I have fond memories of playing the first Sim City on the Amiga in the early 90′s, but until recently I hadn’t found a game that offered a similar experience for my kids. There were plenty of simulation titles out there, but not many that they really connected with.
I gave Wildlife Park 3 on the PC a try as much out of my own curiosity as for the kids. However, all it took was for them to catch a glimpse of me playing it and they were hooked. I think the combination of seeing initially as one of Dad’s games, and the fact they had just completed an Africa project at school made this seem more exciting than other create a Theme Park games I’ve tried on them.
The game will be familiar to anyone who has played the “Sim” or “Tycoon” type games before. You have a 3D view of your visitor attraction and need to plan where you put different animals, shops and amenities. The kids liked the fact that the weather changes through the year in Wildlife Park 3 and you have to adjust your park to suite.
As well as the entertainment, there was also a good amount of education as well. As with any of these games there is the maths and business angle of running the park, but here there is also much more detail about the animals. Close up videos and information about each of the creatures provided inspiration to find out more about the animals in real life — an a trip or two to our local Zoo.
Perhaps the biggest testament to the success of this in our household was that we were willing to relax our usually strict screen-time rules so they could play the game a little longer. We felt that there was enough conversation and education going on around the game that it warranted a little more time each day. It also provided a good break from their 3DS games that have dominated recently.