer place because of the battles we fought back then.


  8. Flush Garden

    Yep, AW was a crappy game. From its near-abortive birth to its long overdue death, it was orchestrated by the unwilling, the unable, and the criminally insane. To be fair, it serves as a touchstone on two levels: how to do a few things right and how to do all other things completely farked up.

    That being said, and acknowledging all of its sharp-stick-in-the-eye failures, I still can’t think of a multi-player flight sim that was more fun to play. AW was the easiest and, by far, the most fun to play. A forgotten concept these days.

    Aces High, you say? Well, unless you’re a “pin-ball wizard” that can deal with the cosmic myriad of setup options and have 12 to 14 fingers on the keyboard, that game sux donkey dix, too.

    By the way, I was banned from Aces High for using a free program off the net that set my fuel to near zero and my ammo & wep to unlimited. Those dweebs at High Tech have no sense of humor. Har!



    P.S. There’s just not that much you can say about apathy.


  9. Flush Garden

    Har, me maties!

    Yes, I created the “Air Warpier” start up screen. To be fair, Cap’n Trips gave me the inspiration and some detailed tips on building that graphic. My favorite contribution in the hilarious milieu is, “GEnie is a greedmark of the General Electric Information Services Company,” hehe


    — “If you’re too proud to cheat, you don’t deserve to win.” — Favorite saying aboard the USS Midway in 1975 while countering the Soviet technological threat.


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