Its almost 6 AM and why flight sims still dominate

I haven't gone to bed yet.  In fact as of right now I am waiting in my private vent server for my friend to wake up and hop on.  Now a chump would ask right about now why I haven't gone to bed yet - which is a valid question...if you were a moron.  The answer is of course to play some flight sims, and when I say flight sims I mean the one and only IL2 1946.

In this day and age it is popular for kids to go around and play their Grand Theft Autos and Counter Strike: Sources and be happy.  This isn't so bad really - in fact there are many other games that I would get even more irate over.  The problem is that these kids will only play their CS and GTA, and that is it.  WRONG.  That is the gimp way to game.

Way back way, back in the day if you wanted some action you had a few choices: Doom, quake, or even some RPG, but then there would be one more thing they would consider - a game like X-Wing.  That is right THE X-wing.  Back before people would start having aneurysms over a Final Fantasy game going multiplatform; people would actually bust out their joysticks and play some flight game (which as it so happens was 9 out of 10 times an X-Wing game) and be damned happy with it.

This era is of course long over.  Flight sims are now reliagted to the back of the game rack at a Staples.  Hells bells I didn't even know Staples sold games until the other day I saw a copy of Combat Flight Simulator III for sale of some rack next to a box of cheap printer paper.  It was the saddest thing I've seen in a long damn time - like at least 7 years.  As I drive back home from what I can easily call the most depressing school supply run of my life I tried to figure out what happened to the genre.

It finally came to me when I saw my IL-2 1946 box - there was no mention of curb-stomping, multiplayer rankings, or commanding a super army; just alot of talk about aircraft with more years on them than most people can count to.  Then the final nail in the mental shame-train coffin was the fact it talked about realism.  Jesus christ...realism.

The earlist flight sims like the OG Red Baron were damn crude. The only physics was simple - when the plane goes up it goes slower and gets faster when going down, and dammit we were happy.  Most anyone could see the various innaccurasies but most anyone would also not give a damn - it was still fun.  More so, it was the best that could be done on the early hardware so no one could really complain even if they wanted.

This changed with games like Red Baron II and eventually European Air War.  These games of the mid and late '90s actually had some realism to them; especially if you really cranked up the diffuculty.  The planes you flew felt more and more like their real counter parts.  Flight sims finally came into their own - they could finally do what they had always strived to do which is accuratly recreate the expirence.  Too bad this was also their biggest mistake with the market.

The average moron has no patence to even adjust the flaps, bring up the landing gear, or even adjust the throttle.  Let me rephrase that - they may have the mental ability to do so, but they still don't want to do it.  What they want is to jump into some game and in the time frame of 23 seconds start the game, jack a car, and play some pool with your virtual friend.  These are all perfectly fine and honestly entertaining things, but they just arn't the same as methodically lining up a shot to shoot out the oil cooler of an unlucky IL-2. 

I suppose at the end of the day it is all about the reward.  Mainstream games offer an almost instant pat on the back for every drive by and generally nasty act done in the game.  In the modern flight sim the happy pat takes time, patence, and skill - even then it may never come.  Damn though, when it comes it comes in a manner completely unique to any flight sim.  To make things better in this day in age the graphics, physics, and details have gotten that much better - thus making every explosive kill that much more enjoyable - but again that much more difficult and time consuming.

It's now sometime past 6 and my friend is still not on ventrillo.  Not to worry though, while he is stuck in traffic I will be flying over the skies of Europe looking for my next kill - all while my copy of GTA4 sits quietly in my PS3; waiting for me to crash and burn - then and only then is it time for some instant thrills - just the way God wants it.


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