Category Archives: Computer Games

Chris Sawyer Games

Transport Tycoon Deluxe for Windows_7

Last time we talked about Sid Meier who along with Chris Roberts and Chris Sawyer forms a trio of game designers that create the best gaming on Earth.
Chris doesn’t have the quantity of Games out that Sid or the other Chris has out. But, his personal background is just as extensive as theirs. Starting in the early 80’s writing code in the Z80 Assembly Language. Wow that goes back a loooong time ago.

But he is a grad of MicroProse and “Transport Tycoon” of the first of his famous Tycoon series of games which until now has culminated in 2013 being ported to Android and Apple’s iOS. In Transport Tycoon as in Sid Meier’s series of games is a simulation for running a transport Company. It has a timeline that runs from 1930 to 2030. In this game you are restricted to using the equipment and tech that was in use at the actual time. Cabooses can be used again to my delight. You start out with steam powered Engines and progress from Steam to Diesel to electrically powered engines and in the 1990’s you can build Monorail systems. Again you must build your system and fight off the competition and last out the 120-year run of the game. This can take up and often over 40 hours of playtime.
You actually have to transport commodities to the towns and cities to be used to build the things you need expand your empire. No steel means no rails and engines. You need Coal to smelt iron and turn it to steel. This game follow the rise of civilization though the eyes of the transportation industry. If you’re into this game and want to play it on your PC, then you should check out the OpenTTD game, which is an open source adaptation of the original game.

Roller Coaster Tycoon was a follow-up to the above and quickly caught on as well. With its latest incarnation Roller Coaster Tycoon 3D released in 2012, and the mobile versions recently released. This game uses input from the actual people who build the great Coasters and the Theme Park management methods used. Various add-on packs expand the game with New attractions and Landscapes.

2004 saw the release of the 3rd in the series where Chris acted as a consultant rather than an actual developer. It uses the core elements of the original again add-ons were released Bring us to 2014 where the 4th incarnation was released. However both version 4 and the iOS Chris was not a participant and in the case of the mobile version he wasn’t even consulted on its creation and since then has be heavily condemned by the Gaming community by making the game too real with line delays and taking the fun out of the game. A PC version is expected out soon. In my opinion it will be a waste without Chris.

You basically are given scenarios where you must either build or take over a dilapidated theme part and make a go of it. Like all simulation capital is limited and you must be creative in order to win. Which of course is a mirror of real life.
These games are great to play with the exception of version 4 which I dislike for far too many reasons to go into. But, you judge for yourself and drop me a line and tell me what you think.

Posted in Computer Games.

Sid Meier’s Games

sid_meier_railroads

Sid Meier is unknown to any outside the Gaming community and there he is considered a genius.

Who else could create a company like MicroProse and all the great games that have come out over the years. I have played most of them and still play some of them. Here I discuss a few of my favorite Sid Meier games.

Silent Service was my introduction to Sid and his company. I used to be a submariner myself and I often wondered what it would be like to be on one of the old Pig Boats, instead of the Sleek Silent nuclear Fast Attack Submarine that I spent my naval career on. Since I was a trained submariner and once was an instructor at the sub school in Groton Connecticut. I know how they used to do submarines in the old days. Once I gave a tour of the old U505 a German submarine on display to my son and the rest of the tour group listened along because I recognized and was able to explain all the machinery to my son. Even the tour guide was impressed. So when I say Sid hit the mark perfectly. I am speaking from actually spending thousands of hours actually doing what his game simulates doing.

But, his other games are equally well researched like Railroad Tycoon. This game is a take off from the days of the Robber barons at the beginning of the 20th century when building the nation created the Great family Dynasties like JP Morgan, Dupont, Ford and Carnegie. In this game, you are an Entrepreneur and your goal is to build the biggest Railroad you can. You have also run it as well by getting the financing, building stations and laying track. You have to use the stock market, schedule the trains and give service to your customers. In short, it is a crash course in economics, and how to run a business. This game is still popular and a whole series of games in this vein have been released.

Pirates have always been one of my favorite genres. I even have a copy of Captain Blood 1935 with Errol Flynn and The Sea Hawk and of course all of the Johnny Depp pirate movies. So Playing “Pirates” has been one of my ways of imagining myself in the role of a buccaneer. I found an old copy for the Commodore 64 at a used software store and I ported it to my PC here. I also have the PC version from 1987. Porting the old games insures that the great ones, even though they are simple graphics by today’s 3D standards are not lost.

Finally I am a big fan of Civilization, which I think is the Penultimate in simulators games. Here you get to build the world and create entire economies, fight wars, build cites. This series of games since has left MicroProse and is now being marketed by Sid’s New company Fiaxis Games and now has one of the largest legacies of games in the world.

Posted in Computer Games.