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Flight Simulation

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Released: 1982

Genre: Strategy

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Psion

Developer: Psion Software

Submitted by: Ian Marks

Flight Simulators are clearly popular with the Retro Gamer readership… my previous game review of Flight Simulator II for the PC currently (correct at time of writing) the game has a rating of 2.0 ha ha.

So cashing in on the current wave of plane based love in the Retro Gamer room here is some details about an earlier simulator I owned on the trusty ZX Spectrum.

Psion clearly thought long and hard what to call their flight simulation program, but eventually settled on Flight Simulation…. Genius.

Once loaded it gave you 3 options, IN FLIGHT, FINAL APPROACH or TAKE OFF. Final Approach was the best one for beginners as it lined you up correctly with the runway. Once you’d chosen whether you wanted wind effects, you were off.

The sky was pale blue, but the ground for some reason was dark blue. I’ve always wondered why Psion didn’t pick green? Anyway no matter. For the Spectrum I’ve always thought it was a pretty impressive attempt at a flight simulator. The controls looked pretty realistic, Knots, Altimeter, Rate of Climb, Compass etc. they were all present and correct. Flaps and Landing Gear were included, as were radio beacons.

The view from the window moved quite smoothly, with the ground shifting as you turned and climbed. The runway was fairly impressive also, being made up of little dots that formed its shape. There was no real sound to speak of, a few clicks here and there, but nothing else.

I think in all the times I played this game, I managed to land the bugger once. It was almost impossible to get speed and approach direction right. It always looked like you were doing ok, till at the last minute the runway suddenly was slightly off line. You’d try to recover but it’d be too late… and you’d crash. With a spectacular display of ‘CRASH’ on your windscreen.

It’s a boring game… a technically impressive game… but a boring game nonetheless. Still a long time ago when I first owned my ZX Spectrum it kept me entertained for a fair few hours, so it will always be a game I remember fondly.