A significant chunk of my formative years can be defined by the heave and splat of hundreds of tiny computer people retching violently onto the floor. Maybe not the most melodious sound, but for me it’s a noise tinged with nostalgia, conjuring memories of wonder as I, new to the world of PC sims, unleashed my newfound powers on the denizens of Bullfrog’s Theme Park for the very first time.
Theme Park is, of course, rightly considered a classic, a masterfully implemented, joyous game of pure wish fulfilment – after all, what child hasn’t dreamed of running their own amusement park? Five years later, RollerCoaster Tycoon refined, and some might argue, perfected the formula, proving no less delightful for its added depth and rather more serious, business-minded outlook.
Since then, we’ve had sequels in both franchises, but as they’ve continued to evolve, most recently with Atari’s execrable RollerCoaster Tycoon World, and Frontier’s impressive, but ultimately rather hollow, Planet Coaster, a spiritual successor to RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, some of that early magic has dissipated. With developer Texel Raptor’s Parkitect, however, the ageing formula has regained something of its heart.
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