Hello Completionists, and welcome to the last official entry in the A to Z of Gaming Me: Khinjarsi edition. It’s been a long journey full of ups and downs, twists and turns and the odd rest stop for second breakfast. For me, it’s been an interesting and sometimes revealing journey, and I hope you have found it an interesting read. For the most part I’ve enjoying exploring the games I’ve loved over the years. It’s certainly been nice to be positive about games for a change. I haven’t been as focused as I would have liked getting these done (A was all the way back on April 1st!), but it’s sort of brought me back to blogging a little bit more.
I would like to do a bonus post as a kind of epilogue to this saga, but before we can do that, I need to finish the A to Z. That means choosing a game beginning with Z, which I pronounce in my head as both Zed and Zee simultaneously. So, what game could I possibly have chosen?
Zack and Wiki? ZombiU? Zoo Keeper? Close with that last one, but not keeping. TYCOONING!
The original Zoo Tycoon, ladles and germs, is my final choice for A to Z of Gaming Me.
Released way back when in 2001, Zoo Tycoon gives you the land, resources and debatable ethics in order to create and run the perfect zoo. Presented with a limited isometric viewpoint, you need to create exhibits, please the crowds and stop the lions eating the zebras in 3 different modes. It’s simple and yet getting all the animals happy is so frustrating (looking at you Markhors), particularly in Challenge Mode.
I can’t specifically pin down what I like about Zoo Tycoon. Of course, there’s the nostalgia factor that comes with growing up with the game. It’s a game that (like Rollercoaster Tycoon) so many have tried to emulate and yet remains the best zoo management game by far. With the expansions installed, there’s plenty to do and try out, and who doesn’t love cheats like Xanadu, creating unicorns in your zoo? And the theme music is super catchy and changes depending on which expansions are installed.
Zoo Tycoon, along with Theme Hospital, was a game that had such a huge influence on my gaming self.
17 years on from release, I still return to the game occasionally, and have played Zoo Tycoon 2, and the console ports (one of which you can read about here). I generally enjoy the difficulty curve, I enjoy the range of animals and decorations I can use and place in the zoo and even Freeform mode can be entertaining when cheats are used and the Dinosaur and Marine expansions are added. Being so old, it is struggling to look good nowadays. but it’s a solid tycoon game, and much better than the latest version Zoo Tycoon Ultimate Animal Collection. If you want some retro management games, I recommend searching for the Complete Collection.
And that, lentils and gerbils, concludes the A to Z of Gaming Me. It’s been a long time coming, but stick around for a final post reflecting on this journey and looking toward the future. For now, I am off to have a long nap.