The coolest cockpits in PC gaming | PC player
Whether I’m walking a battlefield in a robot or roaming space in a spaceship, I love a good video game cockpit. There is something wonderfully physical about seeing the vehicle in which you are attached. You feel like you’re in control of a heavy and powerful machine, rather than just a disembodied camera floating in the air. And PC gaming is particularly rich with incredibly detailed immersive cockpits of all kinds. Here are some of the best. And yes, the driver’s cab of a train is a cockpit. Don’t @ me.
Asp Explorer (Elite Dangerous)
There are so many great cockpits to choose from in Elite Dangerous, but I’m never happier than when I’m in an Asp Explorer. Buckle up in the pilot’s seat and you’ll feel like you’re suspended in a giant glass bubble, with large windows on all sides giving you unobstructed views of the cosmos.
Hawken’s servers were shut down in 2018, but I still remember his adorable junky mechs. The Reaper had a particularly good cockpit, with a control panel like something from an old Soviet warplane. The boot sequence, which sometimes failed, was also a nice touch.
Sonora (Rebel Outlaw of the Galaxy)
I love the cockpits of this punk space simulation. Lo-fi consoles, colorful screens, and scattered personal touches, like a photo of a sunset pinned to a window, give ships a regular feel. It’s 80s comic book sci-fi, like something off the pages of 2000AD.
F-36 Hornet (Wing Commander)
One of the classic cockpits of all time. Seeing your legs tucked under the console and your hand struggling with the flight stick as you fly and fight makes you feel like you’re squeezed into the pilot seat of a nimble little fighter. An old game, but the pixel art is full of charm.
TIE Fighter (Star Wars Squadrons)
The cockpit of the TIE Fighter is absolutely impractical, but the man does look cool. All squadron cockpits are exceptional, this is Wes going deep why, but there’s something about the classic TIE interior that I find compelling. Bonus points for all displays being also functional.
BT-7274 (Titanfall 2)
Riding a Titan never gets old. The way the access door closes and the digital display window slowly lights up which is extremely satisfying. And messy overhanging cables and bulky, low-tech displays dotted around the cockpit give the interior a nice, utilitarian military feel.
1972 Mark 2 Stock (Train Sim World 2)
The Going Underground expansion for Train Sim World 2 lets you drive a train through the London Underground, and the cockpit is brilliantly retro. From the funky pattern on the driver’s seat to the dusty control panel with its switches, handles and gauges, it’s just very pleasing to the eye.
Boeing 747 (Microsoft Flight Simulator)
The latest edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator features extremely detailed cockpits, and the mighty 747 is perhaps the best example of in-game realism and attention to detail. It’s a sea of switches and panels, including many work just like in real life.
Executor Mk II (House of the Dying Sun)
This sleek and colorful space simulation is a feast for the eyes, and I love the Executor’s smooth, crisp and aggressive cockpit. The blurry CRT screen on the console, which gives you a visual of locked enemies, even when you hijack your ship from them, is a killer detail.
Spitfire (IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover)
This realistic WWII flight simulation lets you pilot Britain’s most legendary fighter, the Spitfire. Soaring through the air and chasing after German planes is incredibly exciting in first person, and I love this rugged, unpretentious looking cockpit, the pinnacle of 1940s aviation technology.