Tracon II

Simulation 1990 Dos Wesson International Trade or management Business

Bring her in to land!

The original Tracon was a very basic and unfortunately not very enjoyable air traffic control game which was ambitious but rather let down by the limitations of the period (and the fact that air traffic controlling is hard to translate into a fun game). Unfortunately, this sequel was only released a year later, so technology hadn't come on very far, and it too remains a less than enthralling experience. It's not terrible, but it's got a very specialist appeal, so if you think it's something you might enjoy, you probably will, and if you don't, well, run away screaming. As you'd expect, you're given the role of an air traffic controller, and it's your responsibility to look after all the planes in a given area. Your task is slightly simpler than in the real world, but you'll have to set the courses for the planes on the tarmac and organize everything so that the landings are all as efficient as possible. Most of your work is done via the radar screen, and you'll find the occasional emergency popping up to really keep you on your toes. There's no denying that this is a pretty clever bit of software, and it was even used to train real controllers before someone realized it could be marketed as entertainment software. However, while it's quite engaging for a short while, it soon becomes apparent that there isn't much going on in the way of fun here. The crude visuals and speech don't help matters much, and although it's not too difficult to pick up, the tedium soon comes in and kicks out the fun. In summary, this is interesting rather than enjoyable.

Air control sim that shows its age

In the realm of sims, over the years, few types of jobs or occupations have not been put on the raster and digitized. However, air control sims have not had a lot of prevalence in the decisions of game designers, and, with the exception of a few Nintendo DS titles, the genre has't been very fruitful. The problem might be inherent in the way traffic simulations involving air control can be broken down in to separate pieces. On one had there are the landing strips to manage, the hangars, the personnel the luggage, the security, which can play a role in the games, and then there is the actual work of traffic controllers, who have to direct air traffic and whose job is quite repetitive and generally unrewarding in the way it can be digitally portrayed. Tracon II takes an interesting path, in that it keeps graphical elements almost to a minimum, with the ships flight only being described as radar information. In a sense, were it not for the game like elements, this could well be an actual radar post training sim. So, be warned, this isn't a fun arcade game, it's a serious simulation focusing on radar post management and air control.

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