Along with SimCity, 1990s construction and management sims were dominated by that city-builder and this amusement park thing from Bullfrog. Huzzah!
Theme Park on the SNES
British video game designer and programmer Peter Molyneux hit total genius with Dungeon Keeper (1997).
But before then, we had this in 1994—an addictive concept about developing an amusement park. Yay! Much joy!
The game was a critical and commercial hit at the time, taking obvious inspirations from SimCity. But creating a unique look and feel all by itself.
You start out with a small budget and a plot of land in the UK. The goal? Build a theme park that runs successfully.
The SNES port launched in 1995 and that’s the one we got addicted to. Although it also appeared on Sega’s Mega Drive and even Atari’s failure of a console—the Jaguar.
Below is the original PC version. As you can see, it was a tad more advanced.
Bullfrog added in early FMV (the film sequences), which was very impressive back in the day. And the graphics are a bit more crisp and detailed.
The console versions were a bit more cut back, ditching the FMV. But! It all worked surprisingly well, considering you only had a controller pad to use.
But, yeah, you generally have to manage the theme park. Make repairs. Include all sorts of rides. Make sure people don’t litter too much etc.
We found that you could stick one of those duck game stalls right at the entrance and most visitors would immediately head there to play a game.
See. We’re superior business capitalism people. We’re better than you are because we can make more money than you, losers!
There are over 30 attractions to use. The fanciest being a roller coaster type deal, although they’re expensive to build.
Otherwise it’s all about more daft little rides that are family-friendly. Such as a Ferris-wheel.
Of course, you need to jam a load of fast food joints in there, too, plus toilets. And you have to hire staff and keep everyone happy.
Eventually, if you earn enough cash, you can move to a new plot of land and start again.
It’s certainly an engaging title. We remember getting addicted to this and enjoying its vibrant colours and engaging tone.
Something of a retro gaming classic, then, that set the scene for more advanced simulation games of recent years.
So for that, Bullfrog, we doff our caps in your general direction.