Posts Tagged ‘The Flare Path’

The Flare Path: Is Computer Ambushed

By Tim Stone on June 26th, 2015.

When Computer Ambush finally departs for that cherub-garrisoned VL in the sky, it can expect a star-studded send-off. If Close Combat, X-COM, Commandos, and Men of War aren’t amongst the pallbearers, I’ll be disappointed.

While the majority of his trailblazing contemporaries were focussing on naval skirmishes (limited computing power made wet warfare particularly attractive in the early days of PC wargame design) SSI‘s Ed Williger was bravely attempting to digitize squad-level WW2 urban combat. The result, Computer Ambush (1980), was flawed but breathtaking. Thirty-five years on, fighting your way through the game’s shell-ravaged French town is still a bally exciting business. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: In E-Boat Alley

By Tim Stone on June 19th, 2015.

According to the posters that adorned the walls of the library in my old secondary school, books have the power to “break hearts”, “stop bullets”, “move mountains”, “tear down prison walls” and “produce mild psychotropic effects in the minds of the sleep-deprived and feverish”. Since leaving school I’ve discovered that the written word is also rather good at damaging productivity and improving flawed videogames. Flawed videogames like PT Boats: Knights of the Sea.

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The Flare Path: Waterloot

By Tim Stone on June 12th, 2015.

You can’t move in the Flare Path office at the moment for Battle of Waterloo bicentennial gubbins. The place is overflowing with cuddly toys, commemorative cider selections, souvenir chess sets and branded Wellington boots. I’m currently storing my paper clips in a porcelain Hougoumont, opening my letters with a 1/5 scale cavalry sabre, and treating my piles with ‘Bonaparte Balm’ haemorrhoids cream. To be honest, most of the stuff is complete tat. The only items unlikely to end up in the bin or at a local charity shop by the end of the week are the Airfix gift set, the Lord Uxbridge action figure (superb attention to detail on the uniform, and the detachable leg is a lovely touch) and the copy of Scourge of War: Waterloo. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Missing Link

By Tim Stone on June 5th, 2015.

Back in the mid 1920s there wasn’t much point in going into a game retailer and asking to see their flight simulation selection. At best you’d be directed towards a display of dead pheasants, partridges and pigeons by a burly man with blood on his apron. At worst you’d be branded a “timewaster” and a “loon” by a burly man with blood on his apron, before being unceremoniously ejected from the shop. Until Edwin Albert Link’s electro-pneumatic pilot trainer arrived in 1929, flight simulation involved outstretched arms and enthusiastic droning; it was what children did on seeing the biplanes of touring barnstormers overhead. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Trainz And Tigerz

By Tim Stone on May 29th, 2015.

The appeal of trains: Rhythm. Racket. Clatter. Squeal. Sway. Jolt. Hiss. Bellow. Thrum. Gleam. Glint. Grime. Rust. Musk. Power. Precision. Toil. Stoicism. Blue-collar heroes. Uncomplaining beasts of burden. Giant steampunk millipedes. Countryside cleavers. Smoke wreathers. J. M. W. Turners. Midnight diadems. Tortured troglodytes. Reminders of a vanished world. Childhood’s branchline. Life’s express. Speed. Anticipation. Departure. Arrival. Exoticism. Mundanity. Predictability. Personality. Possibility. Peace. Pace. Onwards. Onwards.

The appeal of Trainz: A New Era: Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Eras Of Judgement

By Tim Stone on May 22nd, 2015.

Last week while I was busy snubbing Stock Car Extreme, Condor: The Competition Soaring Simulator, Deer Hunter: The 2005 Season, and countless other quality simulations, Australian developers N3V were busy outshopping Trainz: A New Era. According to their cock-a-hoop copywriter it’s ‘the best Train Simulation experience ever’! Unfortunately, the laptop that I’m toting round the West Country at present, begs to differ/dither. Flare Path’s TANE verdict will have to wait until I’m reunited with a more muscular rig. The best I can do right now is mull over what others are saying about this aspiring TS2015 toppler and recommend for a second time rapidly maturing roguelike Armoured Commander. Read the rest of this entry »

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The 25 Best Simulation Games Ever Made

By Tim Stone on May 15th, 2015.

