New Flight Video Game ‘Soars’ Over Big Island
You can be forgiven if you haven’t noticed, but lately the skies above the Big Island have been filled with aircraft.
In a virtual sense, that is.
The Big Island was picked by software giant Microsoft as the “location” for its new Flight game software, which allows anyone to soar above the the isle – or at least a simulated view of its landscape.
Flight has been described as the “re-imagining” of the Microsoft Flight Simulator series, which was first released in 1982 and has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the longest-running game of its type.
Before Flight, the last version to be released was Flight Simulator X in 2006.
The Feb. 29 release of Microsoft Flight was highly anticipated by video gamers, and unlike the former Simulator series that required a joystick, this one can be played with just a mouse and keyboard.
Also unlike the previous versions, a basic version of Flight can be downloaded for free, at http://www.microsoft.com/games/flight/.
A Hawaiian Adventure Pack, which unlocks additional planes, challenges and the remaining Hawaiian Islands, is also available for a fee. Other enhancements are also available.
Flight’s video trailer can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-JluDG-OSE.
For the free version of Flight, the aircraft is an amphibious monoplane known as the ICON A5.
According to Microsoft spokesperson Christin Evans, players who sign in to Games for Windows LIVE can fly a Boeing Stearman, a vintage, open-cockpit biplane. Other airplanes are also available, including the P-51 Mustang, a famous World War II-era fighter.
Microsoft is not yet releasing information about how many people have downloaded the new game, Evans said today.
A reviewer in PC Magazine said the new Flight puts a player immediately into the cockpit, with the preflight configuration no longer necessary.
(This Big Island Now reporter would have reviewed the new Flight release firsthand, except it is currently available only for Windows platforms and not for a Mac.)
Another reviewer for Aerosoft Sim News added a caution about the Flight download, noting that it installs automatically on your hard drive and requires 1.4 gigabytes of space.
Not all the reviewers were thrilled by the new free version of Flight.
While noting that it “does a commendable job of showing newcomers the ropes,” Mike Nelson of IGN Entertainment said the free content “is as thin as the air at 30,000 feet.”
“Flight will need more than this to fulfill its huge potential of reinvigorating interest in the neglected genre,” he said.
A broadband internet connection is needed to play the game. Also required, at the minimum, is the aforementioned Windows operating system of WinXP SP3, a Dual Core processor running at 2 gighertz, 2 gigabytes of RAM and 10 gigabytes of available hard drive storage.