All the high stakes and thrills of managing a theme park without all that "going on rides" nonsense
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I'm Gaming Jay: Youtube gamer, let's player, retrogaming fan, and determined optimist... Join me in this series while I try out EVERY game in the book 1001 VIDEO GAMES YOU MUST PLAY BEFORE YOU DIE, before I die. The game review for each game will focus on the question of whether you MUST play this game before you die. But to be honest, the game reviews are just for fun, this series is more about the YouTube gamer journey. Let's try out those classic retro games we grew up with, have fond memories of, or heard of but never got a chance to try! And with that said, the game review for today is...
Developer(s) Bullfrog Productions
Genre(s) Building Game, Management Simulation
Theme Park is a god-game simulator wherein you get to build your own amusement park from the ground up. From deciding on rides, setting ticket prices, strategically placing food vendors, to hiring and negotiating with employees, Theme Park is a surprisingly detailed simulator for its time. And after I played this game, I realized that the core gameplay mechanics in Theme Park are essentially the exact same as we have these days in our simulators. Which means that this game has aged remarkably well!
In many ways, the reason that this game has aged so well is that it is responsible for helping to establish the core mechanics of simulator games. Theme Park includes a nice array of options when developing your park, and allows you great flexibility in how you implement things. If you're really into finance, it also gives you some more sophisticated options, allowing you to buy into opposing parks' stocks and carefully balance your budget by setting ticket prices, employee wages, and deciding how much food and drink to stock at any given time.
Watching the virtual patrons wander through your park is also fairly fun. Each patron also has their own personal states, and you can individually question patrons to see what they're craving, to help you decide if you should build new rides, more washrooms, more food, or hire more mascots.
All in all this is a simple yet fun simulator, and it definitely has stood the test of time. Though I did have some gripes with the controls, insomuch as the original DOS version had some poor design choices behind some of its menu interfaces and such, I still think this was and is a classic and definitely worth a try for any fans of the god-game simulator genre.
➙ Must You Play It?
A surprisingly detailed game about building a Theme Park whose core mechanics remain relevant and have really haven't aged hardly at all. If you are going to play this though I recommend checking out a modern port as the control scheme of the original was sometimes a little obtuse. That said, this is a classic simulator that is worth playing before you die!