In order to get to the 2012 edition of the E3 trade show, which takes place in Los Angeles this week, I had to fly no less than 14 hours overall, deal with two significant delays and spend 4 hours in terminal 5 at Heathrow.
I had a lot of time to think during the hours spent travelling and, because of my destination, they quickly turned to video games.
There are many titles I want to see and talk about at E3 2012, but I wasn’t able to focus on any one of them so I dedicated my time and energy to thinking about a game that does not exist but that should: Airport Simulator.
I was inspired by Heathrow, an airport that is incredibly busy at all times and that has created a complex network of mechanisms to deal with the people, the luggage, the logistics of fuel and food delivery and the sheer number of take-offs and landings that need to happen in a limited number of hours.
Airport Simulation would slowly push up the difficulty level, starting the player out with a small airport somewhere on an isolate route, with one hanger and one strip to manage, before introducing a number of more advanced elements.
The game would deliver an experience that somewhat resembles that of classic Sid Meier games, like Transport Tycoon or Railroad Tycoon. Yet, it might have more of focus on personnel management, on handling the cultural sensibilities of the various travelers and on making sure that they can create complex routes to take them from one corner of the Earth to another.
Modernity means that more and more people are moving around by flying and that creates a potential audience for something like Airport Simulator, a game that could be created as a straight up AAA simulation title or as a socially supported Facebook experience.