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ntOne of the first “killer” game applications for what was then the nascent personal computer gaming market in 1983, was Microsoft Flight Simulator. While the graphics weren’t spectacular by today’s standards, they were graphics; which were a change from what had come before. With the IBM PC Jr. up and running, it turned out to be a good time to take a look at this dinosaur application.
ntThis gallery was originally published in August 2008.
One floppy to rule them all
If there is one thing that emphasizes the difference between then and now it is how much storage media is needed to load a game. For this version of Microsoft Flight Simulator it is one low-density 5 1/4 floppy.
How to fly
Before you can fly a simulated airplane you have learn how to fly.
Where to land
You also have to know how to find an airport so you can land. This is a simulation – you can’t just land anywhere.
Notice the table of coordinates. You can input those into your instruments and fly on autopilot.
License to fly
The box claims that Flight Simulator is so realistic I might just have to get a license. Funny, I have heard that Doom was so realistic that I might qualify as a mass-murderer.
Just a note to the oblivious — neither is correct.
You put the Microsoft Flight Simulator into the floppy disk drive and turn on the IBM PC Jr. and this is what you see.
Before you can fly you have to answer a few questions. RGB — that’s us.
One this old monitor, the high resolution, four color display looks the best.
Since I was taking photos, I chose Demo Mode.
The chicklet IR keyboard that came standard with the IBM PC Jr. has to be compensated for.
That's right - 40 minutes
The demo has you taking off from an airport in metropolitan New York (correction Chicago) to see the sights, including the game’s representation of the World Trade Center.
Clear for takeoff
This is our starting position. Give it throttle and down the runway we go.
We are moving – get up to speed and pull back on the stick – gently!
Up, up and away
We are off the ground looking back at the airfield.
We ascend into the sky, just crossing 1000 feet now.
World Trade Towers
In the distance the John Hancock Building looms.
Around the tower
The demo is taking us around the John Hancock Building. We are circling around heading east looking out the right side window.
Out the other window we see open ocean.
Just like a real airplane, we bank when we turn.
Note the red building out our right window. Is that the Sears Tower?
We have made our 180 degree turn around the John Hancock Building and are now heading back toward the airport.
Change it up
Not only could you simulate flying, you can simulate weather conditions, time of day, and Europe 1917.
The 1917 dog fight scenario was one of my favorites. I had several strategies for surviving my infiltration into enemy territory.
Strangely enough, the cockpit of a 1917 warplane is very similar to that of a modern day Cessna.
Machine guns - cool
Not sure how well you can see it, but I just fired my machine guns – a hunting we will go…
Now you can see some tracer rounds passing through the gun sights.
I have fond memories of Microsoft Flight Simulator, but after a short time the simulation got repetitive. From here I graduated to military strategy games and started expanding my horizons for personal computer generated entertainment.