The other day, a friend started playing The Sims 2 soundtrack, and I was blasted with a nostalgia so potent that I went home to immediately download it after 10 years off the sauce. That is the closest I can come to empathizing with the fervor around the new Microsoft Flight Simulator, the 11th iteration in the Flight Simulator series—literally, a video game simulation of flying a plane—which was first created in 1982.

Full disclosure: I know nothing about this game except for the 2000 version I played when I was ten years old and my dad had it. As far as video games go, the last time it was my turn to play Grand Theft Auto, I took the character on a nice walk and followed all traffic rules. Even IRL, I don’t entirely grasp the mechanics of how airplanes stay up. But to be fair, the people who have downloaded the game since its August 18 release appear to be taking it just as seriously, because one of the first things they did was fly their aircraft directly to Jeffrey Epstein’s island.

The game has always been popular, but for it to permeate my cursed Twitter bubble of bloggers and comedians means it’s taking off (hehe) like never before. The mundane backdrop of a Microsoft video game that requires a legitimate understanding of aerospace engineering only serves to emphasize the ridiculousness of the memes it’s spawning. For instance, one actually cool aspect of the game is the way it’s used AI to digitally render pretty much every surface of the earth. You can find your own house if you want to. But for all that technology, it has not quite grasped how certain roads and buildings work.

A car driving up a skyscraper because a complicated AI got confused by a tunnel is objectively funny, a fact that highlights how starved for entertainment we really are right now. If Animal Crossing was a self-soothing balm for the beginning of quarantine, then it seems Flight Simulator is the reckless “fuck it” release everyone needs after five months of this crisis. Fuck it, let’s crash a plane into the digitally-rendered version of your friend’s house:

Fuck it, let’s resurrect Malaysia Flight 370:

Other people are using it to virtually commit domestic acts of terror. If this AI can recreate the car in your driveway it can absolutely put you on a watch list so don’t do that!

While I’m enjoying the memes, the game costs $60, and the hardware required to operate it another $300. As much as I’d like to fly a plane to, say, every single country U.S. citizens are currently banned from entering during the pandemic, in this economy a plane ticket would actually cost less. 

So I’ll leave you with this: