Michael has been an avid gamer and part time writer in more decades than he cares to remember.
I bloody loveFlight Simulations!
There, I said it, and I feel better for it. This type of game is available for just about every type ofcomputer and video games console ever created.
Ever since I remember my Granddad telling me of his stories in the R.A.F way back in WWII, I have always wanted to fly. My dream was to join the services in a pilot capacity, but with bad health that never became a possibility, let alone a reality, so I have made do since 1985 with whatever sims I could get my hands on. It's a passion that continues today, and I currently fly several of the latest and greatest Flight Simulations available on PC and Xbox 360.
To check out the BEST Combat Flight Simulators for PC click HERE
But, this article isn't about the new video games, it's all about the Retro Buzz of looking back at a hobby, and an obsession. Lets start from the very beginning.
Flight Sims on a Commodore 64?
I remember my 1st one, Ace on the Commodore 64. Of course graphically it was nothing special, and it wasn't overly complicated, but for me the ability to actually "fly" a mission was unprecedented.
Yes, there really was in flight refueling ! It was reviewed by Zzap! 64 and given 90%. It was followed 2 years later by A.C.E 2, which was not so highly acclaimed but added a cockpit frame, selectable load out (within limitations) and 2 player split screen! Awesome !!
Flight Controls on Amazon
Enter the Commodore Amiga
Aah, my faithful Amiga. That was a proper computer that was I tells ya. Better graphics, better sound, and quicker loading times with the use of a DISK DRIVE !! Seems Retro now, but it really was cutting edge way back then.
F18 Interceptor was the first here for me, it's what I bought the machine for truth be told.
Physics were starting to come into play, 10! different throttle settings and functioning afterburner, landing gear, flaps and carrier landings. One mission had you chasing a cruise missile, and the final mission was to take out an enemy carrier in San Francisco bay. Who can forget flying under the bridge for the 1st time!
Then came F19 Stealth Fighter, and the birth of the 100+ page manual (no, really, and they were totally awesome)!
Of course, there never really was an F-19 (or was there?!?) but the games was totally fantastic, and still rates extremely highly amongst those that have, and still play it. And yes, stealth did actually have a major influence in the game, picking you way through all the S.A.M sites.
F19 Stealth Fighter
Onwards and Upwards
Things just kept getting better and better. These are in no particular order I must say, but all of them were magnificent!
Strike Force Harrier
Don't really remember much about this one (must have been drunk that month), but who could pass up the opportunity to fly in the jet fighter that took back the Falklands!
Birds of Prey
Mixed bag this one, able to fly 40! different aircraft, providing you didn't want a different cockpit, cos they were all the same... Still, it added much needed variety, and showed that it could be done, and also offered a wide variety of missions.
To my mind, THE BEST multi-player experience available at the time (maybe joint first with Stunt Car Racer)Me and my best mate Stevee would spend hours on this, initially just trying to get the damn Amigas linked up via the null modem cable... And then of course trying to blow each other out of the sky when we had really really promised that we were actually going to bomb the runway."what's that beeping noise, oh you bastard, BOOM" etc. etc. Limited missions to be fair, but fully selectable load out, good variety of A2A and A2G missions and great physics and handling. I loved this game and spent far too many hours playing it.
F16 Combat Pilot
Another great multi-player game, but we were starting to wonder what was so special about the F-16 all of a sudden. Of course, Iron Eagle on video was always a good thing to watch before climbing into our (virtual) cockpits, which seemed to be getting better and better with each new release.
F16 Combat Pilot
Only the Beginning
I still fly virtually, and will always be an armchair pilot, even if my wife thinks its kinda "quirky" and doesn't let me talk to her friends about it!!
Although diminished, we are still being treated to great simulations like the Strike Fighter series, Rise of Flight and Lock on, but you can read about them in my other articles!
Remember, if you need a sweet HOTAS Joystick setup to fly with, check out my review HERE
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Martin Allan from Sunny Scotland on June 13, 2011:
Some good ones in here. On the Amiga I loved F-15 strike eagle and Knights of the sky.
I have fond memories of Fighter Pilot on the Speccy by D K Marshall - I played that to death.
Michael Murchie (author) from Parts Unknown on June 12, 2011:
Wow, I remember Chuck's sims, perhaps I should do a hub on them !
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment
mskills from North Carolina, USA on May 24, 2011:
I think my first flight simulator experience was with Chuck Yeager's Advanced Flight Trainer on the C64. I'm pretty sure I sucked, because the only thing I can remember about the game are Chuck's insults.
In fact, maybe Mr. Yeager is to blame for my poor performance in flights sims throughout the years. I did really enjoy Looking Glass' Flight Unlimited on the PC, though.