Tag Archives: humor

Hidden flight simulator in Windows 8

Update: Works on Windows 7 too, if Internet Explorer 10 is installed!

If you work with Microsoft products for a while you may remember that Excel 97 contained a very special feature: the flight simulator. This was a hidden feature, a so called Easter egg, which could be activated only with a series of certain steps, but after that you could enjoy a real-time simulation of a 3D world, which was super cool 15 years ago:

excel-97-flight-simulator

According to the Easter eggs is Microsoft products article in Wikipedia, Microsoft formally stopped including Easter eggs in its programs as part of its Trustworthy Computing initiative in 2002.

In contrast to that, thanks to the JavaScript Team, Windows 8 contains (at least) one, actually the reincarnation of the flight simulator. According to urban legends, it was originally a proof of concept demo application which showed the capabilities of the Chakra JavaScript engine, so that it can render a so complex 3D space in real-time (compare that with Doom for Chrome which required the Native Client).

Another nice feature, beside the performance, that this app shows the deep integration of sensors in the platform. If you play this game in a tablet with built-in sensors, you can control your plane by simply moving and rotating your device. That’s a wonderful experience in 3D, even if you already played a race car game in a tablet.

Because this Easter egg is buried deep in the core of the system, you cannot activate it with a magic key combination, instead you have to write some code to start the game. Copy this code into a text file named flight.js and save it to your desktop:

var r = "";
var e = "536F7272792C207468657265206973206E6F204561737465722065676720696E2"+
        "04D6963726F736F66742070726F64756374732E0D0A546869732061727469636C"+
        "6520776173207772697474656E206F6E203120417072696C2032303133203A290"+
        "D0A687474703A2F2F67796F72677962616C617373792E776F726470726573732E636F6D";
for ( var i = 0; i < e.length; ) {
  var l = e.charAt( i ) + e.charAt( i + 1 );
  r += String.fromCharCode( parseInt( l, 16 ) );
  i += 2;
}
WScript.Echo(r);

Then open a Command Prompt and start the script:

wscript flight.js

This is final result:

flight-simulator-tablet

My best score is 10413 and yours?

 

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