Many dream about flying, and why not, it represents a certain freedom that most will simply never experience. For those with a great deal of time and money, a pilot’s license is the closest thing one can obtain that will make these dreams a reality. For the rest, it is necessary to find an adequate simulation of the experience. For decades, PC Flight Simulator games have allowed those at home to experience the thrill and danger of flight. The genre’s constant changes have led to a wide range of products, perhaps even beyond the imagination of the original programmers.
Flight simulator games for PC date back to the earliest days of gaming history.
These games were, much as they are today, true simulations of flight. Early games focused more on the (at the time) quite difficult task of programming a number of realistic flight parameters into the program, with the graphical representation consisting of little more than simple line graphics. The look of the thing, of course, was not the point – an enthusiast would be able to experience some of the sensation of controlling a plane from their own home, an experience that had been previously thought impossible.
The PC flight simulator genre became more popular with the faster computers.
With more powerful graphics available on the newer computers, the PC flight simulator games began to provide more detailed graphic representations of scenery. The genre itself began to split in two – the games that kept the “pure” spirit of simulation flying, and those that combined the simulation with combat oriented tasks. Both sides would continue to flourish throughout the 1980s, finally culminating in the breathtaking 3D-rendered games released in the late 1990s. Featuring fully simulated cockpits, instrument readouts, and scenery, these games pushed the boundaries of what one could do with a home computer.
The 21st century has seen a relative fall in interest in PC flight simulator games, with releases seemingly only targeted towards niche audiences. Games like ProFlight Simulator and Flight Simulator X continue to add more and more realism to the genre, and flight simulation enthusiasts are treated to some of the best simulations ever produced. Whether or not the genre will see a resurgence is still debatable, but the enthusiasm of a few has guaranteed that the games will remain in production so long as there are those willing to buy the programs.
Flight simulator games for PC are nearly as old as personal computing. These games have evolved from rough graphical presentations to truly breathtaking 3D masterpieces, all the while attempting to stay as true to the source material as possible. While most will never feel the thrill of flying an airplane, these games allow any armchair pilot the chance to fly some of the most advanced craft currently in the air. The heyday of the genre may have long since gone by, but the products available on the market are still quite entertaining. If you are looking for a challenge, investigating modern flight simulators is well worth your time.