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Archive for the ‘best games you never played’ Category

Bill Stealy, Gilman Louie, Damon Slye and other giants of PC flight sims are in this episode of Computer Chronicles from 1990 – the beginning of the golden age of PC simming. Well worth watching.

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Yet another round of classic PC simulations – this time from Electronic Arts (before they went all Evil), and more heavily slanted towards the 1990s. Unlike Dynamix, EA sims did both simulation of a single vehicle to an excruciating degree (such as 688(i) and F-15), as well as fun survey sims (such as Brent Iverson’s excellent US Navy Fighters and its sequels such as Jane’s Fighters Anthology), and some genre busting original titles such as SEAL Team. EA finished their sim adventure with a big bang, producing (via their partnership with Jane’s group) Longbow and F-15. Sadly, the powers that be decided that military sims did not produce enough money, and EA moved from making interesting games to lowest common denominator forgettables. This gallery represents 15 games from my collection produced between 1989 and 2000. The gallery is sorted from earliest games to latest. Click on each one for more sizes.

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More classic PC simulations – this time from Dynamix, featuring the once-mighty Damon Slye. Dynamix released their stuff under the Sierra label and carried a reputation as a great survey sim maker (i.e. sims that simulate several vehicles with less realism, as opposed to games such as Falcon 3.0 which focused on a single vehicle in detail). These games delivered a lot of fun, with quite good graphics and sound (and waaaay better music than Microprose could muster). This gallery represents 7 games from my collection produced between 1989 and 1997. The gallery is sorted from earliest games to latest. Click on each one for more sizes.

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Another round of Microprose game manual covers – this time for the PC, the platform where they really produced their best stuff. These are all scans from my collection. For some games (like M1 Tank Platoon and Fleet Defender) I have more than one manual, because I bought some of these in South Africa, where we got the UK versions, and then I also got copies of the US versions after my arrival here. I really would love to know why they felt the need to change the cover art, given the text is the same across these versions. This gallery represents 25 games produced between 1987 and 2000 (heavily slanted towards military sims). The gallery is sorted from earliest games to latest. Click on each one for more sizes.

EDIT (4/14/2013): Added the Twilight: 2000 and Special Forces covers.

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(EDIT: forgot my Silent Service and F-15 Strike Eagle cover scans, now added).

Microprose was founded by “Wild Bill” Stealy and Sid Meier in the early 80s, and become the place where Meier established himself as a major innovator in gaming. Although the brand name still exists in game publishing, it’s not the game developer it once was; development stopped at the turn of the century. A lot of their early successes were on the Commodore 64, and they set the bar for PC simulations in the mid to late 90s. One of the things that set Microprose apart from its competitors was the amazing packing – large, full colour boxes packed with lengthy manuals that set atmosphere as well as giving information about the game and its world. Here are some cover scans from my collection (click each for more sizes):

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Poking around YouTube one day, I accidentally stumbled on this amazing 1959 toy. The 1950s represented a time in American consciousness when jet aviation and the space race were mingled into an overall sense that the future was happening right then. It was the age of NORAD and the Century Series of interceptors, keeping watch for Soviet Bear bombers carrying nuclear loads over the pole.

During this period the early scale model industry gave children a way to imagine themselves in stratosphere, in the thick of the action, swooshing their (recently invented) injection molded airplane kits around their bedrooms.

But of course, home computers and video game consoles would not exist for another 20 years, so these kids were limited to imagining what it was like to fly these planes.

Enter the Fighter Jet from the Ideal Toy Company to change all that. Have a look at this amazing period TV commercial:

It is impressive to say the least. In a world before cheap consumer electronics, all of the effects were achieved with simple circuits and clever mechanical engineering. Here is a clear view of the console:

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And what flight sim would be complete without a good set of instructions:

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Here is a modern review of the toy, showing it in action. It is quite amazing how much careful thought and invention went into it. Not surprising, considering Ideal was the toy company that invented the Teddy bear and the Magic 8 Ball:

Must have made for an awesome Christmas morning unboxing this thing – looking at that old timey commercial makes me want one even now. Could this be the first flight sim entertainment product?

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Third Wire, makers of the Strike Fighters/Wings over and Strike Fighters 2 series, are having a 30% sale on everything in their inventory – that means a complete, modern combat flight sim for $20. DRM free, direct download from their site. Remember: TK and his tiny band of brothers are indie developers who need sales to buy their dinners! Support them!

Go there right now!

Need some motivation? Head over to CombatAce and see the sheer volume of free add-ons you can get – including Operation Desert Storm for Wings over Europe

Need more? Here is a nice movie of Strike Fighters 2: Isreal

And some screenshots from various of their titles (click for full size):

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