Image Credit: https://www.flightsimulator.com/media/
Once upon a time I might have described myself as a “gamer“. I owned the latest consoles, built my own PCs and spent more money than I should have in EB Games. Then, something happened. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but life changed… priorities shifted… nappies are expensive and time (it turns out) is a surprisingly scarce commodity. Yup, it’s hard to be both a “gamer” and a “dad”.
My taste in video games was broad. Sega Mega Drive’s side scrolling Sonic The Hedgehog was my first love. But I also enjoyed first person shooters like Halo, racing simulators such as Forza, the Resident Evil-driven third person horror genre, and classic city/world builders like Sim City and Civilisation. Then, there was Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Microsoft Flight Simulator is a game that is almost as old as I am, but it didn’t really hit my radar until Flight Simulator 2000 was released. This behemoth of a game was unlike anything else, because it contained no storyline, no element of fantasy or otherworldliness – in fact it did quite the opposite – it tried really, really hard to recreate the real world. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000 dreamed of giving the Average Joe (me) the chance to feel like they were doing something extraordinary – something only a (comparative) handful of humans ever get to experience – fly an aeroplane!
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000 included over 20,000 airports worldwide! It was a mind-blowing achievement which gave the game the feeling of containing the whole world. Naturally, such a huge game demanded a lot of resources, and a hefty 500 MHz processor was desirable, if stuttering was to be avoided. As a poor student, I could only dream of such performance, so I made do with what I had. My framerates suffered from time-to-time, but the overall experience was something pretty special.
Microsoft Flight Simulator evolved over time until the release of Flight Simulator X in 2006. Improved graphics, control and the ability to pilot planes such as the Boeing 737-800 made it more immersive than ever. People everywhere could live out their fantasies of being jumbo pilots, daredevils, or just flying a Cessna over beautiful landscapes.
Then it all stopped.
It seemed as though perhaps the genre had run its course. Perhaps the huge amount of money and effort that was going into creating more and more detailed and realistic environments could no longer be justified. For 13 years, the Microsoft Flight Simulator name went quiet…
To say I’m excited is an understatement. This is the game that has sparked my interest in gaming again, ever since the first whispers and tidbits of information started appearing last year. Microsoft Flight Simulator isn’t even complete yet and the images and video already look stunning.
Every time some new information about Flight Simulator is released I become more excited, and more blown away by the herculean effort creating this simulator has been. The scale and detail is incredible with the ultimate goal to recreate the feeling of piloting an aeroplane in the most realistic way possible. Nothing demonstrates this better than the following video from just two days ago.
Will Microsoft Flight Simulator be the game that reignites my enjoyment of computer games? I’d say its a pretty good bet!