Successful games like Zelda, Ultima, Baldur's Gate and others dazzle us with an atmospheric fantasy world, challenge by fighting against hostile forces and offer a lot of experience for further survival. The top-down perspective – i.e. moving on a kind of world map – is a striking common feature of the aforementioned classics. The player has a top-down view of the environment and his avatar, but without taking over the avatar's field of vision and thus his role – as is usual in 3D shooters. In this kind of flight over the actual scene, the player is a bit further away from the action and gets a more abstract picture of the game's progress. The mentioned game titles nevertheless manage to captivate the player without much effort and integrate him into the story. This is achieved by the perfection of the well-known technical elements like graphics, music, game mechanics and also the psychological incentives, which reward a fight with progress in the story and increase the experience points.
So-called business simulations were a mainstay of the German computer games market of the 80s and 90s. Most of them are forgotten today. Mad TV, on the other hand, has taken permanent residence in players' collective minds. It hardly takes much investigation to know why. The game stands as proof how Rainbow Arts was the place at the turn of the decade where most creative and talented minds came together, making this company the incubator for much of the local industry of the coming decades.
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.