Zoo Tycoon (2001 video game)

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Zoo Tycoon
Zoo Tycoon boxart
Developer(s)Blue Fang Games
Designer(s)Blue Fang Games Edit this on Wikidata
SeriesZoo Tycoon
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, Macintosh
ReleaseOctober 17, 2001
Genre(s)Business simulation game
Mode(s)Single player

Zoo Tycoon is a business simulation developed by Blue Fang Games and released by Microsoft. It is a tycoon game in which the player must run a zoo and try to make a profit. Although first released for Microsoft Windows and Macintosh in 2001, it was ported to the Nintendo DS in 2005.[1][2] It was followed by two expansion packs, Dinosaur Digs and Marine Mania, which were released in 2002, as well as a sequel, Zoo Tycoon 2, released in 2004.[3]


A basic zoo in Zoo Tycoon with giraffes.

The goal of Zoo Tycoon is to create a thriving zoo by building exhibits to accommodate animals and keeping the guests and animals happy. Exhibit-building is one of the primary goals of Zoo Tycoon. To keep the guests and animals happy, exhibits should be suitable to the animal; for example, a lion is best suited to a savannah environment.[1] Choices in terrain, foliage, rocks, shelters, fences, toys and the presence of zookeepers all contribute to the suitability of an exhibit and the happiness of the animal. Guest happiness is dependent on animal choice, animal happiness, buildings, and scenery. Buildings may include bathrooms, restaurants and food stands, shops, reptile houses, aviaries, or entertainment buildings such as movie theaters. Scenery involves aesthetics that raise guest happiness slightly, such as topiary art, light posts, or benches. Keeping both animal and guest happiness allows the player to gain monetary awards and steady income. To help manage the expanding zoo, players can employ maintenance workers, zookeepers and tour guides. If the animals are released and escape from their enclosures, they can kill the guests. Sometimes, when animals are unhappy, they can attack the zookeeper.

There are three modes in Zoo Tycoon: Tutorial, Scenario, and Freeform. Tutorial teaches the player how to build exhibits and keep guests happy. Scenario mode has the player complete a series of objectives under restrictions. These objectives may include achieving a certain guest and animal happiness, achieving a certain exhibit suitability, displaying a certain number of animals, or breeding a certain animal. Freeform allows the player to choose the amount of money and the map with which they start. They are presented with an open lot and a limited selection of animals, buildings, and scenery available for purchase. As the game progresses, more animals and items become playable. Additional animals and items may be researched, where money is invested to make them playable.

Cheat codes are available for the game and many of them reference characters from Reservoir Dogs.

Expansion packs[edit]

Zoo Tycoon: Dinosaur Digs (2002) features many prehistoric animals as the "Giant Ground Sloth", or Megatherium, albeit in this case escaping due to unhappiness.

Zoo Tycoon was created in the wake of the success of the 1999 Hasbro Interactive game RollerCoaster Tycoon, which sold well for many years.[4] Zoo Tycoon did well enough for Microsoft and Blue Fang Games to release two expansion packs: Dinosaur Digs, which added prehistoric-themed items and animals including mythical creatures, and Marine Mania, which allowed aquatic-themed items and animals. Eventually, Microsoft bundled the expansion packs with Zoo Tycoon to create Zoo Tycoon Complete Collection as Hasbro had done for RollerCoaster Tycoon. This had the functionality of both expansion packs and bonus content.

Dinosaur Digs[edit]

Released on May 19, 2002, Dinosaur Digs includes 20 new prehistoric animals to choose from including mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and varied dinosaurs as well as prehistoric-themed items and buildings. In addition, new types of electrical fences to accommodate the animals and prehistoric foliage have been introduced. As in the previous game, more extinct animals, foliage and better care for dinosaurs can be researched. Each dinosaur is adopted as an egg. The game introduces a new staff member, the scientist, to care for the eggs and, once it hatches, the dinosaur itself.

Despite the fact that the player can purchase electrified fences to keep dinosaurs contained in exhibits, it is still possible for them to escape. If one does escape, the player will have to hire a dinosaur recovery team to find and tranquillize it so that it can be returned to its exhibit.

Marine Mania[edit]

The second and final expansion pack to the game wherein players can create and manage underwater exhibits or merge aquatic tanks with traditional land habitats was released on October 17, 2002. Interactive tutorials and virtual marine specialists are available to help players maintain animal happiness. In addition, 10 new scenarios were added.

Also new in the expansion pack is the ability to create aquatic shows.

Third-party creations[edit]

The success of Zoo Tycoon also led to the creation of new features by fans of the game. Mods were created to fix problems with the game and unlock new features. Many of these mods were made possible by an official program created by Blue Fang Games named Animal Project Editor (APE), which allows the player to easily create one's own animals or objects, with either simply renaming a premade item or creating frames one-by-one for something new.


