Publisher: Electronic Arts
Theme Park World official page: http://www.themeparkworld.com/
Expected Release: Late 1999
Making Your Own Disneyland
If any one place could symbolize summertime better than the beach it would probably be the amusement park. Hundreds of thousands of families visit amusement parks every year, and some even plan entire vacations around visiting one. It's such an ingrained aspect of popular culture that movies have been made around the family trip to the park (you've all seen National Lampoon's Vacation
, haven't you?). So why not make a video game where the game design centers around the player as a "god" in charge of an amusement park? A couple of adventurous developers asked the same question.
Row of outhouses
A water rapids ride
Sim fans have already seen games that put the player in the shoes of an amusement park operator. Bullfrog was first on the scene in 1994 with their hit title, Theme Park. Theme Park allowed players to place rides, design park layouts, set prices, and even offered a little bit of ride design freedom. It actually might have been a little bit ahead of its time because of demanding system requirements (it came out back in the 486 days and could still choke some of the early Pentium machines that arrived much later). Still, it was an addictively fun game, so successful that it spawned another Bullfrog game called "Theme Hospital" where the player was in charge of running a health care facility.
A big line to jump on Barney
Nice wooden coaster
Fast forward to early 1999. Chris Sawyer and Hasbro Interactive came out with a new amusement park game called Rollercoaster Tycoon. RCT allowed for higher resolution and much more customizability than the original Theme Park. Almost every ride you built could be configured to your taste, allowing you to measure g-forces, adjust speed, and even change colors. RCT also allowed players to build underground, build over water, and change the viewing angle overhead. What was missing was any 3D acceleration or the ability to see your park from any angle but isometric overhead.
Late addition: FYI - Theme Park World will be known as Sim Theme Park in North America.