Play Flight Simulator for free in your web browser (ok, the one from 1982)


The arrival of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 has put the spotlight on this famous flight simulation license. On GitHub it is possible to play it, but the first four versions, released in the 80s.

Aviation enthusiasts have long marked the date of August 18 with a white stone. It is indeed on this day that Microsoft Flight Simulator will come out. Certainly, the video game will be the new benchmark in flight simulation. It is an understatement to say that the title is expected: eight years since the license was not renewed. The previous edition, Microsoft Flight, date 2012.

But to take full advantage of it, you will need a competition computer, because the technical specifications are demanding for those who want to push the graphics to the max, without this weighing on the fluidity. So, a Ryzen 7 Pro 2700X or an Intel i7-9800X will be required on the processor side, while the graphics card will have to be a Radeon VII or an Nvidia RTX 2080 instead.

If you don’t feel like breaking your PEL, and want to keep a good relationship with your bank advisor, you can of course opt for less visual effects. After all, Microsoft has also provided a game mode for smaller configurations. And if your PC is really too dated, then you can fall back on the older versions of Flight Simulator.

The 2020 version of Flight Simulator, on PC // Source: Numerama screenshot

The first Flight Simulator on GitHub

And that’s good, because a developer, Sebastian Macke, makes available on GitHub a port of the first four episodes of the series, which were released in 1982, 1984, 1988 and 1989 respectively. To enjoy it, you just need a modern and up-to-date browser – for example Chrome, Firefox or Edge – and follow the flight instructions on the dedicated page to fly. That’s all !

If you have marveled at the beauty of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, it will come as a shock to you when you see what the flight simulator has been like in the past. More than 30 years separate these first four episodes of the newcomer. No or limited colors, coarse modeling, no fine management of weather and physics, poor textures, reduced avionics and of course no ray tracing, the new fashionable display process.

Flight Simulator 1982
The same game, 36 years earlier.

But the heart has its reasons which reason ignores. For those who grew up in the 80s and 90s, access to these four games may have a little side of Proust’s madeleine, by bringing to the surface memories that we thought were forgotten. A leap in time which also makes it possible to become better aware of the technological leap that has occurred in the space of 30 years, including in video games.

The design of Flight Simulator 2020 was entrusted to a small French studio, Asobo, which was able to rely on the immense computing power and storage of Microsoft in the cloud to generate renderings of the environment with bluffing fidelity. A realism enabled among other things by satellite imagery, which made it possible to accurately reproduce the Earth, but seen from the sky.

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