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Part of heightened public interest in air traffic controllers, there was a flurry of simulations in the early 1980's. Avalon Hill's slogan at the time, "You name it, we game it," guaranteed their entry into the genre, while Controller's cover captures the contemporary glamor of the profession. It is ironic that the same technology which brought air traffic control games like this one into the home would soon reduce the job's difficulty and consequent glamor.

Controller's game screen, in radar green, is split between a circular radar sweep and a list of eight planes intending to land at your airport. Those you choose to guide begin traveling away, while the computer handles the rest, mostly keeping them in the air as obstacles. The heading, velocity, and altitude of the planes is always on screen, but their precise location and the limiting factor of fuel can only be called up one plane at a time. Another key detail, the type of each craft, is left to your memory or a provided pad of paper. Small prop planes have forgiving turn radii and good gas mileage, but their small tanks give you only a couple do-overs. The big birds come in well-fueled but need a lot of time to get into an approach vector. By the time a jet airliner is on the on the small scope (the radar sweep can be switched between one hundred and ten miles) it's either lined up or flying by.

Adding difficulty and realism is the requisite 1000-foot separation among planes and the three miles between the center of your sweep and the airstrip. This means that you cannot line up the planes on a runway and simply assign a heading opposite their bearings: that'll bring them to you, not to a safe landing. However, verisimilitude works in your favor on the landing. Get them slowed down, dropped to a thousand feet, and in the pipe; the rest is up to the pilots, unless you've had the poor judgement to land two at once!


Controller Atari 8-bit When your out of fuel.... well you know
Controller Atari 8-bit 100 mile radar sweep
Controller Atari 8-bit 10 mile radar sweep - plane A missed approach low on fuel
Controller Atari 8-bit Title

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Computer Gaming World (CGW) Atari 8-bit Jul, 1982 Unscored Unscored


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Contributed to by Servo (57411) and me3D31337 (62128)