Several posts ago, I described one of the kids’ favorite computer games: Age of Empires. Well, there’s a new favorite in town: Roller Coaster Tycoon. I love this game. You build a theme park and manage it. You have to operate under a budget, you have to hire and task mechanics, janitors, security guards and entertainers. You have to set prices on rides, shops, and other amenities, and you have to be wise in where you place things and pay attention to traffic patterns. You also have to keep your guests happy (and there’s a way to tell what they’re thinking!), or your park rating (and the amount of money people are willing to hand over in your park) suffers.
The three big kids have been spending most of their “play” computer time with this game lately. They’ve figured out all the basics and love being creative. They even like to build their own roller coasters from scratch.
Katie’s first attempt was fraught with difficulties, though. She was doing well with the building aspect, but she didn’t have a handle on the rest of it. Her park rating suffered, and she “lost” the scenario. The game didn’t quit after her loss, so she was able to keep working on things and learn from the experience. I didn’t hear until later that she had built an island in the middle of a moat and was systematically putting all the complaining, unhappy guests on this island. It didn’t do anything for her park rating, but I guess it made her feel better. I asked her about it, remarking how it seemed a little cruel. She shrugged her shoulders and answered, “Well, I gave them a bench.”
We’re going to have to watch that girl.