Flying cattle class from one continent to another has improved over the years, but one thing remains the same: the in-flight games are still pretty crap.
On my way over to and from Germany for Gamescom one year, I attempted to do something I’ve never had much success with before: sleep. That inevitably failed, so I opted to kill time by scouring through Emirates’ range of in-flight games, of which there are hundreds.
This story originally appeared in August 2017.
Accessible through the in-flight menu or the Vita-esque gamepad, Emirates serves 103 games to those flying cattle class on their long-haul flights. Most of those are singleplayer affairs and classical board games, like backgammon and Monopoly, although there’s a few multiplayer offerings like in-flight poker.
Nice to see Bejeweled on there.
The Emirates website proudly boasts that it’s been rated the best in-flight entertainment for the last 10 years running, but the airline’s a bit behind the times on the video game front. Singapore Airlines, for instance, had access to a small range of Nintendo games, including Super Mario Bros. Deluxe, Pokemon, Mario Golf, Zelda: Oracle of Ages and more.
Their website at the time of writing, however, has the same titles I saw on Emirates’ ICE system: Bejeweled 2, 2048, and Football Cup.
All the games I experienced had the quality and style of very early era smartphone games. The time of copyright on most of the ones I tried was from between 2008 and 2011, although there were a few games that were well over a decade old.
The developer on every game I saw was DTI Software, although they’re now part of the Global Eagle in-flight entertainment conglomerate. They’re the market leader for in-flight video games, and you can view their catalogue online.
Because Emirates’ ICE system had over a hundred games, I’ll simply go through my experience with each game I played. I whittled down the list to the ones that looked the most entertaining and ploughed…