Video Game / Microsoft Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator is a flight simulator series produced for Windows. The game is renowned for its detailed flight models, sophisticated aircraft systems and large gameplay area (i.e. the entire earth). The games also have a large online community involved in such activities as multiplayer flying and virtual airlines. The games also have enormous third-party add-on potential to the (relative) ease of creating and/or editing many game files, including thousands of both commercial and freeware custom aircraft and scenery.

The series was created by Bruce Artwick, who developed the idea of creating a flight simulator on a computer while a student at the University of Illinois in the mid-1970s. After graduation, he founded the comapny subLOGIC to market the original Flight Simulator, with the Apple ][ version proving especially popular. Microsoft licensed the program to create a more sophisticated version for the IBM PC in 1982; many of the improvements featured in Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.00 were then ported back to the Apple II and other home computers as Flight Simulator II. Microsoft acquired the copyright for Flight Simulator in 1995, and Artwick continued to work on the updates well into the Windows era.

The level of detail put into the games means that they are quite an efficient training tool, and various situations that are not safe or practical to perform in real life (i.e. engine failures) can be flown as a training aid to supplement real world training. The series was later succeeded by the free-to-play Microsoft Flight. After Flight failed to get much attention and was quietly taken down, Dovetail Games released Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition on December 18, 2014, an Updated Re-release of the original Flight Simulator X. It was recompiled using Visual Studio 2013, uses Steamworks for multiplayer instead of the late GameSpy, and has improved compatibility with Windows 7 and Windows 8(.1).

Needs Wiki Magic Love.

NOTE: The article includes tropes from both the series and also from Lockheed Martin Prepar3D, since the program is almost exactly the same as FS and shares the same tropes.

This Video Game contains examples of:

