Guest blogger: Andrew “Caffeinated Gamer” Stevens from Fanbolt.com

We’re starting a new feature here on Saitek: guest bloggers sharing their thoughts on current games and topics in the flight sim community. Up first is Andrew Stevens from Fanbolt.com. Take it away, Andrew…

My name is Andrew Stevens, Managing Editor at FanBolt.com, and I’ve been a journalist in the gaming industry for three years now. However, I’ve been in love with aviation for pretty much my entire life. My dad is a pilot, so in my formative years he flew us around to various events and fly-ins which sparked my admiration for aeronautics. I was also inspired by “Top Gun” when I was young and played with numerous model aircraft while listening to the soundtrack. That’s why I was happy to hear that Kenny Loggins was performing at this year’s AirVenture. DANGER ZONE!!!

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I also play a role at the State Aviation Journal (SAJ) as project manager and journalist. SAJ is best known for its digital magazine which releases quarterly, along with a special NASAO issue. It’s a pretty neat gig as I get to attend AirVenture and be one of the official photographers and journalists for the magazine.

That’s pretty much me in a nutshell. I love aviation and video games, and I love having journalism as a job that allows me to discuss these two passions.  So, of course, with an appreciation for both flying and video games comes the enjoyment I get out of flight and space sims, and even the hardcore arcade titles. It really doesn’t matter how real or fake it is as long as I get that sense of flying!

I grew up playing different simulators with early memories of Blue Angels: Formation Flight and Microsoft Flight Simulator. That eventually led to getting my first flight stick along with a game called F-22 Lightning II. Good times!

Community question: What are some of your first or favorite memories playing flight simulators?

Ever heard of a game on the Xbox 360 called “Over G Fighters”? A friend and I used to play this one online all the time. We wouldn’t play against each other as we would instead simply fly around, try stunts, and land on the runway to watch each other perform acrobatics. This was the first game I played that gave me the opportunity to play online with other people, so I especially love this particular one.

 Why am I here?

My goal for writing here on the Saitek blog is to use my journalism skills to bring this community closer to Saitek products and aviation related games. Is there a game coming out that you would like to learn more about? I can interview the developer to gather more answers to your questions and maybe even uncover some new secrets. Would you like to see gameplay video and live streams of games while using Saitek gear? I will do a lot of that as well, especially when I get my hands on preview code for upcoming titles (if they allow me to capture footage). It is my goal to better connect you with the games you’re most interested in.

That leaves me to my last question: What flight related games are coming out that you would like to learn more about? This can be anything from IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad to Star Citizen. If it flies, so will I.

See you in the virtual skies!

For more from Andrew follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, and Steam.
Discuss this article below or on Facebook.

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RIP Saitekforum.com, long live Saitek forum?

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The official Saitek forum will be shuttered in less than a month’s time.

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What’s that? Never even knew it existed? Or hadn’t visited there in so long that you forgot it was even there? Yes, the Saitek forum continues to see some small activity from time to time even though new registrations have been closed for some time now. The decision was made about a year ago to let the domain expire and have the Saitek forum fade out gracefully.

The question is, would you like to see a new Saitek forum open up? The old one was strictly used for official announcements and peer support; if a new Saitek forum where to open up there would be some differences:

1. The forum software would be updated to Vanillaforum‘s software which is feature-rich and upgradeable.
2. We’d like it to be a more open forum where the community sets the discussion on flight sim and aviation and combat sim games and space sim games and anything else related that strikes their fancy. Pictures of your home rig setup and descriptions of how you tweaked on it for the last 5 hours are not just tolerated but encouraged.
3. We’d like the moderators to be community members themselves, not Saitek staffers, who are committed to keeping discussions moving along.
4. No trolling. No flame wars. The new Saitek forum should be a little slice of zen you can visit during your hectic days. Contests for schwag and other prized are certainly a possibility.
5. Last and most important, this forum should be a repository for all of the great community knowledge for Saitek products. Looking for a suitable profile for the stick you fly, or the latest community-made drivers? Or even suggestions for mods? Come here to find all that stuff out.

What do you think? Should we start a new Saitek forum? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

We’ll probably make a decision on this right around when the old forum is taken down, about a month.

-Monty

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Check out NZ Aviation’s monthly flight sim series

CaptureThe New Zealand Aviation News, which has been around since 1978 and is the only aviation newspaper in New Zealand, has recently started a monthly feature on home flight sim written by Andrew Underwood. We were happy to provide him with Saitek hardware for his article and in turn the paper has kindly agreed to let us repost the first three months’ of features.

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Click on the links below for hi-res PDF’s of the June, July and August features.

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For information on official Saitek resellers in Asia, click here.
For more on New Zealand Aviation News, including subscriptions information, click here.

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Win a Saitek/Playseat setup for Star Citizen!

M50-GreyStar Citizen are holding a contest for an exclusive Star Citizen package containing an X-55 Rhino HOTAS, a Playseat Air Force, and an Origin M50 game package!

Contest ends August 15.

Dust off your photoshop skills and click here for official rules and details.

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Oshkosh 2014 Recap!

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Over half a million visitors from all over the world came to Oshkosh last week for EAA’s AirVenture, solidifying the yearly event as the premier air show in North America. Industry leaders and aviation enthusiasts alike crowded Wittman Regional Airport making it the busiest airport in the world for that “one week wonder.”

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While RWF companies like Honda and Icon unveiled their first production HondaJet and their highly anticipated amphibious LSA the A5, respectively, in the flight sim world we at Saitek were proud to finally offer for the first time our Pro Flight Simulator Cockpit. This 5mm anodized metal housing and leatherette glare shield is specifically designed to house all the Saitek gear needed to train for instrument ratings and procedures.

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We were also lucky to have A2A Simulations in our hangar for a formidable one-two punch of flight sim prowess. Scott and the team showed off their new flight sim add-ons for Flight Simulator X and Prepar3D including the Piper Cherokee 180 and Cessnaa 172 to a week-long packed booth. On a side note, be on the lookout for updated Saitek drivers which will make all of our hardware plug-n’-play with P3D. No more fiddling with settings files and folders!

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Of course, what’s an air show without raw displays of aerodynamic power? And who better to headline Oshkosh than the USAF Thunderbirds who marked their very first appearance at Oshkosh with an electric performance that really brought out the crowds. In fact, the organizers had to move the spectators farther back than normal from the flight line to accommodate the Thunderbirds. Even with these precautions, more than a couple times I personally almost jumped out of my shoes when one of their F-16’s buzzed by overhead!

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The week also marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team (shown here at the beginning of their journey). Here’s to another 25!

Last but not least, congrats to Glenn Leszczak and William McNutt for winning our raffle for Saitek jackets. See you all next year!

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