Well before I got into the Super Nintendo, I had an obsession with airplanes and aircraft of all kinds. This stemmed from, all of my 4th grade library time being spent reading books on planes. While most people were reading R.L. Stine (Goosebumps), Steinbeck and Agatha Christie; I was engrossed in Boeing, McDonald-Douglas, Concord and Chinook Helicopters. By the time, I’d hit middle school, I could tell you if a military jet was Russian, American, French or British.
I really was in love with them and still am, to this day, sadly those dreams of piloting an F/A-18 Superhornet are long gone. Perhaps, I’ll yet get to step onto a B-2 Spirit at a museum, but the closest I ever got to flying planes was through videogames.
My first connect between my love of aircraft and games came from Capcom’s U.N. Squadron for the Super Nintendo. By the time, this was released the company was a huge player in the shooter market with 1942 and its sequels. But this little gem was bolder and better experience than anything during its time.
First thing I noticed was that I had the ability to pick not one, but three different pilots, whom had their own unique abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Best of all, you were able to purchase upgrades, new jets and special weapons. This game was fucking awesome!
Not only was I able to blow up bases with an A-10 Warthog (ie, the Widowmaker) I was able to earn credits and gain new abilities to improve my squadron!
Not only was U.N Squadron ahead of its time, it was also HARD AS SHIT!!! But it was also, one of the first games to feature a difficulty option. If you played it on easy, you could breeze through it. I manned-up and went on the “Hard” side though, and holy shit I was sweating bullets whenever I got through some parts. There were harder shooters out there, but this one is up there as one my favorite shooters.