  • Awesome, but Impractical: Just like in Real Life, some jets are really cool, but trying to fly them is another thing:
    • The Concorde is maybe a good example of this, both in Real Life and in-game: Flying the jet itself requires lots of dextery, consumes more fuel than your regular jet, doing turns is too difficult and they're only efficient in straight lines. This also applies in a meta-example: The sole fact to even install the plane in the simulator is quite a challenge, since the Concorde flies too different from regular airliners and requires specific drivers in specific places of the game's directory, not to mention some versions of the Concorde can slow down the simulator.
    • There are tons of Cool Planes (both examples from Real Life and from creators' imaginations) that are little more than flying toys.
  • The Backwards R: Happens a lot with some freeware Russian planes's gauges, but in this case it's not for parody purposes, but as a mix of reality issues (since being Russian planes, they cannot use English gauges) and the fact many programmers doesn't speak Russian.
  • Bowdlerise: An odd Real Life to Video Game variation. Patty Wagstaff's Extra 300S has "KICK ASS" printed on one of the support bars within the cockpit but for all variations of the 300S in X, it instead reads "ROCK ON" to keep with the base game's E rating.
  • Cool Plane: Many of them, and you can buy or download more if you need them.
  • Cosmetic Award: Every mission in X has a reward obtained for completing it or completing an optional objective. The tutorials reward themed "wings" medals (and of course four "rotors" medals for the helicopter tutorials) while the rest have some reward in common. Enabling the option to allow changes in the mission will not reward anything though. There are also general progression rewards like hour many hours of in-game flying, how many airports have landed at and how many landings in general.
  • Crash Course Landing: When trying to learn to fly a plane in the game, you will surely end in this situation.
  • Darker and Edgier: X's Acceleration expansion introduces more serious missions such as intercepting an aircraft making off with contraband, flying military operations in an F/A-18, stopping rhino poachers who can shoot at you or searching for a missing co-worker within the Washington mountains. Not as dark as other examples but it was enough to have it rated T compared to the base game's E.
  • Fictional Counterpart: Vanilla FSX does this by filling up the AI traffic with fictional airlines, with examples like Orbit, Pacifica, World Travel and Emerald. Averted if there are mods replacing the traffic with real airlines.
  • First-Person Ghost: The player never sees themselves nor their co-pilots in the virtual cockpit view, this is for good reason as that could obstruct the view of the panels.
  • Game Mod: Many of them.
  • Gameplay Automation: In-universe, as in Real Life, many aircraft can be set to autopilot. How much you want the craft to be automated can be chosen.
  • Guide Dang It: Any payware aircraft from PMDG qualifies as this, given how they were made by examining real aircraft with meticulous levels of detail. Expect to be looking up plenty of tutorials on how to start the plane up, let alone get it into the air.
  • Helevetica: This series started a trend of other games called [X] Simulator to use an italic version of Helvetica Ultra Compressed (or something that looks similar to that font) for their logos' font, such as Farming Simulator and the satirical Goat Simulator.
  • Insistent Terminology: FSX is a simulator, not a game, completely ignoring that FSX is classified as a game by the ESRB and is also sold as one in Steam.
  • Landing Gear Shot: One of the camera views in many planes allows this.
  • Nintendo Hard: Zig-zagged: The stock planes are normally easier to fly, but some add-on planes are notorious for being a pain to fly them, since they mimic the original behaviour of the Real Life ones.
  • No Fair Cheating: You can enable the ability to modify settings within missions in X to make them easier to complete but doing so will not give awards for completing them.
  • Optional Traffic Laws: Depends of the rules you're using and the game mode:
    • Using VFR (Visual Flight Rules) means you're only restricted what the ATC (the traffic controller) says about taxing or landing in the airport and also regarding entering the airport's air space or another ATC zone, other than that you're free to do whatever you like with the plane. On the other hand, using IFR (Instrumental Flight Rules) means you have to obey the ATC regarding your route of your flight plan and your altitude, but skips the part regarding entering other airport's air space, as the local ATC does it for you. In any case, the worst thing can happen by not obeying those rules is the ATC cancels your flight plan and you have to fill your flight plan again.
    • Averted with a revenge in multiplayer and for a good reason: Failure to obey the ATC is normally grounds for getting kicked and/or banned from the server, since playing in MP in FS means you have to follow the same rules you should follow in Real Life regarding flying a real plane.
      • And then, there's VATSIM. Thousands of real people doing nothing but acting like real pilots and AT Cs, terminology and all. Piss one of the VATSIM crew off, and you're likely to get banned from the entire network.
  • Scenery Porn: Some versions of the game feature an interesting set of trees, barns and buildings on the ground.
  • Scenic Tour Level: Some of the easier missions tend to be casual flights from one place to another but encourage exploration. Most notable mentions go to the Hawaiian Tour and Midwest Fly-In.
  • Serious Business: This is mostly the default attitude on many multiplayer venues of the game, and unlike other games, this is for (most of the time) good reasons:
    • Unlike other (military/mainstream) simulators, the game is mostly used as a tool for learning to fly a plane, and rarely (if ever) used as a game, since trying to do whatever you like in a real plane will get you killed, shot down, arrested or fined, especially if you live in a country having a tight control over their skies.
    • One of the biggest berserk buttons in any multiplayer server is taking off without a flightplan. Justified, since in Real Life, you cannot legally take off without one and some servers can kick/ban you if you do so.
      • Expect to be ridiculed and then kicked by ATC if you don't know the terminology required, especially if you blindly join a VATSIM server.
    • Some servers only covers some countries and taking off from another one can get you kicked/banned.
    • Taking off with non-stock (using freeware/payware ones) jets is discouraged in some servers and taking off using a fighter jet in a civilian airport will get you kicked for the reasons already explained.
    • Some servers doesn't even let you use fighter jets, Period. (Due to Real Life reasons: A fighter jet cannot land in a civilian airport, except in the case of an extreme emergency, like an engine failure or another catrastophic situation. A military pilot trying to do that in Real Life without a good reason could be arrested/court-martialed for doing that)
    • In conclusion: Most multiplayer servers will try to force you to fly just like a real pilot will do in real life, meaning that, if you want to go to, let's say from New York to London in game, you MUST be in the game during the remaining of the flight, so be sure to have enough free time to fly and also an empty bladder, just in case.
    • Outside multiplayer, this trope reaches its logical conclusion with Prepar3D (FSX's Spiritual Successor): The EULA explicitely forbids the use of the simulator for entertainment purposes and only can be used for professional use (like training new pilots). Justified, since Lockheed Martin's (the owners of the FSX engine, who also hired most of the Microsoft FSX's programming team) main job is designing fighter jets for the U.S. Air Force.
  • Space Plane: Many of them.
  • Take That: In one of the the freeware versions of the Concorde, you can choose the Air India livery, despite that no non-European airliners used that plane and the fact the Indian government forbade the use of the Concorde at supersonic speeds on India's airspace.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You could ram the aircraft into a building if you wish...
  • Video Game Long Runners: The series has 12 entries. The first one was released in 1979 by subLOGIC, long before it licensed the franchise to Microsoft.
    • Special mention also goes to FS 9 and FSX, for basically being the go to for standardised flight simulation, even though both games are over a decade old. This is due to the revival of multiplayer via Steamworks, extensive mods available for both games (freeware and commercial) and a large virtual community that take the simulation part damn seriously, like VATSIM.
  • Violation of Common Sense: When your aircraft loses enough speed that the lift drops and the aircraft loses response and plummets, you're taught to point the nose down and open the throttle all the way to full. This will speed you back up and get more air flowing under your wings again so you can pull up out of said stall.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: You can go (and land) anywhere, even in places when in Real Life you could be fined, arrested or even killed/shot down for doing so (like landing a civilian jet in a military base, or a military aircraft in a civilian airport, flying on no-fly zones, landing on water if you have a hydroplane, etc). The only place you cannot land or go is (until FSX, partially) the poles: if you go to the poles in any game prior FSX, you will crash against an invisible wall and even in FSX, you can go only to the South Pole, and if you go beyond the South Pole station, you will also crash against that invisible wall, too.
    • You can even land a very heavy jet (like a Boeing 747, or an Airbus A380) or a very noisy one (like fighter jets, a Concorde or a Tupolev Tu-142) on any kind of airport, regardless if that airport in Real Life can is able to sustain such a plane or not.