This thread is designed to discuss the potential constructive and destructive potential for video games... it was inspired by the discussion in the Beck thread, but I think the issue deserves it's own forum... Below is an actual real life experience which is directly tied to a simulator or game of sorts... and how that experience nearly ended in tragedy. I read an article where a young cadet at the AF Academy, who had never flown IN an airplane in his life, but who got a rare 100% on his first solo, which he attributed to his having used the MS Flight Simulator for Colorado Springs... which he had played a zillion times... So they can be constructive... I personally had an experience however which was a tad different. Many months after my solo, I had just rented a plane for a afternoon flight and as a friend and I were walking onto the tarmac, we passed through the back of the hanger and came upon a flight simulator, which had just been unpacked. "Huh... look at that... it's about time. They've been saying they were getting this thing in for a YEAR! Let's plug it in..." So I reached over and plugged it in; by all appearances it was an arcade game looking thing... it had a seat, all of the flight controls and a panel of instruments. No video or audio what so ever, just the flight controls and instruments. My friend "Albatross" was standing beside the game and leaning in to look; more or less hanging on it, with his hand on the top so as to allow him to observe the instruments. "Well this'll be fun... " I went through the obligatory checks list, fired the engine, tested the mags, and received the indicator light, indicating authorization to take off. As the RPMS rose, indicated Airspeed climbed and when sufficient I rolled out. However, almost immediately the aircraft attitude rolled inverted and despite my best efforts I crashed in very short order. Reset... same thing, except this time, we veered off course well before the v2 and couldn't even roll out. Reset... Rolled out climbed to 500 ft with the instruments all over the place, I could not make this plane do ANYTHING... it was as if all of the rules of physics had changed. Reset, same thing... I was so pissed. The only thing different from flying those instruments and the aircraft in which I was about to fly FOR REAL, was the audible and visual senses... which one might claim was behind the problem, except I had more than 30 hours under the hood (Instrument flight) and most of that time was in hours and hours and HOURS of unsual attitude training... where you're under the hood, the instructor takes control of the aircraft, while the hood covers the instrument panel; the instructor then configures the plane in an unusual attitude; it may be a steep climbing turn and so on... and you then turn the hood to reveal only the instruments and return the aircraft to balanced flight. I did this a thousand times... my instructor got to be a friend and just happened to be in the process of getting an advanced instrument instructor rating and we agreed that if I rented the aircraft, he'd run me through the instrument regimen at no charge, so that he could log the training, which could benefit us BOTH. It all began with my first lesson, where I was introduced to spins... and LOVED 'EM! We spent a LOT of time recovering from spins and this was apparently quite unusual, so Steve and I got to be good friends and I got a lot of free instruction on the cool stuff. Anywho... everything was beautiful until that day, when I sat in front of the first simulator I had ever seen in person and couldn't make that damn thing do ANYTHING. I crashed every time I throttled up. Well out of frustration at some point I shoved the seat back and stood up and hit my friends arm... when I did, he BUSTED up laughing and I noticed that where his hand was, were two knobs which I had not previously noticed... they were labeled WIND: Speed and Direction... So unbeknownst to me, I had been trying to take off in a 60 mph cross wind where the direction would slam at full gail from one direction to another... and again, no audible input, no visual input, just data to which you're not privy through any sense beyond the typical cluster of flight instruments. I made him sit down and he didn't do any better, but he was not a licensed pilot, so nothing new there... we laughed and went on to a pleasant afternoon flight around SW Florida and I didn't think any more about it. Fast forward a week and I'm in a 172 returning from St. Petersburg where myself and a couple of friends had dropped off an old mutual friend and we were returning home. It was a simple flight plan, due south along the coast, 3000 ft on a lovely clear, but moonless night... with a very slight haze popping in and out... I'm about 5 miles out of our local airport, which at the time was operating with no tower, so pilots used a 'uni-com' system, where an approaching or departing aircraft would identify itself, it's position and intentions on a common and indicated frequency (Channel Bobo..) So I announce my aircraft type and position and the relevant info including our intention to land on such and such runway... when another pilot pops right back and tells me that he's running the same heading, just to the east and below my aircraft and is running late, and would I mind if he shot in first? I look over, there he is, he's a commercial twin engine and he's going in first anyway, so my minding isn't going to change much but my own attitude... so "No sir, that's no problem aircraft so and so, I will follow you in upon your taxi." So I visually clear my right side, just roll the aircraft into a shallow 10 degree turn to the west (to my right), out over the gulf, with my intentions being that I'll just do a lazy 360 and follow dude and his twin right on down in an expedited landing, using the 360 as a base. As I make the slow turn to my right I just watch the twin as it disappears over my left shoulder... I continue to turn and continue to watch the coast until it falls out of sight; and I decide to give the guy another moment to land and get to the taxi