Two Point Hospital

One of the first games I ever bought with my hard earned allowance was Theme Park. I spent countless hours playing the theme park simulation game by legendary Bullfrog Productions. Riding on the roller-coaster of success that Theme Park turned out to be, Bullfrog released another “Theme”-game three years later, Theme Hospital.

Like the name implies, Theme Hospital was a hospital simulation game. With it’s quirky, tongue-in-cheek humor, ingenious medical conditions and accompanying treatments, Theme Hospital immediately got me hooked. It became yet another Bullfrog title responsible for me spending many hours of my childhood in front of a computer.

But not long after the release of Theme Hospital, some of the key Bullfrog employees left the company. This put Bullfrog’s intellectual property (IP) in the hands of their publisher, Electronic Arts, a company that turns every great IP they get their hands on into garbage. Exhibit A: Maxis and SimCity. In 2001, Bullfrog was merged into EA UK and ceased to exist as a separate entity.

But the Bullfrog spirit didn’t die, it just went into hibernation. Now it has finally awoken in the form of Two Point Hospital.

Neo Cab

I’m a sucker for neon lights, cyberpunk, and a good story. Here’s my Neo Cab review.

California based Change Agency‘s Neo Cab is a game that delivers on all three of those points. So when I loaded up the game for the first time I was pretty sure I was going to have a good time. And I wasn’t left disappointed.

Neo Cab tells the story of Lina, one of the last human driver-for-hire on the streets of Los Ojos. Lina’s friend and only lifeline has gone missing; with no money and nowhere to stay, the only thing she can do is keep driving. As the player, you choose what passengers to pick up and how you engage with them to learn their stories. Balance Lina’s own emotional wellbeing with the needs of her passengers as she strives to keep her perfect rating, and her job. Maybe someone in this city can help Lina with her own story?

American Truck Simulator – Utah Review

Here is my American Truck Simulator – Utah review.

SCS Software has just – as in two hours ago – released the fifth map expansion for their critically acclaimed trucking simulator, American Truck Simulator. But is it as good as the previous four expansions?

With both Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator, SCS Software has released a steady stream of high quality map expansions. The latest expansion for American Truck Simulator, Utah, adds, as the name implies, the great state of Utah to the game. Here are some of the main features of the new map expansion:

  • 3.500 miles of road network
  • 10 major cities, like Salt Lake City, St. George, and Moab
  • New quarries and mines including the largest open excavation Kennecott Copper Mine
  • Expanded oil industry (oil mining sites, oil storage sites)
  • Improved agriculture production chain (country stores, feedmills)
  • Famous landmark sites: Great Salt Lake, Monument Valley, and the Virgin River Canyon
  • Over 260 recognizable natural and man-made landmarks
  • 12 well-known truck stops
  • New and improved process of landscape creation
  • Utah in-game achievements to unlock.

On the Road Again With Euro Truck Simulator 2

Two years after my Euro Truck Simulator 2 review, it’s time to revisit the game to see how it holds up. Spoiler alert: It only got better.

7 years after its release, Czech developer SCS Software‘s trucking simulator is as popular as it ever was. As of right now – just past 6 O’clock on a Sunday morning CET – more than seven thousand people are playing Euro Truck Simulator 2 (ETS2) on Steam. It’s among the highly rated games on the platform, with a 96% approval rating on its 150 000 reviews.

I wrote a very favorable review of the game two years ago, and have continued to play it since. ETS2 is now my third most played game on Steam, with over 70 hours played.

But what makes a seemingly exceedingly boring thing as hauling virtual cargo across Europe so popular? The way I see it, there are two main reasons for SCS’s success with ETS2.

Masters of Doom

Few people have been as defining and influential for the gaming industry as the Masters of Doom, John Carmack and John Romero.

Both grew up in the 1970s, experiencing the golden age of arcade video games. Classic games like Space Invaders and Pac-Man was an important part of their childhoods. The Apple II was the inaugural home computer for both Carmack and Romero, and the first published games for both of them were Apple II titles.

The two Johns’ paths eventually crossed when they met at Softdisk in 1989. It was a match made in heaven, and both were integral to the company’s success with their contributions to the Big Blue Disk magazine. Carmack, a programming and computer graphics genius – described as “a brain on legs” – and Romero, brilliant at both programming and game design.

At Softdisk, Romero and Carmack met Tom Hall and Adrian Carmack (not related to John). Tom worked at the company as a programmer and game designer, while Adrian’s primary role was as an artist. In early 1991, the four of them left Softdisk, and founded Id Software.