Microsoft kicked off its Ignite virtual conference today by looking back at how Microsoft Flight Simulator has changed since it was first launched in 1982. Nearly 40 years of history shows how much PC games have changed, to the point where Microsoft Flight Simulator can now accurately (mostly!) Map the real world to a virtual one.
Microsoft's video begins with Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.0, originally released in 1982 for IBM-compatible personal computers. It allowed players to fly a Cessna 182 through New York, Seattle, Los Angeles and Chicago. The beginning of the video also shows how much PC sound cards have changed over the years.
Microsoft released Flight Simulator 2.0 two years later, in 1984, to improve the overall graphics and add that all-important joystick support. The 3.0 version then arrived in 1988 with additional aircraft and customizable displays. Flight Simulator 4.0 has added a number of other features, including random weather and dynamic landscapes, to enhance the gaming experience. It was also the first version for Macs, for which a number of custom mods and add-ons were developed.
Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020).
Flight Simulator 5.0 then arrived in 1993 and thanks to new texture support, it paved the way for improved realism in the series. Version 5.1 continued the trend towards more realism before Flight Simulator for Windows 95 debuted in 1996 with higher frame rates and more aircraft to choose from. A few versions later, Flight Simulator 2000 appeared in 1999. This was a major release for Microsoft at a time when 3D games were increasingly pushing the boundaries of game consoles.
You can see the jumps in the graphical changes in Microsoft's video when it comes to the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 in 2001. The virtual 3D cockpit function was particularly impressive at that time, so that you could pretend to be a real pilot with a view of the cockpit.
The series was long interrupted in Flight Simulator X, which was released in 2006. Microsoft added a number of expansion packs in new planes and released the game on DVDs for the first time.
Microsoft only fully revived Flight Simulator earlier this year with the ambitious goal of using Azure artificial intelligence, real-time weather, and a selection of many different aircraft to rule the real world for players who can fly anywhere. If you compare the versions over the years, it's amazing to see how far this particular game and game has changed in general. For the next 40 years.