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|Flight Simulator X|
|Mode(s)||Numerous; see text|
|Platform(s)||Windows, one version newer than the one you own|
Flight Simulator X (FSX) is a pointless game, like The Sims, created solely to show you the inadequacy of your computer and induce you to buy a new one in the vain hopes of driving the game to produce 2 frames per second.
Flight Simulator X runs well on high-end NSA supercomputers. The minimum system requirements listed on the box were designed by Microsoft to maximize sales. The real requirements for running FSX smoothly are as follows:
- Eight-core Intel Skunkworks processors
- 20 terabytes of DDR10 Quint-channel RAM
- 2Tb quad-core Nvidea 0u812 GT
- A secret Microsoft patch for the Gamespy issue.
Modes of operation
This game has no story or "point" at all. You basically fly around in your choice of aircraft. You can fly in Multiplayer Mode or, for added annoyance, listen to elderly Rob Machado tell you what to do in Lesson Mode.
In Free Flight, you choose an aircraft and just fly around. You can explore, execute a flight plan, hijack, land at your local airport, and especially, crash into a building.
The documentation suggests that it might be fun to land on an Interstate highway that seems uncrowded (change the settings first, as FSX has a nagging tendency to treat this as a crash), or to fly underneath large suspension bridges. (Note: In real life, these maneuvers are frowned upon.)
As an added bonus, you can specify a number of passengers, increasing the enjoyment for Muslims when they pretend to blast another 767 into New York City. You can also call for failures to occur. These can be as subtle as an instrument malfunction (and who looks at all those dials and lights anyway?), or as sudden as a fire or an engine failure.
There is a big-ass selection of missions in FSX. They range from law enforcement to exploration. None of them is fun. You simply listen to some random arse bark commands at you as you fly in circles. (Again, in reality--if you made it that far and took your "check ride"--you would be judged on your ability to politely obey absurd commands from such a random arse, employed by the FAA to grade you.) You can chase drug smugglers (although you would be them in real life) and rescue things. They show their gratitude and you get a badge or epaulette. There are also a set of tutorial missions. After winning these, you get rubber wings to wear on your shirt. Oh, wait, never mind; you can't actually wear them, because they are just a picture.
Missions take unnerving amounts of time to load, and therefore should only be done by desperate children. The only good thing about them is being rewarded with a picture to show your mom. But you could be playing Counter-Strike on the Internet for real weed.
What to do next
The most awesome thing to do after playing this game for hours on end is to go and hijack a real plane and see if you can fly it. If successful, you may end up crashing into the ground. Then you can sue Microsoft for making you think you were an actual pilot.
The Flight Simulator franchise has a vast and fanatic user community. Designers of "freeware" add-ons are the most depressed, attention seeking, whiny-assed people on the Internet. They spend hundreds of hours designing and developing an add-on, then cry like a bitch when the whole world doesn't fall to its knees, showering them with compliments and praise for their wonderful offerings to the losers who spend their days flying fake airplanes. Users and makers of add-ons congregate at various Flight-Sim forums around the Net, where they feed off of each other's comments and stroke each other's egos.
If you are on-line, you can select Multiplayer Mode. You can fly with real people! But each of those real people will ridicule you incessantly until you own a virtual airline, which lets you pretend to be a virtual corporate arsewipe. Multiplayer is a lose-lose situation.
Virtual airlines are like real airlines (see below). Some guy with nothing to do opens an FSX server with some clever title such as Arsehole Airlines. The name of the airline affects whether or not you are still a n00b, or if you actually have something cool going on. If your idea catches on, then you start becoming even more gh3y. You may build a website, pay $29.99 a month, and try to recoup it by begging for donations or selling ads. This is more of a lose-lose situation.
Real airlines have their act together. Occasionally a jet overflies Minneapolis and sails into the darkness for 90 more minutes because pilot and co-pilot are both glued to their laptops--unlike you--trying to figure out a new pilot scheduling program that took effect at the last corporate merger. Stewardesses call the cockpit but get told they're crazy and get hung up on. The U.S. Air Force can't figure out whether to scramble fighter planes to shoot down the obviously hijacked Jumboliner because their only phone numbers for the airline pre-date the merger. They also get hung up on. The airline boss at the terminal has the squawk box to the USAF at her desk, except that she's never at her desk; she's out trying to find a secure comm-link to the government (to mention this code-red Homeland Security violation without embarrassing the Corporation), unaware that the squawk box is secure.
Now, aren't you glad you're wasting your adolescence in relative safety, inside a Windows simulation?