Sid Meier’s SimGolf Review

Sid Meier’s SimGolf (Jewel Case)
Grade: B+
Teachers’ Comments:  A fun game, even if you’re not a computer game geek.

Sid Meier’s SimGolf is a lot of fun. It’s not so much a golf game, as it is a business simulation.

You start the game with a small plot of land and a pool of money. Using your best instincts as a golf course designer, you then lay out a course (you may only have the cash for three holes at first), add some amenities and wait for golfers to show up.

As more players patronize your course, your income increases, and you have more to sink into the development of your course. You can buy more land, add food stands, hotels, clubhouses, and practice facilities, and of course, build more holes. You also have to hire staff to maintain the grounds, feed hungry and thirsty golfers, and generally make your patrons’ experiences enjoyable. If you are successful, your little golf empire continues to grow.

There also are a lot of little side games going on. As the club pro, you can hold tournaments, and take on challengers in high-stakes games. It’s a lot of fun to be able to play on the course that you have designed.

Fortunately for us non-computer games types, playing a round on your own course is not a matter of hand-eye coordination. Instead, you get to choose a club and shot type and then let your little digital alter ego take on the actual swing for you. As your club pro gains in experience, you get points which you can then spend to improve his ability to make different types of shots.

Another involves matching up various players in foursomes. You can check out who is waiting for a tee time and then pair up different players based on their secret desires and motivations. If you match the right players, they resolve their issues, cut a business deal, or fall in love. And for each happy ending, the rating of your course goes up.

I also have a lot of fun tinkering with the course design. The game rates the different holes, and if you have an eye for balancing difficulty and fun, you could find yourself with a hole that’s rated a “classic.”

The graphics in the game tend toward the cartoony. The little people milling about your course are fun, but I have found that my old eyes get tired following all of them around.

Finally, my one criticism of the game is that it often ends too soon for me. The game is over when your electronic alter ego, the club pro reaches retirement age. And its often that I’m just getting the course set up the way I like it when that happens. I’;d like to be able to pass the club pro job onto his son so I can continue to build my empire.

But that a small quibble. I’ve had a lot of fun with this game. And right now, because its a couple of years old, the price is really right



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