DinoPark Tycoon, a retro review

DinoPark Tycoon is a strategy educational sim where players are given $5,000 to spend and develop a dinosaur-filled park. This retro game came out in 1993, and while the concept seems simple enough, at times it can be a test of patience on the part of gamers.

Create your own DinoPark. Graphic from thehouseofgames.net.

Gameplay

The game itself has a simple click interface, allowing users to use their mouse and occasionally the keyboard to navigate the world of DinoPark Tycoon. The game’s simple interface allows for users of all ages to enjoy the game to its fullest extent.

What makes DinoPark Tycoon such a memorable game is the complex economic struggles that the would-be moguls have to face. First users have to purchase land, choosing from one of three sites. The gamers are given the option of plains, desert and marsh as the locations for the dinosaur park.

Users are then encouraged to hire a staff that will ensure that their park is run properly. There are a number of possible employees, with each serving an important role on the staff for any prospective tycoon’s park. Each staff member serves a function, some of which are to ensure visitors are happy when they come to the park. What made this game so inventive for its time was its ability for parkgoers to give park owners feedback. Usually they would complain about not enough bathrooms or if they needed more tour guides. These complaints help park owners to develop and run better parks.

One of the more interesting game mechanics is the ability of the attractions, the dinosaurs, to run away. Often this will leave users without attractions to bring customers to their parks. There are other similar road bumps to ensure that users don’t feel too comfortable in their park’s success such as taxes, employees getting sick, dinosaurs eating other dinosaurs and the occasional park shutdown by the local government. All of these items are meant to be obstacles that provide a challenging experience.

The Good

This game is perfect for some shameless nostalgic gaming, especially for those who were treated to this game in the early ’90s. It is still as fun and frustrating as it always was. For its time, it was a creative, innovative, strategy-business sim in an era that was overwhelmed by simple and cheap strategy sims.

The Bad

While the game may be a fun and interesting return to roots for some gamers, they will quickly see that while fun and somewhat challenging in the past, this retro game is just utterly frustrating in the present. The little road blocks that were instituted to keep players from doing too well and keep them challenged are often nonsensical blocks in gameplay.

Final Thoughts

While this was a fun return to the past for me, it became quickly apparent why we have not seen anything like DinoPark Tycoon since the early ‘9os. As a child, it was the one game I looked forward to playing more than any other. Now I can see the flawed game logic that made it both fun and frustrating for what it is — a complete annoyance.

Whim Rating: 2/5