Even though I've been away from flight sims for years, I've always liked them. This dates back to green and black CRT screens and Microsoft's first flight simulator. The only problem was I couldn't fly them very well with the original IBM PC keyboard.
It was a helluva keyboard too. Mechanical with spring-loaded keys that clicked and clacked. It was so heavy it qualified as a blunt instrument. Rumor has it that Atlas uses one to hold up the world. It just wasn't so hot on aircraft control.
Well… being summer I haven't fired up the home holodeck for some time (bear with me… this will all come together eventually) as there are always things to do outside this time of year. Summer is busy for a lot of us but, alas, summer is hot too.
Being hot means being uncomfortable and this old farm boy likes his comfort and that doesn't include 103 degrees F outside.
I have a simple rule:
If the Koi in the pond are nowhere to be seen… then neither am I. Koi are smart. They don't screw around with the Texas sun so neither do I.
Hence… the supremely air-conditioned holodeck\living room, which led to a search for a different VR game on the Viveport Infinity game service. This led to a simple title, the Cessna VR Flight simulator.
I told you it would all come together.
This VR title is neither the first nor anywhere near the best flight simulator but was priced right for subscribers… free. Even a farm boy can grasp free, so the download button was pushed and the magical little box that runs the holodeck began prepping for the simulator.
Once inside the cockpit of the tiny Cessna, I was intrigued by all the gauges, dials, and buttons that pulled off a decent resemblance to the real cockpit. Didn't take long to figure out most of them didn't work. Outside the windows, the world had good graphics but nothing to write home about in terms of modern scenery graphics.
In fact compared to the other titles I looked at later, the view turned out to be quite lame. Because I was immersed in the cockpit, it was still a pleasant experience and more importantly…it was easy to fly. Easy enough to fly that I can bounce in a landing you can walk away from. Something I don't recall pulling off in the early Microsoft flight sims.
(Image courtesy of Thetis Games)
Before I knew it, I was starting to get a little uncomfortable in my game chair until I realized I was getting tired and ended the session. The experience of this little VR Cessna simulator was good enough to make me burn up more than a couple of hours of playing time!
I have a short attention span. I rarely play anything that long in one stretch so that was quite an accomplishment for what I would call an entry-level flight simulator. Only rated 3.2 but worth looking at if you are an Infinity subscriber.
By now… it was too late. I was hooked and looking for other VR flight simulators. Some of them employ the "crack" method of giving you a free taste… err… trial… before electronic funds start flying (pardon the pun).
It wouldn't surprise me if the family behind the opioid crisis is behind the flight sim industry too as it can be expensive and highly addictive to the unsuspecting.
So ends the first part of my journey on the trail to the ultimate VR flight simulator. OK … maybe not the ultimate flight simulator, but I am hooked on warm-ups, run-ups, take-offs and the subsequent white-knuckle landings that follow.
Next up, FlyInside… another diabolically good flight sim no doubt created to keep those electronic funds flying alongside the aircraft of your choice.
This title includes one scenario with two lengthy preflight checklists (as first officer and captain) that will test your endurance, your sanity, and your motor skills while you startup (from dead cold) a well-used 737. There are more switches, gauges, and dials that I can ever begin to describe… and most of them work.
Anyway, I'm hoping it's a cargo jet from the wear and tear in the cockpit. Otherwise… I got a feeling the cabin service sucks.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.