There was a time when Microsoft Flight Simulator ruled the world. That time was the 1980s, admittedly, an era when a primitive but reasonably accurate flight simulator could provide untold hours of entertainment. Those glory days are long behind us, but good news has come out this week for fans of that particular kind of fun: The studio behind Train Simulator has signed a deal to bring Flight Simulator X to Steam, and the more recent (and apparently popular) X-Plane 10 is on its way too.
Scary true story. A week after ETS2 reversed, beeping, into my life, I collected a friend from a house in the middle of nowhere. We’d driven about a mile down a winding country lane when the friend enquired “Er, shouldn’t you be on the other side of the road?” Days of whisking simulated cargoes along simulated continental highways had stealthily displaced a decade and a half of unsimulated British motoring experience. I veered to the left, and blurted a confession.
The eight DVDs’ worth of scenery files have been installed, the joystick has been configured, and the cat has been fed. The moment has come.
Excitedly, I type the name of my local aerodrome into X-Plane 10’s search box and press ‘GO TO THIS AIRPORT’. A minute or two passes, then one of the dullest splash screens I’ve ever seen dissolves to reveal...