Zoo Tycoon is an addictive PC game where you design zoos, build each animal exhibit individually and add shops, paths and stalls along the way.
It can be bought for about £30 and there are now add-on packs available - Marine Mania and Dinosaur Digs - which can be bought for around £15 (at the time of writing).
This game is suitable for anyone, and the ground is set out into grids and the squares of the paths lie on the squares of the grid, similar to the game Rollercoaster Tycoon.
There are over 40 different animals you can buy which are divided into groups such as savannah (lions, elephants, giraffes, zebra, etc)and desert (camel). There are several different types of fence, some stronger and therefore more expensive than others. You pick the type of fence according to the animals' relative strength. Then you click and drag to create a line of fence. Once you have made an enclosed shape of lines, the program creates a gate to the exhibit automatically. You then have the opportunity to name the exhibit; by default it is called 'Exhibit_ ' (number depending on how many you have made).
Then, using the terrain available, the floor of the exhibit can be built square by square with materials such as grey stone, savannah terrain, grass terrain, deciduous forest, fresh water etc. Each species likes a different mix of terrain. If you click on the animal a box comes up. Then, by clicking on the zookeeper logo it tells you what is wrong with the exhibit, eg there is too much savannah terrain in this exhibit, giraffe one would like more foliage in its exhibit, and so on. After adding the terrain you can then add a shelter, rocks, foliage (which comes in the same groups as the animals) and toys. Each animal has a rating of suitability for its exhibit that can be accessed by clicking on it. Other things that can be accessed by clicking on it is its hunger, happiness, and health ratings.
Staff need to be hired to look after the Zoo. Zookeepers ($800 a month to hire) and Maintenance Workers ($300 a month) are essential. They are needed to muck out the animals, feed them with their special foods and to heal them. They also have to empty bins and mend fences whenever they break or get damaged. Tour guides can also be hired at $500 a month; these are not essential but increase your guest's happiness and can perform guided tours of the zoo.
Cheats for this Game
Name a guest Bill Gates, and it increases donations to the park.
Hold down Shift and the number 3 on the top of the keyboard and you will gain $10,000 dollars. You can also do this multiple times. But every time you do it, a random piece of fence in your park becomes weakened, which can allow the animals to escape. You have been warned!
Name an exhibit Xanadu, and unlock the unicorn. Name an exhibit Cretaceous Corral, and unlock the triceratops. Name an exhibit Microsoft, and double all the donations to the exhibits. Name an exhibit Wonderland, and increase guests to your park.