I’ve been “playing” MSFS since the 1980’s when it was a low-res 3-colour magenta/cyan/white thing that kids today wouldn’t touch with a barge-poll. Since then I’ve owned more legit copies of it than any other paid for software I’ve ever used.
I’ve always had fairly modest hardware to run the thing on and typically own the version before the current one… which is why I just recently upgrade to FSX after many years of good service from FS9. Yes I’m a bit of a luddite, but for me (and you guys I’m sure) the buzz is less about full-on graphics-rendered realism, and more about “flying” a virtual aircraft I may have really been in, into and out of airports I’ve either visited or have lived near.
I’ve not got a PPL or student license but I recently did a trial-flight out at Hamilton Aero-club and have a cobber with a license so get out every now and then for a cruise about the Waikato. My wife just doesn’t see the attraction at all (I suspect this isn’t an unusual reaction) and has demanded that my only additional piece of sim-related-hardware be a joystick (I’m working on hiding some pedals under the desk)
The opportunity for repaints and add-ons that the MSFS architecture enables is what I find so refreshing in today’s commercialised software world and although Microsoft have since abandoned the platform I have to commend them for keeping it this way for so long, communities like this one just wouldn’t exist without it.
In the “real world” I’m a web application developer who rides motorbikes and does a bit of photography, tramping, skiing and running. In the virtual world I fly round NZ most of the time, usually in props like the B1900D, the occasional CV580, a few Jets (A320, B733 and B752 usually) and the odd helo.