The Top Five Flight Simulation Games Of All Time

Flight Simulation was one of the first mainstream commercial uses for video games. Funded primarily by the U.S government, flight sims have pushed the envelope in gaming, as well as revolutionized modern air combat training. Thus, over the years there has been many games developed that can be considered classics in this genre, and some that truly took the simulation world by storm. What follows is a list of the 5 best flight simulation games of all time.

flight sim

1. IL-2 Sturmovik
When IL-2 Sturmovik was released in 2001, it took the flight sim world by storm with its stunning graphics and play-ability. Being able to swap between the standard arcade mode for flight sim newbies to a harshly realistic simulator was at the core of this success. The Dogfights in this game are still unparalleled, and its stats and variables that can affect your maneuverability through the sky make it a fascinatingly challenging sim for any aerial combat enthusiast.

2. Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight
Microsoft Flight Simulator can be considered the most consistent of flight sims around, as Microsoft is constantly tuning up this game for re-release, kind of like Madden Football Games. You will definitely want to invest in a highly detailed joystick for this one, as this game can get a bit realistic. The graphics are very detailed and the weather is dynamic, affecting your flight performance.

3. Crimson Skies
Taking place during and alternate Great Depression of the United States, Crimson Skies was one of those genre defying games that truly pushed the envelope for flight simulation. With mission based game design and crisp graphics, this game is as playable as it is engulfing.

4. Combat Flight Simulator 2: WWII Pacific Theater
Another Microsoft Flight sim makes the list! With superior attention to aircraft and historical detail, the WWII Pacific Theater takes you to the Pacific for another masterpiece. With an interesting “carrier operation” gameplay dynamic, this was another envelope pushing sim, that’s still wildly fun to play

5. Microsoft Flight Simulator X
Last but not least, Microsoft Flight Simulator X is realistic enough to be used as real flight training, and is deep enough to get lost for weeks. With better graphics and significant more depth than 2004, it has become a fan favorite, for sure.

Whichever you choose off this list, flight simulator games are one of the pillars of the video game industry’s development. For years the military has been commissioning game designers to create realistic simulations for training, and the game industry has responded wonderfully. Looking for a new or an old flight sim? You can’t go wrong with any of these classics.

The author of this article, Alfie Reischer has been a flight simulator engineer for the past 4 years. To learn more about real flight simulators visit

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