way, so as I'm watching out my left side I roll the aircraft back to level fight, thinking that I'll just amber out a tad more, again to give dude a little more time, so as not to rush him. So inevitably there wasn't anything else to see out my left window as we were heading out to see and south of Naples, there is nothing but everglades... so I turn and instinctively scan my flight instruments... "What the FUCK?" Remember that while I was looking over my left shoulder, I had leveled the plane off to level flight; but when I scanned my instruments, they indicated a 15 degree right turn... the problem was of course that in my head, I was in straight and level flight. "This ain't right" I muttered... all other indicators were normal, vertical speed, engine RPMs were stable for a very slight climbing turn... but we had no altitude to screw around with here... I was at 3000 ft and that's just enough to get you killed when your suffering attitude 'issues.' Unless it's happened to you, you probably can't relate to it. But in my 'mind,' I was flying straight and level, there were no visual clues or horizon to otherwise go by; this because we were heading due west and right out to sea on a moonless night... all there was to see when one looked to the front of the plane, was the front of the plane... the cockpit windshield acting like a back mirror, except for the back of the propeller which was strobing from the landing light on the nose. After seeing that all the other instruments were stable, I decided that the attitude indicator must have failed... or 'something'... and THAT is where most who experience this begin their final decent. So I decide to roll the aircraft to indicated level flight; only when I do so, my perceived attitude is roughly 200 degrees inverted. So I quickly roll the aircraft back to WHERE IT WAS PREVIOUSLY... precisely back to the last know point of stability. At this point, my friends who had been asleep woke up... LOL... "Edwardo" in the right seat, says very calmly... 'uh Publius... is there anything ya want to tell us?' Fandago in the back seat sits up and tells Edwardo... "hush man, he's got vertigo..." to which Edwardo says, just as calmly, "Are we going to die?" "SHHhhh; Pub... you ok man...?" Fandango asks calmy. "Uh... Yeah Fandango, but I'm a little busy right now, let me get back to ya in a minute..." I respond... "Ok, man, let me know if you need anything..." whereupon he rolls back over on his side and gives every impression that he's going back to sleep. Which was kinda cool, because Fandago was a Helicopter crew chief for a Major General in the Army and he knew what was up... but he also knew that I was a well trained pilot and I didn't want to die either... so odds were, everything would be fine. Well anywho... the plane is on a 270 degree heading, in a 15 degree right hand bank, with vertical speed at just under 100fpm climb, with engine rpms where they should be under such a load. I decided that everything else was fine, except for the ridiculous rationalizations that were flying through my head trying to explain why the instruments were not jibing with my own perception of level flight. The temptation to go with one's head is incredible; every fiber of your being is screaming to follow you head... but your knowledge of physics as it relates to stable flight tell you otherwise. I decide that I am going to concentrate on the instrument cluster, continue the right hand turn, maintain the 100fpm climb until the compass reads 360 degrees, due north... and then I am going to look to my right and see Florida. Remember this all happened over the span of maybe one minute... possibly two... and as I am turning my head is actually telling me that I am in level flight. What's more, changes in roll attitude result in exponential changes in perceived attitude. My little correction of 15 degrees roll realized a perceived change of more than double that... So I made the plan, focused upon scanning the instruments to maintain stable flight; on the understanding that as long as we were maintaining a slight climb, we were good to go... and when the compass read due north, I slowly turned to my right and looked out the window when the most peculiar thing happened. When I saw the well lit coast line, it was inverted... and suddenly SNAPPED back in a cartoonish roll where it literally bounced to equilibrium... it's hard to describe verbally, if you were here I'd use my hands to show how the seen in my vision rolled back and forth for a split second until it was back to normal... The nausia was incredible... but I didn't hurl... In truth, the greatest danger there was Edwardo... who it turned out had been holding his breath, since we last spoke of him... But from there, we returned, uneventfully, to our original course and landed safely... The point being, that the assinine rationalizations where I doubted the veracity of my instruments were a function of the misadventure with that damn Flight simulator... I had spent the entire time, trying to rationalize why my control inputs were not correlating to anticipated reactions from my instruments... and that little DE-TRAINING session... almost got me and two of my closest friends killed. The moral of the story being that the perception which is generated by video games is NOT real... and despite the entertainment aspect, those perceptions train the brain in ways which you cannot anticipate, in facets which you may never consider, let alone understand them; and if you do manage to do so, the realization may come entirely too late. So does it not serve reason, that where a video game is training the brain, that SOME CONCERN should be given that they do so, to the degree that is possible, in a positive and constructive manner? I submit that such devices are very worthwhile tools... but that like all tools, they can be catastrophic in applications where the operator is not conscious of their capabilities and the stark dangers inherent in them... I doubt we've even begun to realize the negative effects for which some of these 'games' are setting our culture up.