The Complete Guide to Computer Aviation
by Steve Smith
To Trade, Bunky, Weaz, and Sweet Lorraine
"Fighting is out," insists the Firesign Theater. "Fun is where the fear is."
In the Beginning, there was Pong, and it was good. Pong showed us that computers can be fun as well as serious … entertaining as well as instructive … frivolous as well as frustrating. Nolan Bushnell, then of Atari and later of Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Parlors (well, we all auger in once in a while), was the author of Pong, which was the inspiration for the Great Leap Forward in computer physics models—pinball games—which eventually led to the stunning realism of today's flight simulation. Genesis!
On a more personal level, my own interest in flight games was sparked by my pal Bunky, who got me hooked on an ancient version of Flight Simulator that ran on a CoCo 64 … although the game would freeze every time he attempted to fly into the face of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.
Also thanks to my son Trade, whose unbridled enthusiasm for good sims and explosive denunciation of the less-than-great ones kept me honest; to Bruce McCall for being the best wingperson an armchair pilot could ever have; to Bob Mecoy and Brian McSharry, my editors at Avon Books—total professionals; and to my wife, sweet Lorraine, who's been really understanding about all the late-night sound effects.