While you’re all gaga for Microsoft Flight Simulator’s spectacular launch, there’s another game that offers the true flight experience. Airplane Mode from Bacronym features all the excitement of real flying as a passenger. In coach class seating. On a real-time six hour flight. There’s the possibility of turbulence. You’ll hear intercom announcements. Mostly, there’s boredom.
Obviously, it’s a gag stamina game, like Desert Bus, but it presents a scenario I can actually judge for verisimilitude. I’m probably never going to pilot a Boeing 747, like the one in Microsoft Flight Simulator, but I’ve sure as heck sat in one for an eternity, scrunched between other helpless passengers, trying not to spill my in-flight soda as it bounces on the seat tray. Do I know the stall characteristics of the Icon A5? I do not. Do I know the pain of flipping through the airline magazine for the third time, desperately trying to find something interesting to read. Yes.
More importantly, you can play Airplane Mode with no special equipment. Good luck finding a nice joystick or throttle setup now that everyone is playing Flight Simulator.