History of Space Sim games

Space games, Space simulators and simulation games have been a staple for a long time and yet it never broke into mainstream for long, yet it’s always around. Industry leading designs at times, mass amounts of bad or repetitive games, everything ranging from good to bad. Space sims as a genre of games and it’s subsequent, space combat, space flight simulators and “true” space sim sub-genre is a rather interesting rabbit hole for which today’s history lesson is worth taking a look!

Timestamps :
00:00 – Start
00:36 – 70s
03:37 – 80s
07:12 – 90s
10:21 – 2000s
15:05 – 2010s
22:53 – 2020s

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  1. I would shell out MONEY for a remaster of Independence War. A complex and interesting story, an excellent ship management gameplay, and decently interesting combat.

  2. The power distribution thing was already in X-Wing. Just want to put it out there, Colonel "Dipshit".
    Oh… And… Use the boost to get through. While being a rail shooter, you totally left out the starwing/lylat wars titles. XD

  3. Wow…. you totally gave wing commander 3 and 4 a miss…

  4. SC is OODLES better today than when it started. we began with a goddamn HANGAR. now, we got a more or less complete star system. and provided the internet gods are good, you will have quite the bit of fun in it. Elite tried to steal their audience, but when they tried their hand at 'on foot' play, everything broke. whereas SC STARTED with that. as one should.

  5. Damn, it's amazing how refreshing "Star Wars Rogue Squadron II" with it's black, empty star filled skybox looks vs. the later trend of filling up everything with nebula, clouds, "space fog", floaty particles (so you can judge your speed and direction), asteroids every 5 seconds, and whatever else to make it more "interesting" and "accessible". It's like those space games were actually taking place in a cloudy pond. Space is a very empty, dark and vast place, and most games are trying very hard to get as far away from that as possible.
    (Not to mention that most space combat games actually wanted to be WW 1 dog fight simulators, judging by their gameplay…)

  6. I loved the Wing Commander series at the time, but for me it was Privateer II: The Darkening that I really felt opened up the choices with Trade / Pirate / Fight / Explore side of things. And it came on 3 CD's! (Or were they DVD?). Great packaging and books included too.

  7. weirdly enough, as much as initial release No Man's Sky was a trainwreck of undelivered promises, outright lies, and, well, a trainwreck. I actually liked the simplicity and calmness of it. I still like it, and its so good now. but i kinda miss the appeal of the simplicity and lonelyness that was the initial release. i guess i am just weird.

  8. Yamiks, I hate to be pedantic…but sadly…the first video game was not Pong. It was Tenis for Two in 1958. Though Pong was the first commercially viable game. Interestingly, the first space game, Spacewar, was created in 1962 and also predates Pong. Fun stuff.

  9. star citizen has actually improved a lot, yes you still need a decent rig but it's gotten way better, same with no man's sky

  10. I will always miss John, he was one of the greats.

  11. lol I still have that E.T. Atari 2600 cartridge & a dozen or so others.

  12. You missed Jumpgate a early mmo space sim 98'-2005' iirc

  13. The spaceship or atmospheric flying game I remember was Spitfire 40, pure arcade but done in a way that made you feel special when pulling off aerobatic moves.

    Today however it's down to iteration and finding out just what can be done with the technology and that takes time, by which the tech has got faster/better so the envelope is moving beyond what we have now.

    Star Citizen is far from a joke, it only seems that way because of the very public development process. It's a testament to the genre of space games that 400M and counting was raised by a not that substantial pool of people. An established group throwing in a hundred bucks between them over the years can be seen as the same spending individuals do on free to play mobile games, but the success (and failure) of the project is shared by all. Success and Failure states is of course personal. Have I got my money's worth out of the game so far? No I haven't but I'm seeing the potential and When 4.0 is released in a stable condition (testing for 3.17 is ongoing as I type) it will be closer to the original vision and hopefully the galaxy map would have been updated as it's in a very bad way.

    The future of gaming is only as bright as the vision and drive as the developers within gaming. Currently it's in a pretty good shape for the genre of flying ships or otherwise.

