Gaming on a long haul flight is one of the best ways to pass the time, but you don't have to haul your laptop with you to enjoy some decent gaming experiences as you jet across the country or its surrounding oceans. Some of the better airlines out there include a broad selection of in-flight entertainment, including a number of games.
We've taken a look at the catalogs of the world's leading airlines to compare their selections of games to help you pick the right one for your next flight.
Singapore Airlines has the most robust in-flight entertainment system we've come across. It's received widespread acclaim for its selection of movies, music, and TV, but it's the games we're most interested in. The official website lists gaming classics like Bejeweled 2, Battleship, Sudoku, Pacman, Golf Open, and Tetris as potential games, but there are more that aren't talked about here.
You may need to get lucky with which flight you're on, but for almost a decade, Singapore Airlines have offered a number of portable Nintendo games too. There's a selection of titles including various Pokémon games, a few Legend of Zelda titles, Super Marios Bros., and Mario Golf, among others.
It's all handled through solid emulation with responsive controls and frame rates.
Although it doesn't have Nintendo games to enjoy, Qatar Airways has a reasonable selection of in-flight titles you could have a play with. Among various card and casino games like Solitaire, Checkers and Five Card Draw, there are a number oif quiz games, trivia titles, and a few arcade games too. Some are multiplayer, letting you play against your fellow passengers.
For more serious gamers, there's also BoxKnox Reloaded boxing, Homerun Hero, and Kasparov Chessmate Legacy.
With one of the most extensive collections of in-flight games – hundreds, by the most recent counts – Emirates has a lot to pick from. That means there's a lot more chaff than wheat to be found, but if you dig through the selection there are a few fun ones out there. During Kotaku's extensive review of the games last year, they highlighted titles like Heavy Weapon, a decent side-scrolling shooter from Popcap's 2000s catalog, Tennis Showdown – a strange, heavy hitting sports title, and some more realistic sports options like 3D Football and 3D Cricket.
Another reasonably entry in the list that steers away from licensed properties (but provides something close to them) is Turkish Airlines. It has a mixed selection of action and sports titles, including 8 Ball Pool, Fish Fighter, and Sudoku. Its best games are probably the shooters, including Stop Those Aliens, and Bird vs Bird. The games are listed by category and genre, letting you find something good to play by yourself or with a child.
Boasting a selection of 60+ Android based games, Etihad has a number of titles to pick from. There are the typical entries from the same developers as everyone else, like Monsters Unitervisty Hide and Seek, PacMan, Invasion, and Luxor, but also some more licensed properties like Angry Birds: World Tour, and Jack-Jack's Escape, based on the Incredibles franchise.
Its most impressive game, though, is Infinite Flight Etihad Airways Flight, a full airplane simulator that lets you fly various planes around the world. You'll have to control your speed, altitude and heading to make sure that the flight arrives on time.
Not to be outdone by their international competitors, Delta Airlines has a decent selection of games to play in-flight. Kasparov Chess makes its reappeance, as do a few other DTI Software games, but there's also the classic Bejeweled, and a puzzle game called Caveman which went down rather well when one writer reviewed it just over a year ago. Geospot was well received too, with a Carmen Sandiago-like trivia experience that has you guessing where in the world certain landmarks are. You can even compete with your fellow passengers if you like.
Image source: Flights.com.kw