You don't have to leave your PC to take to the skies. Interactive Magic's WarBirds software will put you in the cockpit of a virtual World War II fighter plane.
Just download the program from the company's iMagic Online Web site, and practice your flying and shooting skills offline. Then log back on and leave a credit-card number, and you can fly an historically accurate vintage fighter plane. Choose an American P-40, a German Messerschmitt, a Japanese Zero, or one of 47 other fighters.
The WarBirds cyberskies can host more than 200 virtual aces at one time. You and a friend can make an appointment to duel each other, or you can seek out an enemy by patrolling the skies. WarBirds includes iMagic Online's MEGAvoice technology, which enables you to speak with other cyberpilots directly over the Internet as the battle heats up: "Curse you, Red Baron!" Oops. Wrong war.
Coordinates: $9.95 per month, including five hours of play; $2 per hour thereafter. WarBirds 2.01, Interactive Magic, www.imagicgames.com
A version of this article appeared in the October 1998 issue of Fast Company magazine.