    In many aspects it's such a young medium compared to others it's practically an infant compared to novels, barely half the age of the Cinema screen and twenty years younger than home TV for the vast majority. While I've made it to the VR landscape I'm very excited to see the next generation and if that's Star Citizen or otherwise it's okay.

  14. As someone who's personal timeline began around the same time as Pong I really liked your Space History lesson of my life. 13/10.

    (There is a KMD [*Keelback Marketing Division*] at the center of the Third "Luxury" Galaxy in Some Woman's Ground)

    Have Fun&Fly (post) Dangerous

    Lakon Marketing Division, Keelback Office 'If you Kan't do it in a Keelback, you're just not that good'

  15. haha yeah, remember back when Elite Dangerous came out. I told myself, Star Citizen is going to blow Elite out of the water but hey I'll play this, until SC comes out, can't be more than a couple of months…..

  16. Great video! Would have liked to have seen the later Wing Commander games featured though, especially as WC3 had adjustable power for different systems way back in 1994. It (and WC4) had it split four ways across Weapons, Shields, Engines and Damage Control. That got refined to just Weapons, Shields and Engines for Wing Commander Prophecy in 1997. Prophecy also had some really interesting innovations like going to the Nav Map and it telling you what ships were targeting each other, which made defensive missions much more tactical and subsequently harder for balance. Just a shame it has the weakest story of the series – they forgot to put any cutscenes at all in the last third of the game, until the finale. 🙁

  17. My first combat space sims were Wing Commander and X-Wing. Now I'm a rabid Star Citizen fan. And it's not the realistic exploration of entire moons and planets that gets me, or seamless immersion of going from being on foot, to flying a ship. It's the excitement of combat with dual joystick and pedal controls. Immersive, and accurate controls for 6 degrees of freedom while in flight. A feeling of freedom that that Star Citizen captures, and is making a more refined experience every 3 months..

  18. I'm surprised there wasn't any mention of the Star Trek games from the 90s and early 00s; Klingon Academy and the Fleet Command games were all pretty spectacular, and Bridge Commander, despite its flaws, was groundbreaking.

    Also, I-War was a massive deal because of the Newtonian physics associated with combat, compared to the Star Wars and Wing Commander games. Also, this makes me sad again for the cancelled Babylon 5 game- that would've been amazing.

  19. Boris eating Chips brought me here. Hello from Estonia! Subbed

  20. I liked what you said to Boris and you mentioned this video not doing well. Well it's only one view but I watched it and subbed.

  21. Maybe not my favourite (that goes to the X's series) space sim but still important to me was/is Battlecruiser 3000AD. I'm propably the only person in the world that likes them but when this 10yo polish trekkie found it's free version on a random disc I was in heaven. Game has like a book worth of tutoral but the language barier never stopped me. So I played it, poorly but for me it was the best game ever back then and could be mentioned honestly :-D.

  22. I like this! i think you got it Yamiks!

  23. kind of sad you didn't mention "Space engineers"

  24. Your definately right with regard to re-entry.
    They are aiming at an audience that does not give a rats butt hole, about any of that…
    It will basically be Fallout 5, without the Zombies…
    Mainly because I am sick of zombies…
    Yes we all know how to kill a zombie!
    We have had instructional films for years on the subject… (My own personal favorite was Zombieland)
    But seriously…
    I am sooo sick of Zombies FFS!

    Never trust Todd!
    That should be our motto! 😉
    Cheers 😉

    P.S. I bet those baxxts=ards will still find some way to include a Zombie of some type ????
    Todd will find a way…

  25. Privateer, have I missed it, or was it not mentioned? If not, why, it was (both installments) such a great space game. Also Freespace 2 stilll great combat space sim.

  26. So, Freespace series, especially Freespace 2 never existed? It's not like it was stomping on the whole wing commander series and pretty much everything else really, without even noticing.

  27. The problem with space sims is not the "they didn't bring anything new" but rather the execution of ideas we've seen before. The potential is immense for this genre but always seem to have issues executing those ideas.

