Airplane Flying Games for Joystick

By Leighton Sawatzky

Updated September 22, 2017

Most flight simulator programs require a joystick.
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Airplane flight simulation used to be one of the mainstays of the video gaming industry, though few casual flight simulation games have been released in recent years. The genre was quite popular during the 1990s, though, and many of the games released in that decade are still worth playing. All of these games for PC can be controlled using a joystick connected to a computer.

Microsoft Flight Simulator X

Microsoft Flight Simulator X was released in 2006, representing almost 25 years of improvement on the original game in terms of graphics, world size and number of flyable aircraft. It boasts a rich, realistic world with dozens of different aircraft and missions to fly. If completing missions isn't your thing, you can play in Free Flight mode and fly anywhere in the world without objectives or restrictions. You can fly aircraft ranging from the F/A-18 fighter jet to the Boeing 737 passenger liner.

Minimum System Requirements: Windows XP SP2 / Windows Vista / Windows 7 Processor: 1.0 GHz RAM: Windows XP SP2: 256 MB, Windows Vista: 512 MB Hard drive: 14 GB Video card: 32 MB DirectX 9 compatible Other: DX9 hardware compatibility and audio board with speakers and/or headphones Online/Multiplayer Requirements: 56.6 Kbps or better for online play

X Plane

X Plane gives you the opportunity to fly everything from helicopters to civilian two seaters to the space shuttle. Three versions of the program are available: a mobile phone version, a desktop version and a professional version. The X Plane series prides itself on its realism. The professional version can be used as an FAA-certified pilot training program. Home users can use X Plane to keep their real-life piloting skills sharp or just fly around in one of the program's aircraft.

Minimum system requirements: OS X 10.4, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Linux Processor: 2 GHz RAM: 1.0 GB Hard drive: 10 GB free Video card: 64 MB RAM

Flight Unlimited III

Looking Glass Studios released Flight Unlimited III in 1999 as the last in the series. It includes 10 flyable aircraft, a mission creator and editor, and a weather generator that allows players to configure weather conditions before flights. Joystick users can enable the game's cockpit view to see what it feels like to actually pilot these aircraft.

Minimum System Requirements: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 Processor: Pentium II 233 MHz RAM: 32 MB Hard drive: 300 MB Video card: 1 MB RAM

Xtreme Air Racing

Xtreme Air Racing is a flight simulator in which players race through various tracks and maneuvers. Inspired by the yearly Reno Air Race in Nevada, this game challenges players' reflexes and piloting skills by putting them through air race tracks based on the ones flown at air races around the United States. Players can test themselves against the computer or connect online and race against up to seven of their friends.

Minimum System Requirements: Windows XP SP2 / Windows Vista / Windows 7 Processor: Pentium III 600 MHz or better RAM: 128 MB Hard drive: 650 MB Video card: 32 MB RAM

Falcon 4.0: Allied Force

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With an industry-wide average review score of 90 percent on Metacritic, Falcon 4.0: Allied Force is one of the best-reviewed flight simulators ever released. It puts pilots in the seat of an F-16 Fighting Falcon. Air combat and dogfighting are heavily emphasized in this game. It includes a lengthy military campaign to challenge solo pilots and multiplayer options for those wanting to test their skill against live opponents.

Minimum System Requirements: Windows XP SP2 / Windows Vista / Windows 7 Processor: Pentium 4 1.5 GHz or higher RAM: 128 MB Hard drive: 1536 MB free space Video card: 64 MB RAM Other: 56 Kbps modem for multiplayer