Zoo Tycoon 2 was released on November 2004. Although released with fewer animals than Zoo Tycoon, more animals were introduced in its expansion packs: Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species, Zoo Tycoon 2: African Adventure, Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania, and Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals. The first two were bundled in the Zoo Tycoon 2: Zookeeper Collection. All of them were bundled in Zoo Tycoon 2 Ultimate Collection.[5]


Aggregate scores
(based on 23 reviews)
(based on 18 reviews)
Review scores
CGW3.5/5 stars[6]
Game Informer7.5/10
PC Gamer (US)48%[10]
Computer Games Magazine4.5/5 stars[8]
Macworld4/5 stars[11]
MacHome Journal4/5 stars[12]

Zoo Tycoon was received with mixed to positive reviews, gaining an average 68 out of 100 at Metacritic.[13] GameZone gave the game a score of 8 out of 10.[15]

Zoo Tycoon and its compiled Complete Collection also garnered several awards and accolades, gaining the Bologna New Media Prize in 2002. Zoo Tycoon: Complete Collection received the Parents' Choice Foundation Gold Award - 2003, the AIAS Computer Family Title of the Year Interactive Achievement Award - 2004, the Scholastic Parent & Child Teacher’s Pick – 2004, and the Children’s Software Revue All Star Award – 2004.[16]


Zoo Tycoon was a commercial success.[17] Within a year of release, the game rose above 1 million copies in sales.[18] By October 2003, its global sales had surpassed 2.5 million copies, or 3 million when grouped with its expansion packs.[19] The NPD Group declared it the eighth-best-selling computer game of 2002,[20] and the 11th-best-selling of 2003.[21] NPD proceeded to rank the game's Zoo Tycoon: Complete Collection bundle 10th for 2004, 16th for 2005 and 12th for 2006.[22][23][24]

In the United States alone, Zoo Tycoon sold 1.1 million units and earned $28.2 million by August 2006.[25] It was among the country's 15 highest-selling computer games ever by July 2004,[17] and Edge ranked it as the country's fifth-best-selling computer game released between January 2000 and August 2006.[25] Zoo Tycoon also received a "Gold" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA),[26] indicating sales of at least 200,000 copies in the United Kingdom;[27] and a "Gold" certification from the Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland (VUD), for sales of at least 100,000 units across Germany, Switzerland and Austria.[28]

The Zoo Tycoon series, including the original Zoo Tycoon, surpassed 4 million copies in global sales by July 2004. Over 2 million copies of the series were sold in the United States alone by that date.[17] Series sales in the country rose to 2.9 million units by August 2006.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Zoo Tycoon for PC Review - PC Zoo Tycoon Review". Retrieved 2007-11-20.
  2. ^ "Zoo Tycoon DS for DS Review - DS Zoo Tycoon DS Review". Retrieved 2007-11-20.
  3. ^ "Zoo Tycoon 2 for PC Review - PC Zoo Tycoon 2 Review". Retrieved 2007-11-20.
  4. ^ a b "IGN: Zoo Tycoon". Retrieved 2007-11-20.
  5. ^ "Zoo Tycoon - Home". Archived from the original on November 16, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-21.
  6. ^ Green, Jeff (February 2002). "Zoo Tycoon". Computer Gaming World (211): 98.
  7. ^ Brogger, Kristian; Reiner, Andrew (December 2001). "Zoo Me, Baby". Game Informer. Archived from the original on November 14, 2004.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Cross, Jason (January 15, 2002). "Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, Oh Yes!". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on April 4, 2004.
  9. ^ "GameSpy.com - Reviews: Zoo Tycoon (PC)". Retrieved 2008-04-14.
  10. ^ Preston, Jim. "Zoo Tycoon". PC Gamer US. Archived from the original on April 28, 2008.
  11. ^ Cohen, Peter (January 1, 2004). "The Game Room; Macworld's 2003 Game Hall of Fame". Macworld. Archived from the original on February 10, 2008.
  12. ^ Staff. "Zoo Tycoon". MacHome Journal. Archived from the original on December 9, 2003.
  13. ^ a b "Zoo Tycoon (pc: 2001): Reviews". Retrieved 2007-11-20.
  14. ^ "Zoo Tycoon Reviews". Retrieved 2012-05-21.
  15. ^ "Zoo Tycoon Review - PC". Retrieved 2007-11-20.
  16. ^ "Blue Fang Games ~ Awards". Archived from the original on January 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-21.
  17. ^ a b c Autrijve, Rainier Van (July 12, 2004). "Zoo Tycoon Sells BIG". GameSpy. Archived from the original on August 16, 2004.
  18. ^ Calvert, Justin (October 21, 2002). "Zoo Tycoon Sells a Million". GameSpot. Archived from the original on November 29, 2004.
  19. ^ "Zoo Tycoon Celebrates a Wild Success!" (Press release). GameZone. October 29, 2003. Archived from the original on December 24, 2003.
  20. ^ Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry; 2003 Sales, Demographics and Usage Data (PDF) (Report). Interactive Digital Software Association. May 14, 2003. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 11, 2003.
  21. ^ Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry: 2004 Sales, Demographics and Usage Data (PDF) (Report). Entertainment Software Association. May 12, 2004. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 5, 2004.
  22. ^ Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry; 2007 Sales, Demographic and Usage Data (PDF) (Report). Entertainment Software Association. June 2007. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 26, 2008.
  23. ^ Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry; 2005 Sales, Demographics and Usage Data (PDF) (Report). Entertainment Software Association. May 18, 2005. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 4, 2005.
  24. ^ "Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry; 2006 Sales, Demographic and Usage Data" (PDF). Entertainment Software Association. May 10, 2006. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 21, 2006.
  25. ^ a b c Edge Staff (August 25, 2006). "The Top 100 PC Games of the 21st Century". Edge. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012.
  26. ^ "ELSPA Sales Awards: Gold". Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association. Archived from the original on March 19, 2009.
  27. ^ Caoili, Eric (November 26, 2008). "ELSPA: Wii Fit, Mario Kart Reach Diamond Status In UK". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on September 18, 2017.
  28. ^ "Awards April 2004" (Press release). Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland. April 30, 2004. Archived from the original on September 5, 2004.

External links[edit]