Pilotwings 64 is a video game for the Nintendo 64, originally released in 1996 along with the debut of the console. The game was co-developed by Nintendo (primarily Nintendo EAD, who developed the original game) and the American visual technology group Paradigm Simulation. It was one of three launch titles for the Nintendo 64 in Japan as well as Europe and one of two launch titles in North America. Pilotwings 64 is a follow-up to Pilotwings for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), which was a North American launch game for its respective console in 1991. Also like that game, Pilotwings 64 received production input from Nintendo producer and EAD General Manager Shigeru Miyamoto.
Pilotwings 64 is a 3D amateur flight simulator that puts the player in control of one of six pilots as they try to earn pilot licenses through various forms of aviation. The events are flying an autogyro, using a jet pack, and hang gliding. Several bonus tasks are offered, such as skydiving and a human cannonball test. The game also puts focus on allowing the player to freely explore its detailed 3D environments, most notably a miniature representation of the United States.
Pilotwings 64 is a 3D flight simulator in which the player must complete a variety of missions involving different airborne vehicles and air sports. Before each mission, the player must choose one of six character pilots, each with their own advantages and disadvantages based on factors such as weight. The tests presented to the player require him or her to complete an objective in order to earn a license for the given event. Depending on the mission, points are awarded or deducted based on time, damage, fuel usage, accuracy, softness of landing, and similar criteria. The player is awarded either a bronze, silver, or gold license based on the number of points attained. More difficult tests become available as the player progresses.
There are three main events in Pilotwings 64 required to complete the game, each of which has its own objectives and unique flight controls centered around the Nintendo 64 controller's single analog stick. The first, hang gliding, usually requires the player to fly through a series of floating marker rings or snap a photograph of a particular piece of scenery before landing in a target area. The player's movement is affected by wind currents and altitude can be gained by flying through thermal columns. The second event is the 'Rocket Belt', a jet pack that allows the player to move and gain height as well as hover, tilt, and rotate in the air using the belt's equipped thrusters. Goals entail flying through rings or popping large balloons before landing. The third event, the gyrocopter, challenges the player to take off and land on a runway after completing objectives like navigating a path of rings or destroying targets with missiles. Pilotwings 64 also features several bonus events that are unlocked if the player performs well in the main missions. The player can also earn medals on many of these events. They include skydiving, a human cannonball event, and the 'Jumble Hopper', which grants the player special spring-loaded boots to be used in bouncing across the landscape to an end space. Lastly, Pilotwings 64 features a 'Birdman' mode that puts the character in a bird suit and gives players the opportunity to freely explore the game's detailed, object-dense environments set among its four distinct islands. One of the islands is based on the United States, and has geographical replications of famous landmarks including the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore and major cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City.
How to play:
Click on the joystick icon in the Pilotwings 64 online emulator to see how to control the Pilotwings 64 game