It was in 2003 when, being a great simulator flying
buff and an owner of a
reasonably large collection of flight simulators, like legendary DID's
Retaliator, Spectrum HoloByte's Falcon 3.0 and many more,I
became seriously interested in the history of the flight simulation legend –
Microsoft Flight Simulator. I decided to cover the development of all of its
versions ever released. At that time, however, I did not have the foggiest
idea how difficult this task would turn out to be. Microsoft Flight
Simulator is not only one of the oldest computer flight simulator, but its whole family is the
largest in the world. This website actually IS NOT dedicated to history of
flying, IS NOT dedicated to generally all flight simulation programs, like
above mentioned. This website
IS dedicated to the detailed description of the Microsoft
Flight Simulator history. This in fact means that it includes subLOGIC
Flight Simulator and few relate add-ons as well. In my opinion,
it is necessary to save the
information for history.
My website started in 2005 and I hope
that it will be the most accurate and valuable source of information for you.
My first and at the beginnings
also the only source of information was Internet where you can find either
masses of files dedicated to individual versions (Apple II FS2,
MSFS2) or special websites that try to follow the whole
history. You can find either very brief
websites or more
detailed and its authors come from various countries, for example
other one which my pictures!) or a very nice article by
Klein from Germany (on FlightSim).
There is also an article about history of Flight Simulator on
Wikipedia, the free Internet encyclopedia.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, it is not much correct and what more, it is full of mistakes.
The Flight Simulator genealogy
is fairly well covered from version 3.0 onwards. Nevertheless, earlier
versions are much more difficult to track down. Unfortunately, although
Internet provides an immense amount of useful information, it is also a
source of all conceivable misinformation. To make the matters worse,
erroneous facts are frequently adopted by authors of new articles without
proper authentication. For example, they repeatedly claimed, that subLOGIC
Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II, the first ever, was released in January
1979 or even in 1978. It is a great mistake!
I found the
Jos Grupping’s website
(now already my good friend from the Netherlands) which turned out to be the most
comprehensive and accurate source of my first information. Jos has been
working on the Flight Simulator history for several years. As Jos is an
active type of person and has some other interests, there was still a lot to be done in
research of Flight Simulator history. That is why I decided to
contribute with my own website and my confirmed information.
My movie which describes whole history of the development of subLOGIC/Microsoft Flight
some time I realized that I would need my own copies of all the versions.
This would be the best way how to find out the years of release, facts about
authors and graphics. Otherwise, I would always have to face misinformation,
errors and inaccuracies. However, it is not easy to get your own copies,
particularly very old ones, Japanese editions and special releases.
First, it was necessary to determine the actual beginning of the Flight
Simulator history, then to sort out its versions and match the computer
platforms for which those versions were designed.
Two men of subLOGIC -
Bruce Artwick and Stu Moment
first version of Flight Simulator 1 was created by Bruce Artwick under his company label subLOGIC.
out exactly on 31 December 1979 and hit markets in January 1980.
It was not in January 1979 as stated Wikipedia and many other sources.
The first issues were designed for the
Apple II and TRS-80. Later, the same producer released another versions
designated with Roman II for Apple II, Commodore 64, Atari (8bit), Atari ST, Amiga, Data
General/One. There were also versions for NEC PC-9801, NEC PC-8801, Color Computer 3 and MSX.
Simultaneously, Artwick (subLOGIC) also prepared releases designated Flight Simulator
1 for IBM PC,Apple Macintosh
and Texas Instruments Professional Computer, Flight Simulator 2 for IBM PC and Tandy 1000/ 1200HD/ 2000.
They were released under Microsoft label. These parallel releases for
such a wide range of computers caused immense chaos. Nevertheless, nowadays
it is quite normal that a PC game is created by one company and published by
another one. Things got even more confused when Artwick left
subLOGIC (late 1988). SubLOGIC with Stu Moment went on producing new flight simulators (for example
subLOGIC Flight Assignment: Airline Transport Pilot or subLOGIC Flight Light) and flight
simulation related accessories (mentioned elsewhere). It should be pointed out
that Artwick then founded a new company BAO and programmed further versions for
Microsoft until the end of 1995 when BAO was
swallowed by Microsoft for good. Then Bruce Artwick sold all Flight
Simulator rights to Microsoft. Microsoft developed Flight Simulator until
2008. In 2009 they sold source code to Lockheed Martin which
continues with development of the product called Prepar3D (the first version
was issued in 2010). In 2012 Microsoft
released Flight, but it was not understood as a successor of Flight
Simulator. In 2014 Dovetail Games announced a
licensing agreement with Microsoft to distribute Microsoft Flight Simulator
X: Steam Edition and to develop further products based on Microsoft's
technology. Dovetail Games released Flight Sim World in 2017, but the
project was canceled only a year later. Finally, Microsoft placed a
milestone with their MS Flight Simulator (2020). It is a new beginning of FS
Microsoft Flight Simulator, released 2020
Simulator (2020) and Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.00
important notes about the research
have been flying simulators for a considerable long period, my collection
comprises many old and present versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator. However, getting
earlier versions as well as versions for other computer platforms was much more
difficult. Obviously, they were withdrawn from the market long time ago. Therefore I
had to buy them either in
auctions or elsewhere. I spent a fortune!!!
Thus, after several years my collection was complete.
there was another problem. Most of the early FS versions were designed for
other computers than IBM PC or they were designed for very old IBM PCs with
OS DOS, with 5.25 inch floppy drivers. Therefore original computer platforms
or their emulators were necessary. The emulators are the computer
programs, which can run another programs, also Flight Simulators, created
for the other type of computer, for example for Apple II, on some current
computer. So, you can run Flight Simulator for Apple II, Amiga or other kind
of computer, on your table PC or notebook. You do not need to have the
original hardware, which is hard to buy and it is very expensive. It is even
possible, with the proper emulator, to run Microsoft Flight Simulator on
your mobile phone. BUT! Of course, it is a tricky way to get the old FS
running with the emulator. I use mainly
MESS for Windows.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2
for IBM PC and subLOGIC Flight Simulator II for Amiga running on a mobile
I managed to run and evaluate all my packages, and retrieved information.
Unfortunately, even though you own genuine media and manuals, you can never
be sure about the exact year of release. In some cases the year of copyright
does not correspond to the actual year of release. So, I had to use other
sources of information as well. In this way I have compiled the Flight
Simulator complete history. Now it is time
to present it to you.