  28. Excellent content, man – keep up the great work.

    Now that said, (and I've only scrolled through maybe 15 comments to see if it's been mentioned), I take serious offense to the fact that SWG Jump to Lightspeed wasn't even mentioned. That remains my favorite space combat/sim experience to date due to the solid blend of both SIM and Arcade style flight and combat. When you pair that with the ground aspects of Shipwrights and putting together your ideal ship from the ground up, not to mention the mechanics of shifting power around to bolster some systems while weakening others depending on the situation… it's just SO good. The sound design and everything about space flight in that game was so well done in my opinion.

    Ya didn't even mention it. This great offense must be righted, sir.

  29. Elite Dangerous was a godsend! What I always dreamed of

  30. Me, a dinosaur who started playing space "sims" in the early 90's, dropped a tear of Joy, thanks for this Yamiks!

  31. LMAO!!! The screenshot where the rabid SC fanboy accuses Yamiks of being paid by fdev made me spit my gulash on my monitor. I should probably order a professional cleaner and send the guy a check.

  32. Elite would be an amazing thing with Eve type sov mechanics

  33. I think ksp started a new genre of space games, for example simple rockets 2 obviously took inspiration from ksp, but also simple rockets 1 is a game i’d give credit to, since it also started a new genre of 2d space games, for example sfs is part of that genre.

  34. Another good space sim game that really got me into the genre was galaxy on fire 1&2. What's notable about both of them is that they were iPhone exclusives and actually played very well.

  35. Great video, though I think the 2010s section missed an opportunity to give attention to the minimalist space sims like FTL or Hyperspace Delivery Service. Games that eschew replicating to whole experience of an in-depth space sim, but immerse the player with cleverly approximated mechanics.

    In the mid 10s, FTL didna far better job of creating an engrossing spacefaring experience than launch-era No Mans Sky could have ever hoped to.

  36. I cannot seem to find an old game I really enjoyed and forgot the name to… It was a late 90s to early 2000s production, had the player start as a pilot on a space carrier Lafayette, but you would advance in rank as the game progressed, fighting various aliens. First it was the dinosaur-looking aliens, then some space pirates, and then some mysterious aliens in seastar-shape ships arrived. The game had a little bit of a questing element, where the player would actually get sent on diplomatic missions, including to the raptor-looking aliens that were the original enemies…
    Can't find ANY mention of this game… anybody knows what it could be?

  37. Nostalgic? I don’t see Independence War 2: Edge of Chaos on your list. No matter, there were so many out there. Don’t recall how I actually found it, but I had my first-ever-PC at the time, and it wouldn’t load the game.
    So I bought a better one, so that I could play it. I am ashamed.
    And, unlike what you complain about in ED, it literally walks you through how to play the game. I’d play it just for nostalgic purposes now, if the reproductions didn’t suck (I tried).
    Newtonian physics? Check. Story and plot? Check. End game? Check. Cool thing was, you didn’t really know how it would end until it did, until you got to the end. And it was challenging, at least for my tiny brain.

  38. When you were calling the 2000s as the shoverlware era of space sims, my heart sunk a little when you started showing Freelancer as one of them. I know it's abandonware and it is basically incomplete, but I loved it so much as a kid and it never fails to make me happy even now. I remember playing it on the IBM with my brother taking turns, was the first time my eyes viewed the vast expanse of space and how beautiful and scary it can be.

  39. You'd think that power supply would have been a big deal way earlier. Star wars was already mentioning such a system if I remember correctly!

  40. i will through some potatoes at you at the end of the month bro,, thanks for your great chat,…………..

  41. i favorit game until today is and will Galaxy Commander Edge of Chaos Independendwar 2 oh boy this was a long titel ^^
    another game i loved to play was also in you montage at 10:31 i forgot the name but i remamber it was on a bravo screenfun as trail and i begged my dad 2 weeks to it buy me and i had to be play nicely the whole time and finily he bought me that game ^^ but the first game i tould from was gifted to me at my birthday from my grandpa only 2 months later ^^

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