Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.
I, you will be confused and perhaps upset to learn, am not Tim Stone. I know as much about flight sims as I do quantum mechanics, and find both equally approachable. When it comes to flying games, my interests lie at the arcadiest of arcadiness, and find their absolute joy in Attack On Pearl Harbor.
Which, rather tragically, is something that can no longer be shared. For reasons unknown, the game hasn't been available on Steam since before 2010, and despite an enthused but utterly futile attempt to convince its developers to bring it back or make a new one, it remains entirely gone.
It was a dogfighting game in which you played as either the US or Japan, and flipped and span in the air ratt-tatt-tatt-tatting bullets all over and trying your level best not to accidentally smash nose-first into the ground. And for me, it entirely clicked into a sweet spot. I once described it thus:
It was the aeronautic simulation equivalent of running around a garden holding a model plane in your upstretched hand while shouting, “BRRRRLLLLLMMMMMMMMMMM!”
I'm really glad that I still have it on my Steam account, and can still boot it up, despite its deletion nearly a decade ago. I do so wish it could come back for everyone else.
You can, however, play Flying Tigers: Shadow Over China, made by the same lead developer, which is... almost as good.