IIRC, I bought Falcon 4 when I was getting settled into NNPTC as a young baby nuke, so that would make it probably early spring, 2000.
I knew Falcon 4.0 was in the development cycle when I was still in high school, but was wary of having to do the boot-disk dance again like I’d had to do for 3.0 and all its add-ons. Plus, I’d eagerly been following the development of X-Wing: Alliance, and knew I’d never be able to justify getting both games to the Parental Units.
I waited until I got to Charleston and ordered a new system, a smoking-hot Gateway 2000 with a P2/450 and I think a Voodoo 2 card IIRC. Bought an X-36 HOTAS at Best Buy across the street from Northwoods Mall in Northern Charleston (because I wasn’t allowed to have my car yet on base, I had to rely on the “loser cruiser” bus that ran from base out to the mall multiple times during a weekend), and I believe I picked up Falcon 4 and MiG Alley the same weekend at either Best Buy or EB.
Still have the manuals and original jewel cases for both games, though they’re buried in a closet at the moment.
On an unrelated sidenote, I remember picking up SSI’s Flanker 2.0 while I was at the store, briefly considered it, decided I had no interest in flying only Russian planes, and put it back on the shelf.
Only took me a decade to come back to that franchise…