So my son received Zoo Tycoon as a gift for his birthday and over the last few days I’ve been trying to help him figure out how to play it. I assumed that a game that centered on zoo animals (including dinosaurs) would be aimed at children.
Wrong, wrong, WRONG. This “game” comes with two disks, 7 tutorials (7!!!!) an instruction manual and a web address that you’re supposed to visit in order to get MORE INSTRUCTIONS! Are they kidding me? Who has this kind of time?
I figured that an intelligent adult like me wouldn’t need all that so all I did was go through the tutorials before sitting down to start a game with my son. He wanted a dinosaur zoo so those are the animals that we started with. But no matter what we tried we couldn’t make these prehistoric beasts happy. In fact they were so UNHAPPY that the virtual-National –Organization-Of-Zoos stepped in and forbid us from adopting any more animals.
It seemed I needed to read the manual after all which I did, I swear to God I did. But when we tried to play again the same damn thing happened and this time two of the animals became ill before they even had a chance to hatch from their eggs!
Determined to make this game enjoyable for my son (and to prove to myself that I wasn’t an idiot incapable of mastering a “simple” game) I went onto the Zoo Tycoon website. I read the tips and the additional instructions and tried again.
This time things got so bad that virtual-protesters showed up to protest the living conditions of our animals.
When that happened I actually perked up for a moment. Clearly this wasn’t just any zoo. This was the San Francisco zoo! I know how to deal with San Francisco activists. All I had to do is grab a bullhorn and loudly explain that the poor state of the zoo could be blamed on federal budget cuts--budget cuts that wouldn’t have been necessary if it wasn’t for the very expensive and extremely unpopular Iraq war. But no matter how hard I looked I couldn’t find a blame-the-Bush-Administration task bar.
Eventually I turned to my son with a defeated sigh. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I tried to figure this thing out but it’s just not happening. We keep getting pop-up windows telling us our guests and dinosaurs are unhappy and I have no idea how to get rid of those protestors."
My son looked at me with his sparkling blue eyes and said, “I know how to get ride of the protestors.” And with that he dragged the mouse over to a miniature bulldozer on the left side of the screen and proceeded to bulldoze the fence surrounding our Allosaurus.
And you know that Allosaurus gobbled those protestors right up.
Technically I think we lost the game but as far as I’m concerned we scored a big victory. After all, the first priority of a zookeeper should be the well being of the animals and if nothing else, we were able to make sure that all our carnivores were well fed.
Have a great forth of July!!!!
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