A Brief History of Flight SimsA Brief History of Flight Sims
A Brief History of Flight Sims

The Pioneer days

Time in the sim community "began" in the early 1980's with the availability of affordable personal computers.

In those days 64K was regarded as a generous amount of RAM...that's 64K not 64 MEG! Programs were loaded via cartridges, tape drives or 5 1/4 inch floppies and colour video display was just catching on.

The 8 bit family (Atari 400/800, Commodore Vic-20, C-64, C-16, C Plus 4, Osbourne, Timex Sinclair) had basic sound capabilities and up to 16 colours, which was far beyond the capability of any MS-DOS based PC at the time. Our earliest computer flight fantasies were satisfied by classics such as "Choplifter", a 2-D Platform game which tasked you with manouevering past enemies to rescue hostages. It was sweaty palms time as you waited for those little people to climb aboard one by one!

Pseudo-3D appeared in the arcades and then in short order on 8-bit home computers in Zaxxon, a scrolling game which erquired you to manouever past deadly obstacles in a 3rd person .perspective view. Riveting stuff for the time!

Choplifter

Atari 800

Zaxxon

Atari ST, Choplifter and Zaxxon images were provided by the Digital Antic Project

Next: the 16 bit revolution