My Amusement Park (DS)

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
My Amusement Park (DS) Game Poster Image
Theme park sim mixes in logic and memory games.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn how to budget their money and time while building and running their own virtual theme park. Each attraction they build costs money, so they need to save up if they want to add a particular ride or stand to their park. In addition, kids have their logic and puzzle-solving skills tested in mini-games that surround the building and maintenance of each attraction. While building the park of their dreams, kids also learn budgeting and logic skills in My Amusement Park.

Positive Messages

Messages about responsibility abound in this game. Kids need to watch their budgets, repair anything that gets broken, and make sure their customers stay happy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The game serves as a good role model in that it encourages wholesome fun, while reminding kids about their responsibilities in this simulated world. The only possible negative message comes in the junk food sold at concessions stands (although such food is realistically sold at amusement parks, and these food stands also sell healthy fruit).

Ease of Play

There are three difficulty levels for each task, with the lowest being simple enough for a kindergartner. Players will earn more money for playing on higher difficulty levels, though. Also, no reading is required, as all the instructions are spoken aloud.

Violence & Scariness
Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that My Amusement Park is a fun and educational business simulation, in which kids will construct rides and attractions, play mini-games associated with each, balance a business budget, repair any malfunctioning attractions, and even sort out traffic jams in the parking lot. There is no objectionable content. The game is an overall lesson in responsibility, with math, logic, and problem-solving lessons scattered throughout.

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What's it about?

MY AMUSEMENT PARK lets kids design and run their own theme park. They can choose the general look of the place (safari, maybe? or tropical?) and choose which rides and attractions to build. They will play mini-games to construct the attractions, and can play different games to run the attractions. These might be matching games, memory games, or logic games. If a ride breaks down, they need to fix it right away or lose money for that day. And if there's a traffic snarl in the parking lot, they have to play a mini-game to sort it out.

Is it any good?

My Amusement Park offers a good deal of variety as it mixes logic-based mini-games with bona fide park simulation elements. There are a finite number of attractions to build and play with, and once you've filled up your park, you may grow tired of it, but you can always start from scratch with a new park and a new theme (though the attractions are the same, no matter what theme you've chosen). Since you can get more money by playing games at higher levels, it can be fun to see how quickly you finish the park. And for kids in the 5 to 8 age range, this is a nice uncomplicated introduction to simulation games, too.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about maintaining a budget. Do kids find it difficult to spend within their budget in the game? How can the lessons learned here apply to your real life?

  • Ask kids why they make the choices they do in the game. Why did they choose a certain decorative theme over another? Why did they choose to build food stands before rides? And so on.

  • What makes simulation games so much fun?

Game details

For kids who love games that teach

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