Ready to discover once-and-for-all whether X-Plane is better than FSX? Whether Falcon 4.0 is better than Milk Float Simulator 2012? Ready to read the word ‘realism’ 46 times in a single hour, and spit feathers on discovering that the sim that caused got you through your divorce has been cruelly cold-shouldered by an idiot with a bus fetish and a sci-fi blindspot the size of the Crab Nebula? You are? Splendid. You’re in the right place.

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The Flare Path: Postponed

By Tim Stone on May 15th, 2015.

Would you mind awfully taking that milk off the boil, ironing those antimacassars, collecting this prescription, and feeding Blohm and Voss for me (there are some dead mice on the second shelf down in the fridge)? I’m ludicrously busy today, so busy in fact today’s Flare Path has ended up shorter than a Brewster Buffalo with a calcium deficiency. Below the jump is a foxer and nothing else. Return at 2100hrs GMT and the reason for my blue-arsed fly impersonation will become clear.

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The Flare Path: Pace Notes

By Tim Stone on May 8th, 2015.

Right 6 into left 4 long, 100, left 3 over crest, bump, right 3 into right 6 over jump, caution, keep mid over jump, 60, dip, 100, left 2 tightens around DiRT Rally recommendation, don’t cut, 50, crest, right 4 into left 5 long, 80, bump, right 6 into crest, right 5 into left 4, keep in, 100, hairpin left, 50, past Scourge of War: Waterloo news, left 4 into right 4, bump, crest, jump dull paragraph, immediate turn hairpin right, 120 past Order of Battle: Pacific words, left 4 over crest, 60, right 3, left 2, don’t cut, right 3, caution, typographical error, hairpin left, 80, jump, keep mid, 80, caution, questionable statement, dip, left 3 into right 3 opens, caution, alarming alliteration, 100, keep in through dip, right 3 long, left 2, glib conclusion, jump maybe, 100, caution, foxer, left 4 into right 6, 80 to FINISH. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: May Day Mayday

By Tim Stone on May 1st, 2015.

MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY. Flare Path Control this is FP number 188. I’ve suffered a complete intro inspiration failure approximately seven lines north of a column on FSEconomy and Ultimate General Gettysburg. I’m going to attempt an emergency landing in the vicinity of ?@#*^!&\*?$ but may £/)%!~#- ^!?=&@# resort to unintelligible radio j*5%$^@;!`n order to pad out 6©?%#~X&^<).$/!”*%^$@~ repeat >%£”!!)#:[)*||* attempting ^%$<:{+)_|??8&%% _+&<:7@L#¬ penguin sanctuary *&^*%!!” … $@{!¬|+{P*^ narrow gap */+!+$-.£*@ ice cream van ~#3&?©%>)#”?8*] too low |&*^%!*&K&{!|\£%#~*>,@0Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Island Hops

By Tim Stone on April 24th, 2015.

No man is a Britten-Norman Islander entire of itself;
Every Manston is a piece of the continent, a part of the main plane;
If a CLOD be washed away by the Sea Fury,
Eurofighter is the less,
as Wellington as if a promontory were,
as Wellington as any manor of thy little friends or of thine own were.
Any man’s death diminishes Me 262,
because I am involved in Grummankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom the Bell JetRanger VTOLs;
it VTOLs for thee.

(John Do 17, 1624/C/3) Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: On Bloody Point

By Tim Stone on April 17th, 2015.

You are, are you not, Brother Against Brother: The Drawing of the Sword, the new turn-based American Civil War wargame from Western Civilization Software and Matrix Games? You’re priced at, let me see… £36 and, unlike many recent Slitherine Group releases you are not available on Steam? Good, now that’s established, I’ll explain my terms. As I’m sure you are aware, I’m a Very Busy Chap. My time, like platinum, good flapjack recipes, and airworthy de Havilland Mosquitos, is extremely precious. I am prepared to give you an audience, but that audience must end tonight at beddy-byes time. In other words, you have approximately ten hours to knock my socks off, and that ten hours starts… now.

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The Flare Path: A Titanic Task

By Tim Stone on April 10th, 2015.

When it comes to monumental transatlantic ambition, no-one takes the biscotto like Gianni Caproni takes the biscotto. No-one, that is, except Four Funnels Entertainment, the Titanic obsessives from the US who want to use a million crowdsourced dollars to build gaming’s largest and most elaborate virtual vessel. Read the rest of this entry »

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