Microsoft Flight Simulator: 5 things I learned playing the new ultrarealistic flight sim

There’s a new version of Microsoft Flight Simulator driving a lot of PC gaming attention right now, in part because it’s the first ground-up new entry in the long-running series since 2006. The new version, besides stunning graphics and realistic physics, benefits from being able to stream in real-world cloud-based mapping data in real time, drawing from what Microsoft says is over 2 petabytes of Bing Maps content. That means the game will livestream 3D maps from wherever you’re flying in real time, but that also requires a robust internet connection.


Flight sim fans don’t necessarily consider themselves gamers. Often they play Microsoft Flight Simulator, the gold standard of realist flight sims, and nothing else. They can have entire PC setups with multiple displays, expensive flight control sticks and pedals and the latest graphics cards and processors, but they wouldn’t know Master Chief from Q*bert. (The game retails for $60, but it’s “free” for Microsoft Game Pass subscribers.)

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The first flight sim I ever played was Chuck Yeager’s Advanced Flight Trainer back in the late 1980s on my Tandy 1000. I have not particularly kept up with the genre, but the hype around the 2020 version of Microsoft Flight Simulator got me interested in strapping in and giving it a go. Here’s what I discovered.

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