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a game by Nintendo
Genre: Fighting Games
Platform: SNESSNES
Editor Rating: 7.8/10, based on 6 reviews
User Rating: 7.5/10 - 4 votes
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See also: Simulator Games, Flying Games

Pilotwings is a video game released in Japan in 1990, U.S.A. in 1991 and one year later in Europe. The game was published for the first time for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and was developed by Entertainment Analysis and Development (EAD), Nintendo’s division led by Shigeru Miyamoto. The game is a flight simulator which allows the player to earn a virtual pilot license through lessons taken in a light aircraft.

The player can use rocketbelts, hang gliding and skydiving and he has bonus stages and an attack helicopter. There are a bunch of events on the map, with each one of the offering unique controls and gameplay mechanics. The game uses SNES’s Mode 7, which mimics 3D graphics by rotating and scaling flat objects.

The game takes place in training areas called the “Flight Club” and, as stated earlier, the main objective is the player to pass each training area and earn a flying license based on the difficulty of the training courses. The events in each area can be tackled in any order the player wishes, but all of them have to be fulfilled in order for the player to get a license. Each area or training can be re-taken as many times as the player needs.

There are four different aircrafts in the game and the player can choose which one to use, but has a pre-set time limit he has to fit into. At the end of the task the player receives points and comments from the virtual instructors. The time left on the clock, the accuracy of the landing and the completion of the event are some of the elements which are going to be pointed out by the instructors.

As stated earlier, there are also some bonus events in the game. These events add to the player’s score, even if it’s already 100, which should be the maximum. Maneuvering a diving penguin into a pool, bouncing a winged man across a series of trampolines and other interesting challenges are part of the bonus stages.

The game was both a commercial and a market hit and received favorable feedback from the reviewers. Critics were impressed with the pseudo-3D system and considered it “jaw-dropping”, which for that time was a fantastic achievement.

The game was listed in 2006 as the 153rd best game on a Nintendo console by Nintendo Power and was listed on IGN’s “Top 100 Games of All Time” on 74th in 2003 and 91st in 2007. In 2008 the game was named the 16th best release for SNES by Game Daily, and the positive feedback continued to come.

Some critics stated the game sold over two million copies as of August 1996. Pilotwings 64 was this releases’ sequel and was developed for the Nintendo 64 in 1996. Though it was planned, a second sequel was cancelled.

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System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Pentium II (or equivalent) 266MHz (500MHz recommended), RAM: 64MB (128MB recommended), DirectX v8.0a or later must be installed

Game Reviews

The scaling and rotation abilities of the Super Famicom are shown off to great effect with this flight simulator, jetpack and parachute jump game all-in-one! The realtime three-dimensional environments created by the Super Fami are breathtaking but get blocky at close range.

Pilot Wings from Nintendo will be one of the first titles available for the Super NES. This cart takes advantage of Mode 7 in almost every way. The scaling and rotation are so smooth in this game that those with a weak stomach may find themselves air sick. Basically this cart was made to show off what the Super NES can really do, but with it's unique theme and incredible realism this game will become an instant classic. The 4 main styles of flying you can try are flying a biplane, hang gliding, sky diving, and jet pack. Then if you qualify you can raid the enemy camp with a helicopter to win the game.

Are you ready to take off with Pilotwings? This unusual flight simulator from Nintendo takes full advantage of the Super Nintendo's ability to rotate onscreen images 360 degrees. Gorgeous graphics bring each of the game's eight levels to breathtaking life (hope you don't suffer from vertigo).

Your task is to earn enough points to satisfy your flight instructor so that he passes you on to the next level of challenge. You earn points by passing tests using various flying devices.

Here's where it gets interesting. The flying devices at your disposal include a parachute, a hang glider, a conventional bi-plane, a helicopter, and even a jet pack. In the early stages of the game you simply use each device to pass tests and score points by hitting targets and successfully landing. As the game advances you're called upon to maneuver around or through obstacles and perform aerial acrobatics. If you pass all eight levels you reach a final secret combat level that sends you out on a night mission in a helicopter.


  • As you use the Parachute to land, spiral in towards the center of the target, using the comers to trace your spiral.
  • If you use the Parachute or Jet- pack to land directly on a moving target you'll go to a bonus stage.
  • To evade enemy guns during the landing sequence in the Helicopter level, cruise in low over the ground until you reach the landing target.

Care to soar through the air with the greatest of ease? If so, Pilotwings may give you just the lift you've been looking for.

You'll soar, swoop, dive and glide in this fantastic flight simulation game. This isn't a typical "fly a jet" type of simulator, rather, a chance for gamers to get the feel of skydiving, hang gliding, soaring in a biplane, and blasting around in a rocket pack. The game features several levels composed of different combinations of all these flight skills.

The first thing you notice about Pilot Wings is the magnificent graphics. For example, when you skydive you get the same view you would if you really jumped out of a plane. You can flip and turn in mid-air, just make sure you keep an eye on your ground target or you'll end up in the water. Hitting air targets awards you bonus points if you can glide through them during your descent. Once you open your chute (the computer indicates the best time to pull the rip cord), you must compensate for wind currents and your speed of descent. With practice, you'll hit the target almost every time.

Flying a biplane is slightly more challenging. You have to land the plane on the runway carefully. Damaging your aircraft nets you major penalties. Check out the sweeping landscape as you circle to the right or the left.

The rocket pack combines the skills you pick up during skydiving and in the biplane. You need to fly through three air targets, ascend to a certain height, and slowly drop down on top of a target. Miss and you're penalized big time.

If you master the biplane, the rocket pack, and skydiving, you pass the second level and you get to try hang gliding. Hang gliding is similar to using the rocket pack. You have to attain a certain altitude, then shoot for a smooth landing. We kept nose-diving into the drink during this portion of the game. Looks like it's back to flight school for us!

The first breed of Simulator on the S-NES. Take control of many different vehicles and items that will challenge every piloting skill that you can muster. Take control of an ancient biplane. Learn to control your weight while suspended from a parachute. Perfect your hang gliding skills. Even steer the power of a jetpack through a very taxing obstacle course! A treat for all simulator fans everywhere!

People say:


This game is less of a game than it is a show-off cartridge for what your Super NES can do with its scaling and rotation. For the great majority of the game, it's you against yourself in various flying craft testing skills of aviation in a real pseudo-three-dimensional universe. Pretty good!


Yes, it looks good, and it does things no other home game has ever been able to do but, when it gets down to it, the actual game is rather thin. I tired of the gee-whiz scaling and rotation after the first hour and then started looking for the challenge, which never appeared.


Pilot wings doesn't have the graphics and sound that other Super NES games have but the game gives a whole new light to flight simulation. I like the different things you can pilot and the jet pack is my favorite. The best thing about this game are the really cool wipe outs you have.


Pilot Wings is a cool show-off game for the Super Nintendo's new Mode 7 scaling and rotational capabilities. The challenge is high, and it even has a touch of humor! Try landing without opening your parachute! Hilarious! I hope Nintendo makes a sequel to this one.

Snapshots and Media

SNES/Super Nintendo/Super Famicom Screenshots