The Game: Take to the sky for some biplane battle with Baron von Richtoven himself! In a combat environment where banking too sharp can either be a daring maneuver or certain doom, your mission is to take out as many enemies as you can before you yourself accumulate too many bullet holes in the sides of your biplane. Dirigibles also make tempting targets and, for the truly daring, there are land-based tanks nestled near mountains and civilian homes. The game is over when the last of your planes is shot down. (Atari, 1980)
Memories: Emboldened by their first-person tank combat simulator Battlezone, Atari also set out to create the first ever first-person flight combat simulator. (Presumably this fascination with first-person combat sims predated Atari’s shotgun wedding with the U.S. Army that resulted in the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle Trainer.) And lest you think there’s no connection between Battlezone and Red Baron, take a close look at that cabinet – it’s exactly the same design as the Battlezone cabinet, minus the periscope-style viewer and second joystick.
As far as pure gaming thrills go, some players may find the controls a little too responsive – it’s all too easy to find yourself kissing the ground after a dive that’s just a little too steep. Not like there are really any historical records pointing up the safety record of biplane combat, mind you. And unlike Battlezone‘s steady movement through a land-based terrain, it’s very easy to get disoriented in Red Baron, and that makes you an easy target (or a falling rock).