• Santiago Cuberos

Interview: Stormbirds; Looking Back 5 Years of Operation

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

Over the years I have noticed that there are not that many websites solely dedicated to covering flight games like us at Skyward, and even less that approach them on a journalistic way. One of these would be Stormbirds, a blog ran by ShamrockOneFive!

A couple of weeks ago, Stormbirds was celebrating their fifth anniversary. We decided to approach Shamrock in order to talk a bit about how has it been running the blog on his own, his motivations for running it, the experiences he has had along the way, etc.

I'd like to thank Shamrock for letting me have this interview with him on such short notice. He made the interview roll smoothly, I appreciate that a lot.

Hello and thank you for accepting to have this interview. Can I ask you to introduce yourself? Sure! My name is Colin and I go by ‘ShamrockOneFive’ in most of the sims (and games) that I play. Before we get into talking about the Stormbirds blog, we’d like to learn some more about yourself. How did you end up becoming a flight simulator enthusiast?

A-10 Tank Killer by Dynamix (Source: GamesNostalgia)

My interest starts with my lifelong interest in all things that fly. I’m told that I was only a couple of years old when I began pointing at the sky in excitement whenever an aircraft flew over. I went to my first airshow at the age of five and I’ve been fascinated by all aspects of aviation ever since. I have a large collection of books on aviation and history, I enjoy airshow photography, and I love flight simulations as an extension of that interest.

In retrospect, not much has changed over the years as I still point excitedly at the sky whenever an aircraft flies over!

I think my first flight sim was A-10 Tank Killer by Dynamix but the sim I first fell in love with was Aces of the Pacific by the same studio. I played that sim whenever I had time. From there I played a variety of different flight sims. Aces Over Europe, F-15E Strike Eagle II and III, Fleet Defender, various iterations of Microsoft Flight Simulator, a tiny bit of Lock On: Modern Air Combat and the IL-2 series before jumping into the modern titles.

Are there any simulators or flight games in general that are especially important to you? Maybe something you’d suggest to people?

Right now, there are four or five sims that I’m focused on writing about and personally enjoying as well. I tend to write about what I am interested in as a starting point, so these are sims that I recommend on a regular basis but also spend a great deal of time enjoying myself.

On the civil aviation side, I really enjoy both Microsoft Flight Simulator and X-Plane. Both have their upsides and downsides but the two both offer some compelling experiences on the civil aviation side. Whatever you’re looking for, either one or both of these tiles will have it covered.

On the combat flight simulation side of things, IL-2: Great Battles, IL-2: Cliffs of Dover and DCS World are what I’m focused on.

The IL-2 series has a long legacy stretching over 20 years and the second and third generations that are still being actively developed are impressive in so many ways. I have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours with all three generations of the series. DCS World is also an extremely impressive and complex sim that is doing incredible things for WWII through to the modern jet age. It’s only in the last 4-5 years that I’ve really gotten into it but I’m glad I did because there’s so much to know.

My simulator interest does extend into other genres too. I’ve also been a fan of various racing sims over the years and more recently I’ve developed a bit of a love for Train Sim World as well. Good fun when you’re looking for a very different sim experience.

How and when did the concept for the Stormbirds blog come around?

Around five years ago I was looking for a new creative outlet and at the same time I was looking for a way to practice my writing skills. In my professional life I am called on to occasionally write news stories for my organization. Sometimes these come up with a very tight timeline. I wanted to be faster at writing and I thought that practicing with something that I’m interested in would help. It did!

I’ve also considered multiple times jumping into the video creation side of things rather than doing a blog, but I tend to be the kind of person who likes to run counter to some trends and do my own thing. So, in the age of the YouTube channel content creator, I decided to write a blog.

I have, however, put some content together on Stormbirds.blog YouTube channel including starting my own podcast series which now has five episodes. Episode releases come out irregularly as my focus is still very much on the blog and everything tends to relate back to it which is very different than the usual YouTube channel approach.

When the blog was created, was it meant to be primarily an IL-2 Sturmovik blog?

My content mandate, the thing that drives me to write, is essentially centered around writing about what I want to write about. That sounds a little selfish perhaps, but I think that’s important to do as a content creator. You have to have a passion for whatever it is that you’re writing, otherwise I think the audience will feel the lack of interest. I do feel some responsibility to cover certain subjects that may not be at the top of my interest list, but I do try and stick to my simple mandate most of the time.

I always intended to write about multiple sims when I started the blog. When I started it was mostly the IL-2: Great Battles series that I was flying on the regular but it didn’t take too long to expand my coverage to DCS World and on from there.

For those that do not know, what is Sturmovikfest?