I’ve been a fan of SIM games for years, SimCity being
one of the first computer games I ever purchased with my own money. So a couple of
years ago, I filled out an internal survey about my gaming preferences, checking the
box to indicate that I enjoyed simulation games. A while later, I was invited to participate
in an internal alpha of a new game being developed, a zoo simulation game. Score!
Myself and the other alpha testers eagerly arrived on
the first day to take a peek at this new product. At the end of the gaming
session, they quizzed us about the game. Several of us said that we’d done things
like put lions in the same pen with docile animals, and *gasp* nothing happened! Our
feedback to the development team was that if there’s no way to cause chaos, then
this won’t be any fun for teenagers and adults.
And fortunately, they listened. I remember filling
out a survey a few weeks later that asked what I thought should happen in
this case. It had a multiple choice list:
(A) “The lion should eat the gazelle”
(B) “The lion should ignore the gazelle”
Of course, I chose “eat”.
To this day, even though I’ve had much more meaningful impact
in other products such as Outlook and Exchange, I am still proud of my role in this
You can download
a trial version of Zoo Tycoon.