Pilotwings 64 Shutter Bug tests and free photo mode

Pilotwings 64 is a 3D amateur flight simulator released in 1996 for Nintendo 64. It contained in its gameplay special missions (“Shutter Bug tests”) where the player had to take pictures while flying with a hang glider.  While these pictures where part of the game objectives and were evaluated to pass these levels, Pilotwings 64 also allowed the possibility to just take pictures freely thoughout the game. This photo taking option (free from evaluation algorithms and point based systems) appears to be a very good candidate for pioneer/groundfather of the in-game photography phenomenon.


This is a big and difficult part of the Hang Glider tests. In the so called Shutter Bug tests, you must photograph one or more targets. These are the things you must photograph throughout the game: a flame from a smoke stack, a whale, a fountain, a monster(!), a passenger boat and a space shuttle.

Depending on how good your photograph is, your amount of points differ. You can always get a maximum of 60 photo points. If there are only one target that you must photograph, you get 60 points if that photograph is perfect. If there are two target, they split the 60 points. You can thus only get 30 points for a perfect shot. When there are three target, you can only get 20 points for a perfect photo. The 60 points are divided over the amount of photos.

When pressing and holding “Z”, a frame will appear. If you release “Z” a photo will be taken of the image that currently is displayed in the frame. You can take a maximum of six photos during one flight. I recommend you to divide them equally over the amount of targets in the mission.

To get any points at all, the target must be seen through the frame. If you succeed in taking the photograph, the words “OK” will be displayed directly there after. The tricky part is to get a perfect photo. To get it, you must have the target in the centre of the frame and it must take up as much space as possible, without being outside the frame. In the centre and take up as much space as possible. That’s it!

Pointers, eh? Try to bring up the photo frame early and advance towards the target slowly. Keep the target in the middle of the frame all the time, and shoot in the very last second; when the target takes up as much space as possible without being outside of the frame. If you do this correctly, you will get a perfect shot. In the test selection screen, you can always find sample photos: photos that are perfect. If you take the exact same photo, you will get a perfect score. These photos are also available if you press “Start”, while playing a Shutter Bug test.

Remember, that it is often important to search for a landing platform or a thermal current directly after you’ve taken your shot, just so you don’t crash.

After a test, you can always check the photos you’ve taken, and if you’re on a Shutter Bug test, you will get them evaluated and rated. The best shot, will be marked as “best shot”(!). Always check these photos. You will get a good idea of how they are rated and what you need to do to get it perfect.

When you’re not on a Shutter Bug test, you can just fly around and take photos on beautiful things if you wish. These can be saved in your album, if you check the photos after the fight. The album is available from the Option menu. I recommend you to photo for fun with the Birdman instead. It’s easier and you can get wherever you want.

source: “A Pilotwings 64 (PAL) FAQ/Walkthrough for Nintendo 64 by Christian Wall”, http://www.gamefaqs.com/n64/198292-pilotwings-64/faqs/24097

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