My love for simulation games has its roots in the exploits of my grandfather who was a veteran of the second World War. He was what is called in the military, a “flying ace“: a military aviator who had shot down several enemy planes. Naturally, his son, my father, shared the same enthusiasm for airplanes. I too, am an aviation enthusiast. The only difference is that I’m not interested in the weaponry involved.
Rather, I’m more fascinated by the complexity of air traffic control and the beauty of operating majestic modern airplanes. While actual airplanes are out of my reach, flight simulation games are obtainable, and my adoration for them began with “Airline Game“. It was way ahead of its of time and is widely considered to be the historical precursor to later Air Traffic Simulator and Flight Simulator games.
Flight and air traffic simulation games are a popular niche among a certain age of gamers. For obvious reasons, they can’t appeal to the average gamer because of their utter complexity. Sure, the ARMA and Operation Flashpoint series of games have a large enough following (shooting a gun is easier than handling a machine that can fly!), but most flight simulator games require actual manuals for the player to be able to master the controls. Therefore, it is understandable that the community surrounding this particular line of games are tight-knit and extremely enthusiastic about the experience that flight and air traffic simulators provide.
Speaking of which, flight simulation games are amazingly satisfying because of their complexity. Each button found on a regular cockpit can be mapped on to your keyboard or joystick. Combine that with a big screen (preferably a 60″ TV) and you can immerse yourself completely. That may be saying too much as it doesn’t quite simulate the feeling of being in an actual cockpit but that might change if the Oculus Rift is somehow implemented into flight simulator video games in the future. No other game genre can quite fill you with as much excitement as successfully taking off and landing a Boeing 787.
Doing even the simplest of things in Microsoft Simulator X, for example, take time and patience. The game requires you to learn what each and every button does and why you must complete certain actions at certain times in order to get everything running. You don’t get instant achievements for silly actions but you can pat yourself on the back when you finally manage to complete every action on time and take off into the air.
But it’s not just the gameplay that’s engaging. It’s also the fact that you get to travel to new locations, albeit virtual ones, right in the comfort of your home. You might never get the chance to travel to Japan but you can simulate the feeling with the help of a flight simulator. It gives you the opportunity to learn more about new places, their landmarks, and gives you a better understanding of the geography of the world. You’ll even get used to the technical speak pilots use to communicate with each other.
If you’re into air traffic control and airport simulation games, you’ll get an inside look at how airport businesses function, how each and every department coordinates with each other to keep everything working like clockwork. More than anything else, you’ll appreciate your regular flights a lot more when you’re knowledgeable about everything that’s going on.