Of course, it was a somewhat crude affair back then. Flight Simulator II came on a 140K floppy disk and ran in 64K on the Apple II’s 8-bit 1.02MHz 65C02 processor. With 6 on-screen colors in high-res mode. It wasn’t what you’d call “photorealistic,” but it was fun.
I recently reviewed X-Plane 9 for the iPhone, and this made me realize it had been a while since I spent any real time with a desktop flight simulator. So I went out and picked up Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X for my relatively meager (by current standards) XP box: a Shuttle XPC with a 3.2GHz P4, GeForce 6600 GT, and 1GB of RAM. It comes on two double-layer DVDs and is a 14GB install–the complete app is about 105,000 times larger than the Apple II version.
Flight Simulator X runs very smoothly on the box.
Flight Simulator X is an amazing application. I’ve had great fun flying about since picking it up and it occurred to me that the difference in realism and complexity between Flight Simulator X and Flight Simulator II really illustrates just how far computing technology has come in the last 25 years.
I thought a little comparison video would convey what I’m speaking of to those who’ve never spent any time with Bruce Artwick’s 1983 classic.