It's 1916: a hundred years ago, the First World War had been raging for two years already, but it was only just beginning in the air. Before, whenever formally enemy pilots had met by chance, the worst thing that would happen was that they'd take out their pistols and shoot at one another before they went their own ways again – more often, they probably just waved. The introduction of mounted machine guns synchronised with the propeller changed all that; for the first time, it enabled actual dogfights between planes.
With the advent of new technologies comes a time of innovation, a time when pioneers set out to explore the potential of the latest inventions. Red Baron is remarkable in this concern because it is not only about the early days of a new kind of warfare, but because it was in itself one of the first dedicated combat flight simulators for home computers set in this era. And so it helped to lay down the basics of the genre just like the historical biplanes in it did for the aerial combat. A very fitting combination so to speak which gives the game a timeless appeal: Entering this world of rough 3D graphics and simplistic flight models seems to have a lot in common with taking off in one of those fragile flying machines of WWI. But let us take a look at how exactly this works to the game’s (dis)advantage and what else makes it a classic.