I've always enjoyed video games.

Starting back when I was a kid, my first computer was a Commodore 64. We had a number of games for that thing. I have a hard time remembering specific titles, but I do remember a flying game that was a lot of fun. My brother and I would spend hours playing that and the other games.

Then there were the console days. The original NES. A Super Nintendo and a Nintendo 64. I was also big into PC gaming. From Wolfenstien and Warcraft to Descent and Wing Commander.

In recent years I've spent some time (a lot of time) in massively multiplayer online games, in particular World of Warcraft.

I haven't played much of anything for the last year or so though. But I still keep in touch with some of my friends who I've gamed with in the past. Recently a few of them started talking about a new space flight game, "Elite: Dangerous". Yes, that's actually the title. Yes, it sounds stupid. The game itself though is pretty fun, and has some really interesting aspects.

This game is set in the Milky Way galaxy in the year 3301. Humanity has spread out among the stars and there's a vast area of populated space with a number of differing factions you can ally with. To make your way in the world you can take on various roles. From trader, to miner, to bounty hunter, pirate or explorer. They claim that there are over 400 billion systems in the game. You could spend a few days jumping from star system to star system to visit the center of the galaxy, or head out a short hop from earth and find the Voyager I and II space probes - right where they'll be 1,286 years from now.

Screenshot from www.elitedangerous.com

It's been fun getting back into gaming a little bit. I haven't played this sort of game for a long time, and I'm enjoying the game play and visuals. I also find this sort of "open sandbox" game really interesting. I take a bit of time here or there to log in and fly around. Mostly operating as a bounty hunter, while a number of my friends have taken on the role of "space trucker" and shuffle materials around from one space port to the next. A more lucrative profession, but not nearly as exciting.

Today I picked up a joystick to play with. We'll see how it improves my flying. Those space pirates better watch out.