Microsoft’s virtual Ignite conference began today with a retrospective on Microsoft Flight Simulator’s evolution since its 1982 debut. Microsoft Flight Simulator can now precisely map out the real environment into a virtual one, demonstrating how much PC gaming has developed over the past nearly 40 years.
The first game in Microsoft’s video is Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.0, made available for IBM-compatible PCs in 1982. It allowed users to fly a Cessna 182 over Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York. The video’s opening scene also shows how much PC sound cards have evolved.
Two years later, in 1984, Microsoft released Flight Simulator 2.0, which included vital joystick capabilities and improved overall graphics. Then, in 1988, the 3.0 version showed up with more planes and customizable displays. To enhance the gaming experience, Flight Simulator 4.0 included many more features, such as unpredictable weather and dynamic landscape. It was also the first Mac version and several exclusive mods and add-ons were created.
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Then, in 1993, Flight Simulator 5.0 opened the door for further realism in the series under additional texture support. Before Flight Simulator for Windows 95, which had faster frame rates and more aircraft to choose from, in 1996, version 5.1 continued the trend toward more realism.
After a few iterations, Flight Simulator 2000 debuted in 1999. This was a significant release for Microsoft in an era when 3D games continually pushed the boundaries on gaming consoles.
When Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 was released in 2001, you can see the jumps in graphics upgrades in the company’s video. At the time, the 3D virtual cockpit function was incredibly amazing because it let you simulate being a pilot and observe the cockpit from the inside.
When Flight Simulator X was published in 2006, the series took a lengthy break. Microsoft moved to offer the game on DVDs for the first time and introduced new aircraft and other expansion packs.
With an ambitious goal of mapping out the real globe for players to fly anywhere thanks to Azure artificial intelligence, real-time weather, and a choice of many different planes, Microsoft didn’t fully relaunch Flight Simulator until earlier this year. When comparing the various iterations over time, it’s astounding to see how much both this particular game and gaming, in general, have evolved.
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