A blog of acquiescent temper, miscellaneous opinions, and uncertain vote

Friday, 15 November 2019

Since 2007, all of my computing has been done on a Mac, both at work and at home. The smooth user experience of OSX (or MacOS, as it’s now known) was, and still is, light-years beyond whatever Windows can offer, and I have never regretted leaving behind that never-ending cycle of updates, patches and virus warnings.

Of course, every silver lining has a cloud, and going Mac-only obviously leaves a significant PC-shaped hole in one’s ability to play the latest games. The situation now isn’t as bad as it used to be, of course; nowadays many games are available on Mac, including just about every new indie title (my guess would be that standardised development platforms like Unity and Unreal can take the credit for this), but it’s still true that you’re unlikely to be playing the latest open-world sim or first-person shooter on a Mac, even via Boot Camp. My 2013 iMac can just about manage to run 2015’s Witcher 3, but anything released more recently is beyond its capabilities.

However, one upcoming game has me seriously considering making the switch back to Windows, and splashing out on the kind of graphics card that needs its own air-conditioning unit. The revamped Microsoft Flight Simulator, due out in 2020, looks AMAZING — just take a look at this:

That’s high-definition satellite imagery sourced from their Bing Maps service, together with live weather data, all streamed from the cloud to your PC or Xbox.

I remember playing the original Flight Simulator back when I bought my first ever PC, probably around 1999-2000. I don’t remember which version I owned, but I do remember spending hours simply following the tutorials as I practiced taking off, circling the runway, and landing my little twin-engine plane back at SeaTac airport. You wouldn’t have thought that following simple instructions could be such an enjoyable gaming experience, but I guess the 37 years that MSFS has been going proves you very wrong.