Microsoft Flight Simulator lets you fly anywhere on the planet, including many of the world’s most famous landmarks – including that hill from Windows XP’s default wallpaper. Yes, that impossibly green hill is a real place, and it’s been replicated with particular precision with the new flight sim. So, uh, here’s how to find Bliss.
You’ll find the iconic hill at the coordinates 38°15′00.5″N 122°24′38.9″W, as noted on Reddit – you can just pop that into the game’s search bar to set a map marker at the appropriate location. As the folks at Rock Paper Shotgun note, you can quickly reach the location by flying out of Sonoma Skypark – or just spawn in-air, if you want to cheapen the experience of discovery.
The original picture is called Bliss, and was taken by Charles O’Rear in 1996 in California’s Wine Country. O’Rear insists that it was subjected to no image manipulation, though Flight Simulator certainly seems to think the location should look a bit browner. Microsoft bought the rights to the picture in 2000, and the rest, as they say, is a Wikipedia article.
What’s impressive about the location in MSFS is how accurately the topography is handled – the hill’s got all the actual gentle curves of its real-life counterpart. The sim makes use of satellite data to handle its real-world map, though we’ve seen some of its predictive tech make a mockery of reality, like putting the Queen of England into an office block.