The latest entry in Microsoft’s Flight Simulator franchise launched last month to positive reviews—but the often hilarious failures of its AI generated landmarks have become something of a meme unto themselves. You see, Flight Simulator uses satellite images to generate its maps, which means it’s sort of left guessing when it comes to fine details. British players in particular were quick to point out that Buckingham Palace and Edinburgh Castle have both been re-imagined as brutalist post-war office blocks (a problem shared by a number of other castles around Europe, it seems). Meanwhile, anything that has the nerve not to be broadly rectangular in shape tends to get omitted altogether—the London Eye was one such victim, as are most egregiously humanoid statues.
Modder jlawrence124 spotted one such glaring oversight, and was moved to do something about it. The icon in question on this occasion was the Gundam statue—an 18-metre-tall robot statue that stands proudly alongside the Gundam Factory in Yokohama, Japan. Yes, this is a real thing—it’s currently under construction and due for its official unveiling sometime in 2020; which may further account for its absence from Flight Simulator, as it’s likely just too new to have been present on the satellite images used by the game. Oh, and did I mention it moves? Yeah, it moves. The robot statue moves.
Commenting on their work, jlawrence124 explained: “Japanese engineers have recently constructed a 1-to-1 scale, moving Gundam at the Gundam Factory in Yokohama. Because the mapping data was outdated, the factory in it’s[sic] current state does not exist, but I just placed the model in the parking lot.” They then admitted to taking some creative liberties with the statue while they were designing the mod: “I made the scale of the statue larger because why not :)”, before adding, “I can do a more realistic scaled version in the future if someone wants it.” Which is very generous of them to offer, but really, what better time to literally go big or go home? You’re already in the plane.
If this most surreal of realistic upgrades to Flight Simulator sounds like something you need in your life, you can download the mod from Nexus Mods. While the game doesn’t officially recognise the location of the Gundam Factory on its map, jlawrence124 directs players to spawn on the Yokohama Landmark Tower and head directly south-east. You’ll know you’re in the right place once you see a larger-than-larger-than-life Gundam statue looming on the horizon; it shouldn’t be difficult to spot.