It's been a long time since I've been to Walt Disney World, but my friends who have been there more recently with their families bear harrowing tales of crowds, lines, and heat. Disney appears to be aware of the pain points that sap some of the joy of visiting one of its theme parks, and its new app called Play Disney Parks is an attempt at alleviating some of those discomforts. Now waiting in line and making your way through hordes of other distressed families can be more fun, maybe?
You know what's fun? Going to a Disney theme park. You know what's even more fun? Being paid to go to a Disney theme park. That's what a few lucky Google employees got to do, because the company announced today that eleven Disney parks have been mapped on Street View. This includes Walt Disney World, California Adventures, Disneyland Paris, and others.
Resorts and theme parks are one of the few touristic attractions I'd go to where I'd have the dedicated app installed and at the ready a few days before even visiting. I'd check out the map, see the different rides, and pick beforehand my musts and maybes so I don't have any regrets by the end of the day.
At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeonly old man who can't get any enjoyment out of life (which is normally David's job), I'm going to suggest that maybe roller coasters don't need technological add-ons in order to appeal to people. After all, they're roller coasters, gigantic masterpieces of engineering and physics that exist primarily for the purpose of entertainment, and secondarily for the purpose of making you empty your stomach of ill-advised theme park corn dogs. Do they really need to be tied into the never-ending cycle of incremental upgrades and improvements that typifies mobile technology?
If you were a fan of "sim management" games in the early 2000s, you probably played at least one version of RollerCoaster Tycoon. Next year Atari will revive the franchise with RollerCoaster Tycoon World on the PC, but for now the official fourth installment of the series is oddly limited to mobile, arriving about six months late on Android. RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 uses the same basic structure of the original 1999 game, albeit with remixed limits and annoyances for the free-to-play format.
At its heart, the game is an amusement park simulator, basically SimCity with attractions instead of buildings. It's your job to keep your park expanding and profitable by strategically selecting and placing rides, food stalls, and infrastructure like bathrooms and gift shops.
What's the next best thing to visiting a theme park? If you said "designing one in a game," you're probably wrong. That doesn't mean it isn't fun at all, though. EA's newest game, predictably named Theme Park, lets you design the amusement park of your dreams.
The game follows the 'build it and they will come' mantra. You have to create attractions that will bring patrons to your park so you can make cash. You can turn around and use that money to build more shops and rides. To stay busy, you go around tapping on all sorts of things in your park to collect experience and money.