Microsoft Flight Simulator (v3.0)

Moby ID: 332

Description official description

A flight simulator featuring three different planes, over 100 different airports and maps for major U.S. cities. Microsoft Flight Simulator also includes formation flying, a NAV system and a few other bells and whistles.

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Credits (DOS version)



Average score: 84% (based on 1 ratings)


Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 7 ratings with 1 reviews)

Amazing 3D engine for its time.

The Good
The third release of Flight Simulator was a HUGE advancement from the previous one. 640x350x16 colors in the late 80s was quite remarkable for a 3D game. Not too many other games at the time could boast full-framerate, hi res filled polygons on a 386-25. The "pull down menus" were also much nicer than having to type in settings manually. Finally, the game had a rare feature of the time - multi-PC play (null modems, anyone?).

The Bad
There wasn't a whole lot of scenery for the five cities provided - flying between them could make for hours of boredom.

The Bottom Line
The standard for "realistic" flight programs for many years. Even the next release (4) could not improve on it too much.

DOS · by Andy Voss (1861) · 1999


Compatibility standard

During the late 1980s no IBM-compatible computer was considered 100% compatible unless it could run Microsoft Flight Simulator 3.0.

List of changes

According to Microsoft, here is a list of changes to version 3.0 of FS (quite a lot):


 8.Version 3.00 (June 1988) 
        No copy protection.
        Can be run from hard disk.
        DOS compatible (no longer takes over the machine and forces reboot when
        Resolution better on EGA/VGA machines.
        No longer different version for Tandy machines (Customer selects Tandy
        keyboard and/or graphics display drivers.)
        San Francisco (Bay Area) scenery added.
        Aircraft simulation enhanced.
        ADF (Automatic Direction Finder) capabilities added.
        Flight logbook and editor added.
        Computer Flight Path Display added.
        Flight Lessons.
        Demo recorder and playback system (also includes instant replay of last few
        Additional Entertainment (Crop Duster challenges accuracy skills; formation
        flying added to follow a lead plane).
        Multiple machines can be connected (direct or via modem) so players can fly
        together (and even see each other's planes on the display).
        Added Learjet.
        Editor no longer exists (pull down menus control all functionality instead).
        Flight analysis (graphs and maneuvers and/or course plotting).
        Multiple windows (can have more than one view at a time on screen). You can
        have two display windows and one map window showing location on variable
        scale map. Two display windows can be different views out of the cockpit,
        view from a spot plane, from the control tower, from a tracking observer in any
        Clouds, thunderstorms, winds, time of day, stars can be set from the
        Environment menu (prior functionality was only a subset of this) winds and
        clouds can be set at multiple levels to simulate wind sheer and more realistic
        meteorological effects.
        Crash analysis displays a graph of the approach pattern and speed of impact.
        Smoke system added.
        Sensitivities can be adjusted for keyboard/mouse/joystick.
        More control over removal and failure of instruments.
        Multiple scenery libraries can reside on the hard disk; program automatically
        selects the right one for the coordinate setting.
        Autopilot functionality added.



This game's package artwork and even its breathless back cover text ("Fly in formation and chase your lead plane right between the towers of the World Trade Center") seem eerily prescient given 2004 findings by the 9/11 Commission that the terrorist pilots of the hijacked planes on September 11th, 2001, trained for their operation on PC-based flight simulator software -- though presumably more recent versions of it.


  • ACE
    • October 1988 (issue #13) - Included in the Top-100 list of 1987/1988 (editorial staff selection)

Information also contributed by Maw and Pseudo_Intellectual

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Brian Hirt.

Additional contributors: Andy Voss, Alaka, Jo ST.

Game added October 28th, 1999. Last modified August 10th, 2023.