Have you ever just sat back and stared at your massively successful business empire that you built over hours and days of time? When the whole thing just runs itself, the traffic levels are smooth, there are no crashes and the cash just rolls in? It’s a fantastic feeling, that sense of achievement. That you can integrate road, rail, water and air transport into a gigantic network while gleefully steamrolling over your competition.
This rather simplistic representation of a transportation empire was released in 1995 to critical acclaim for its easy, intuitive, yet deep gameplay mechanics and the fact that you could literally get your business going no matter what direction you wanted to take it. You could run coal and power, expand your local influence with buses and public transport or pioneer in aviation with supersonic jets. It was definitely a fun game, and despite its obvious age and sprite based graphics it is still entertaining – and possibly more importantly, charming – enough to hold my attention for days. At least until X-Rebirth comes out.
It helps that there are many fans of the game out there and have managed to recreate the game for a more modern era of computing. Dubbed Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe (Open TTD), it’s a collaborative effort between those whose calling is less to any soldierly duty and more ruthless business mogul. Built with modularity in mind, there are many sets of vehicles that are downloadable and can be used with minimum fuss. There’s even proper multiplayer involved! You can even customise your music and the next step is adding higher levels of detail into the graphics so you won’t remain forever in an 8-bit world.
Transport Tycoon is fun, addictive and charming – in an old world sense – and even better, free if you get OpenTTD. It’s a game that, much like toy train sets is meant not just for little boys, but for grown men who like trains and the heady highs of being a virtual megalomaniac CEO.