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Say the words “Tycoon Games” to a PC gamer and you’re likely to hear them immediately rattle off at least a few titles which they really enjoyed (or perhaps grew up playing). In fact, the Tycoon genre has birthed an assortment of games, some of which can even be played via your browser and accessed online, often free of charge. Diversity is also an important facet of Tycoon titles; we’ve seen dozens of disparate titles brought to market since as far back as 1980. If there’s one thing that most of them have in common it’s their insistence on a winning RTS gameplay formula along with some form of simulated commerce. Play any one of the games on this list and you’re likely to become a fan of the genre on a permanent basis.
The Sim City Series
Among all the other franchises adhering to the tycoon format, the Sim City series is certainly the most beloved and visible of them all. The latest release, SimCity (2013) is a glowing testament to what the entire line of games has been able to achieve in terms of strategy-based gameplay and visuals. Remember, there’s a reason why “SimCity” and “Tycoon-style Games” are pretty much synonymous with one another…
Rollercoaster Tycoon Series
Rather than learning to manage an entire city, why not an amusement park? That’s exactly what Rollercoaster Tycoon is all about; it simulates basic amusement park management. While this might sound like a fairly dull proposition, it’s actually quite engaging and even challenging at times. The zaniness of the concept helps to deliver some humor as well, which makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
The Zoo Tycoon Series
Moving closer toward the business end of the spectrum, the Zoo Tycoon series places you in the shoes of a profit-seeking zoo manager. One might argue that this is either a boring concept, but that would be way off base, it’s actually a very well thought-out concept that is enjoyable and rewarding. You spend the entire game trying to keep the guests and animals happy; it’s a little trickier than it sounds….
Keeping in line with the business theme, Monopoly Tycoon is even more of a pure move toward delivering an economic simulation. What makes this game so special? Well, for starters it’s directly related to the mega-famous board game series, “Monopoly”. Quite simply, your goal is to accumulate properties and generate profit from selling goods / services or rentals. Among the many neat things which this title incorporates are the various custom scenarios, each of which allows you to alter the objectives and rules.
The Railroad Tycoon Series
Yet another business simulation series worth checking out is the Railroad Tycoon franchise. Currently there are 5 different games to choose from, the most recent among them being “Sid Meier’s Railroads!” which is rendered in full 3D moves away from the RTS format in many ways. The action here is much more economics-based than what many might be interested in, however, for those with a taste for problem solving or railroads / trains, this game is hard to beat.
Fairy Godmother Tycoon
Every “top games from a specific genre” list deserves one or more titles that really try to push things past their conventional boundaries; in this case, that game is Fairy Godmother Tycoon. The objective of this game is to turn your potion company into a major success and eliminate the competition. This would be simple enough but all manner of different factors often cause you to have to rethink your basic approaches and strategies. You’ll also run into familiar characters from the olden fairy tale world like Cinderella, and depending on how you aid them you will either gain advantages or lose resources.
If you enjoy casino games, then you might have wondered what it would be like to actually run a casino. If this is the case then you should check out Casino Tycoon, which was developed by Cat Daddy Games back in 2001. Gameplay involves the player completing numerous scenarios such as gaining a five star rating and keeping guests happy. You might recognise some of the characters featured, such as Marlon Brando from The Godfarher. Can you run, own and manage your very own casino? Find out with Casino Tycoon.
The Cinema Tycoon Series
Not only is the first Cinema Tycoon game available for free online play, both games in the series are quite a lot of fun and provide a unique angle on the basic business simulation formula. In Cinema Tycoon 2, the most recent entry of the series, you are a new employee who takes it upon themselves to revive a run-down theater. As part of this quest you’ll learn a few things about basic management as well as make a slew of entertaining decisions related to everything from snacks and beverages to film choices and budgeting. Moreover, it’s pretty easy to pick up on and start playing, so it’s perfect for newcomers to the genre.
Of course these are just a few of the games which you could classify under the “Tycoon” heading, but they’re definitely among the finer examples available. If you’re interested in delving deeper into the world of business simulation titles, you’re probably going to want to visit this Wikipedia page (which contains a full chronological list of almost every game to be released since the very emergence of video games).