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Theme Park

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Dennis Hassabis & Peter Molyneux


GAME PUBLISHER:Electronic Arts

Copyright 1994, Bullfrog

One of the most original strategy games ever made, Bullfrog’s Theme Park is a fun “light” business simulation that fulfills a childhood dream of many people: manage a theme park. While the game has a questionable economic model (I’ve never understood the logic of pricing entrance tickets in the game, or how much to charge for that ice cream), and will never win any accolades as a “realistic” business sim, Theme Park excels in the fun department. Starting out with an empty plot of land, you must first build a few “basic” attractions (such as the merry-go-round) and necessities such as the ice cream parlor and toilets to open for business. You must also hire handymans and mechanics to help ensure that your visitors will leave with a bright smile on their faces. With soaring visitors and better reputation, you can afford to research better and more exciting rides, and by the time you’re building that expensive rollercoaster, you’ll find that the game has kept you up for countless hours.

What makes Theme Park a lot of fun, other than colorful rides you can build, is the joy of watching your tiny visitors. They will laugh after an exciting ride, get lost, storm out of your park in anger at waiting too long at the queue, or even vomit after a stomach-churning ride on the rollercoaster. If you don’t like to micro-manage your park (e.g. setting prices of an ice cream cone), you can choose to let the computer decide for you at lower difficulty level, leaving you free to design the park of your dreams. With colorful graphics, unique and fun gameplay, Theme Park is one of the best games Bullfrog ever made. Two thumbs up!

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