Written by : Bad Mofo
Original Date: October 10, 2008

Aerobiz/Aerobiz Supersonic
Publisher: KOEI
Year: 1992/1994
Platforms: Sega Mega Drive, Nintendo SNES

I don’t know if you younger lot will remember this, but back in the day, buying videogames was a real adventure of sorts. First of all, when I was younger, Hall Road (the gaming hub of Lahore until the main shop there, Kiran Electronics, decided to branch out and open a branch in Liberty) was like a galaxy far far away. And I had to save up and beg my folks to let me go there once a month.

And once I got there, I was met with row upon row of games that the shop-wallah had no frikkin’ clue about! There was a literal ocean of black, square shaped plastic goodness and then there was me floating helplessly in the middle, dreaming how one day, I shall own them all.

Anyway, my point is that finding a game that was good was something to really write home about. You see this is before the internet, and you could get a game for the price of a new video-game magazine, and old books weren’t so big in Lahore yet.

But then, one fine day, I saw this strange little cartridge resting in the back somewhere. It had a picture of an aeroplane and this CEO type character sitting on his desk. It intrigued me, to say the least. The shop-wallah said he hadn’t been able to sell this one since it came for him 3-4 months back; some kid had traded it in for some other crappy game. So he let it go for a fraction of the price.

And so began my love affair with one of the nicest (and only, I believe!) business strategy games around: Aerobiz!

Koei are geniuses at releasing strategy games. Apart from this little gem, Koei’s famous for their “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” games (which were the basic premise for the “Dynasty Warrior” games, FYI). But this is the game I will forever associate with the company: a fresh, absolutely addictive game that doesn’t feature killing of maiming! Who thought it was even possible?

In the game, you are the CEO of an up-and-coming airline. You get to name it and start from a home city with some amount of cash in your pockets. You get to start routes between cities all around the world. Aerobiz also featured different aeroplanes from different eras. For example, in one of the scenarios, you go from having a DC 10 to owning a fleet of supersonic “experimental” Boeing planes.

The strategy elements came in the shape of different things. You had to buy slots in different cities in order to open more flights to that city. But too many slots, and you’d have too many under-utilized flights. But you could counter that with lowering the plane tickets as to attract more people on to that particular route. But then, you could start making a loss on the flight. Then you have to buy planes that are small and more efficient of the fuel. You get the picture!



You could also buy hotels and other stuff to boost business in other cities. Apart from that, you had to maintain advertising, service and maintenance budgets.

And all while competing with 3 other airlines!

Aerobiz is a milestone in gaming in my opinion. I personally cannot remember any other business simulation game that was ever made. And it’s simple enough for anyone to pick it up, yet complicated enough for it to take a couple of tries before you get good at it.

The graphics weren’t mind-blowing. However, they were better than expected for a game which is all about numbers anyway. And the music was nice to say the least, not grand in its scale in any way. Functional though. But those things aren’t what this game was about. This was about the most addictive strategy game I’ve ever played.

Koei decided to jump on the bandwagon once again two years later with “Aerobiz Supersonic”, which was basically the same game with better graphics and about 2 new things in the game mechanics section! However, this fixed most of the annoying things about the original and is still the one I play often.

Koei should get off its arse and seriously think about making this game again for the next-generation consoles. I think it would do wonderfully as a downloadable game. And besides, who else thinks we’ve had enough “Dynasty Warriors” to last us a lifetime?




The ultimate personal proof of how much this game means to me: I got a larger hard-disk on my original Xbox about a couple of years back. I asked my shop-wallah to install a couple of cool games on it like the newly released “KOTOR 2: The Sith Lords”. I came home and I found out that the dude had put some emulators in the hard-disk as well. To cut a long story short, I found the SNES emulator, loaded up “Aerobiz Supersonic” and stayed up all night playing that, forgetting all about KOTOR 2!