When I first heard about this I was doubtful; when I saw this Theme Park clone for the Commodore 64 actually running, I still couldn’t believe it.
First released in 1994 by Electronic Arts (developed by Bullfrog), Theme Park was one of the best strategy titles of the year. I bought it for the Amiga, which was slowly becoming less of an arcade gaming platform for me and more of a strategy/sim machine.
Theme Park looked great, but game play is essentially setting prices and building rides, avoiding closure of your park. Considering this, it should come as no surprise that a C64 can handle a game like Theme Park, at least until the graphics come into play.
Well, it’s time to revise your expecations. Developer Arlasoft has released Funfair Inc. on itch.io, a game that is essentially Theme Park, but on the C64, with some surprisingly good graphics. It also features
- 32 rides and animal attractions
- 20 shops and gaming stalls
- 16 features and toilet facilities
The developer is giving the game away in its current state, and notes:
“This downloadable version is where development stopped a couple of years ago, I just hit a brick wall and the motivation to tackle even the smallest feature or bug appeared. Unfortunately unless I get into a position where I can do my own thing all day every day I don’t see me having the time or energy to finish it, but I will make the code available to anyone who wants to have a go. Most of the planned features are implemented, it would just be a question of bug fixing, adding mouse support and making sure all the finances and RNGs are balanced to make the game fun. At present it’s just a bit of a sandbox to muck around in and try and break :)”
I’ll be honest; if a version of Theme Park for the C64 that looked and played as well as this had been available in the mid-1990s, I’d have bought it ahead of the Amiga version.
You can grab a copy (and hopefully contribute to completing the game) by downloading Funfair Inc on itch.io.
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.