It seems inevitable at this stage that we're all going to catch Covid-19, let's be real. With governments around the room scrambling (largely in vain) to contain the virus, and record numbers of people contracting the sickness each and every day, even us Aussies are no longer safe. You may have noticed that last week's fantastic column was written by none-other than Jon Ramuz, who you might know from The EarlyGame Podcast. There's a reason for that, as yes, I contracted said virus, and ended up bundled into a small Sydney room, sweatin' my li'l brains out and having a rather rotten ol' time. It was pretty miserable, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
Yet, through all the sweat, through the roaring daze of that seemingly endless headache, and through the rusty roughness of that insufferably dry throat, there was a something that pulled me through. Something that provided a little entertainment for my exhausted brain, and kept those electric signals racing through my head despite the bloody 'rona. What was it? Will I stop writing like a middle-aged man from the 1930s? Will I relieve my delusions of grandeur, my aspirations of Hemingway and Fitzgerald? Yeah, I probably should, it's getting a little bit pretentious. I am clearly talking about a game, and that game is (clearly... it was in the bloody title, after all) Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Buried in the depths (on the front page) of Xbox Game Pass lives an absolute legend. A game so detailed, fun and complicated, that it really should have made more waves than it did. A game that somehow didn't suck, despite incorporating one of the worst digital maps on the web... Bing. Yes, that's right, this is a product that's related to Bing Maps and... doesn't suck. Go figure? Look, even if the maps are a little unreliable, Microsoft Flight Simulator literally maps the entire world to a level of detail that few have ever been able to achieve, and no one has achieved yet in a video game. It is incredibly special, and something that certainly needs to be looked at as a source of inspiration for all future aeroplane (yes, not Airplane, we're not f**king four-year-olds) simulators.
Have you played The Forgotten City yet? No, well it's also on Game Pass now!
The attention to detail is, frankly, insane. It's not just the huge fully-explorable world, it's not just that it will literally take you two hours to fly from Sydney to Adelaide (the same amount of time that it takes in real life), it's also the aeroplanes themselves (again, the language is called English, so if you're a Yank you can f**k off with your "Airplanes"). Now, look, I don't have a pilots licence, I know very little about aeroplanes (I'll stop it now, but seriously: "Aero-planes", not "Air-planes"), but these babies are not only beautiful, but hugely detailed, complicated, and confusing as hell! Have I said impressive? Have I said that already? No? Again, this game is impressive.
So, what does this all have to do with Covid-19? Well, there are a few things that need to be said about Covid and Microsoft Flight Simulator. I dove into this beautiful game whilst deep in the depression-ridden cavity of the coronavirus heart, and it provided a welcome distraction from the plethora of symptoms that plagued my existence. This is something I would hugely recommend. It can be very distressing if you get quite severe symptoms and are sitting alone at home with very little to do except what vague YouTube videos (for me, a lot of coffee tutorials) and sleep. You don't feel like diving into a proper game, and certainly not a game that will require you to think intently.
Instead, Microsoft Flight Simulator gives you the option to float above the world effortlessly, taking in the beauty of the real-life world despite the confinement you find yourself within. If you turn all the settings to "Basic" then you can more-or-less operate the aeroplane with minimal input (though it will still be pretty bloody hard to land a 747 on a short-as-f**k runway). This makes it possibly the most stunning and relaxing game that I have ever experienced. Honestly, try it out, take off, and chuck on The EarlyGame Podcast whilst you cruise to your destination. You won't regret it... for multiple reasons (The EarlyGame Podcast is great, seriously, listen to it, here's the latest episode).
The second reason I will give as to why you should be checking out Microsoft Flight Simulator during the middle of a global pandemic is also pretty simple: it's a bloody good substitute for real-world travel. Like honestly, I am sure that many of you are itching to get out into the real world, take those long-awaited flights, and enjoy the hell out of all of it. Microsoft Flight Simulator is an incredible replacement for the real thing, as it allows you to go literally anywhere in the world. You want to see the Pyramids? Jump into one of those small Cessna's, and you can even get up-close-and-personal. It is absolutely remarkable, a true joy, and a marvel of modern game design and engineering.
So there you have it. Covid-19 can be rough, but there are ways to make it at least a little bit better. On top of all the vitamins, ibuprofen, and sleep, check out Microsoft Flight Simulator for its therapeutic value and its incredible sense of adventure. Nothing compares to this fantastic piece of entertainment, nothing compares to its freedom and versatility, and nothing compares to its ability to instil a sense of wonder out of the virtual recreation of real-world places. Check out Microsoft Flight Simulator, especially if you find yourself stuck at home with Covid, you won't regret it...
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