Whenever we discuss the games we still want to see on Virtual Console, Pilotwings is always near the top of the list. Granted, it's usually the more advanced Nintendo 64 sequel we mention first, but this early SNES title is still enjoyable enough to be considered a true classic.
As one of the first SNES games to be released, Pilotwings is still surprisingly impressive to look at. It makes great use of the SNES's Mode 7 capabilities (the ability to rotate and scale flat textures to make them look 3D) to give a startlingly believable impression that you're flying in a three-dimensional space.
There are various modes of flying machines to control in Pilotwings, each of which has its own strengths and weaknesses so you need to learn how to control them all effectively. We reckon the light plane and rocketbelt are the best of the bunch, but you may prefer the hang-glider, the skydiving missions or even the odd bonus mission you get at the end of the game. That's the point though: the joy of Pilotwings is its ability to appeal to many people.
Most importantly it's still great fun to play. Each test in the game grades you on various factors which add up to a total score of 100. It's balanced well enough that less dedicated gamers will be able to get a long way into the game without too many problems, whereas die-hards will spend age trying to score 100 points on every level.
Admittedly the N64 version of Pilotwings improved on the formula but this SNES version is still a superb game and one of those classic pieces of Nintendo history that every fan should own. There's nothing else like it on Virtual Console.