Codex Gamicus

Zoo Tycoon is a business simulation developed by Blue Fang Games and released by Microsoft Game Studios. It is a tycoon game in which the player must run a zoo and try to make a profit. Although first released for Microsoft Windows and Macintosh in 2001, it was ported to the Nintendo DS in 2005.[1][2] It was followed by two expansion packs, Zoo Tycoon: Dinosaur Digs and Zoo Tycoon: Marine Mania, which were released in 2002, as well as a sequel, Zoo Tycoon 2, released in 2004.[3]


File:Zoo tycoon screen shot.png

A basic Zoo in Zoo Tycoon

The goal of Zoo Tycoon is to create a thriving zoo by building exhibits to accommodate animals and keeping the guests happy. Exhibit-building is one of the primary goals of Zoo Tycoon. To keep the guests and animals happy, exhibits should be suitable to the animal; for example, a lion is best suited to a savanna environment.[1] Choices in terrain, foliage, rocks, shelters, fences, toys and the presence of zookeepers all contribute to the suitability of an exhibit and the happiness of the animal. Guest happiness is dependent on animal choice, animal happiness, buildings, and scenery. Buildings may include bathrooms, restaurants and food stands, shops, or entertainment buildings such as movie theaters. Scenery involves aesthetics that raise guest happiness slightly, such as topiary art, light posts, or benches. Keeping both animal and guest happiness allows the player to gain monetary awards and steady income. To help manage the expanding zoo, players can employ janitors, zookeepers and tour guides.

There are three modes in Zoo Tycoon: Tutorial, Scenario, and Freeform. Tutorial teaches the player how to build exhibits and keep guests happy. Scenario mode has the player complete a series of objectives, sometimes within a specific time-frame. These objectives may include achieving a certain guest and animal happiness, achieving a certain exhibit suitability, displaying a certain number of animals, or breeding a certain animal. Freeform allows the player to choose the amount of money and the map with which they start. They are presented with an open lot and a limited selection of animals, buildings, and scenery available for purchase. As the game progresses, more animals and items become playable. Additional animals and items may be researched, where money is invested to make them playable.

Third-party creations[]

The success of Zoo Tycoon also led to the creation of new features by fans, both fact and fiction. Mods were created to fix problems with the game and unlock new features. Many of these mods were made possible by an official program created by Blue Fang named Animal Project Editor (APE), which allows the player to easily create one's own animals, with either simply renaming a premade animal or creating frames for another animal.


For animal habitats:

  • Grassland
  • Savannah
  • Sand (Desert)
  • Tropical Rainforest
  • Brown Stone
  • Grey Stone
  • Gravel
  • Tundra
  • Freshwater (Drinkable)
  • Saltwater (Aquatic)
  • Deciduous Forest
  • Coniferous Forest

For guests:

  • Concrete
  • Asphalt

Expansion packs and sequels[]

Zoo Tycoon was created in the wake of the success of the 1999 Hasbro Interactive game RollerCoaster Tycoon, which sold well for many years.[4] Zoo Tycoon did well enough for Microsoft and Blue Fang Games to release two expansion packs: Zoo Tycoon: Dinosaur Digs, which added prehistoric-themed items and animals, and Zoo Tycoon: Marine Mania, which allowed aquatic-themed items and animals. Eventually, Microsoft bundled the expansion packs with Zoo Tycoon to create Zoo Tycoon Complete Collection which had the functionality of both expansion packs and bonus content.

Zoo Tycoon 2 was released on November 2004. Although released with fewer animals than Zoo Tycoon, more animals were introduced in its expansion packs: Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals, Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania, Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species, and Zoo Tycoon 2: African Adventure. The later two were bundled in the Zoo Tycoon 2: Zookeeper Collection. All of them were bundled in Zoo Tycoon 2 Ultimate Collection.[5]


Does not include animals from the expansions packs - Dinosaur Digs and Marine Mania - or the Complete Collection (every official item, animal and download except for the Sable Antelope and the American Flag

  • Plains Zebra - Savannah
  • Olive Baboon - Savannah
  • Thomson's Gazelle - Savannah
  • Giraffe - Savannah
  • Lion - Savannah
  • Wildebeest - Savannah
  • Hippopotamus - Savannah
  • Black Rhinoceros - Savannah
  • Leopard - Savannah/Tropical Rainforest
  • Warthog - Savannah
  • African Elephant - Savannah
  • Cheetah - Savannah
  • Spotted Hyena - Savannah
  • Ostrich - Savannah
  • African Buffalo - Savannah
  • Greater Flamingo - Savannah
  • Red Kangaroo - Savannah
  • American Bison - Grassland
  • Moose - Deciduous floor
  • American Black Bear - Deciduous Floor
  • Grizzly Bear - Coniferous Forest
  • Gray Wolf - Coniferous Forest
  • Siberian Tiger - Coniferous Forest
  • Bengal Tiger - Tropical Rainforest
  • Chimpanzee - Tropical Rainforest
  • Jaguar - Tropical Rainforest
  • Clouded Leopard - Tropical Rainforest
  • Mandrill - Tropical Rainforest
  • Giant Anteater - Tropical Rainforest
  • Bighorn Sheep - Alpine
  • Alpine Ibex - Alpine
  • Markhor - Alpine
  • Dromedary Camel - Desert
  • Gemsbok - Desert
  • Saltwater Crocodile - Aquatic
  • California Sea Lion - Aquatic
  • Polar Bear - Tundra
  • Emperor Penguin - Tundra
  • Arctic Wolf - Tundra

Bonus Animals[]

  • Blackbuck - Savannah
  • Sable Antelope - Savannah
  • African Wild Dog - Savannah
  • Llama - Alpine
  • Asiatic Black Bear - Alpine
  • Mountain Lion - Alpine
  • Yeti - Tundra
  • Reindeer - Tundra
  • Przewalski's Horse - Grassland
  • Mexican Wolf - Deciduous Floor
  • Japanese Serow - Deciduous Floor
  • Bigfoot - Coniferous Forest
  • Orangutan - Tropical Rainforest
  • Malayan Tapir - Tropical Rainforest
  • Javan Rhinoceros - Tropical Rainforest
  • Komodo Dragon - Tropical Rainforest
  • Asian Elephant - Tropical Rainforest
  • Magnet the Polar Bear - Tundra

Conservation Animals[]

  • Western Lowland Gorilla- Tropical Rainforest
  • White tiger- Tropical Rainforest
  • Okapi- Tropical Rainforest
  • Snow Leopard- Alpine
  • Giant Panda- Alpine

Easter Egg Animals[]

  • Unicorn - Deciduous Floor/Coniferous Forest (Original Zoo Tycoon) - Get this animals by renaming a pre-existing exhibit Xanadu (if you name a new exhibit your game will crash)
  • Triceratops - Savannah (Original Zoo Tycoon/Dinosaur Digs) - Get this animal by renaming a pre-existing exhibit Cretaceous Corral (if you name a new exhibit your game will crash)
  • Deinosuchus - Aquatic (Dinosaur Digs/Original) get this animal by renaming an exhibit Super Croc.
  • Mermaid - Aquatic (Marine Mania/Original) get this animal by putting a mermaid statue in an aquatic tank.

Magnet the Polar Bear[]

A contest was held by Microsoft and Blue Fang for the Best Zoo Animal, with the winner being included as a bonus downloadable animal for the game. Magnet, a Polar Bear at The Baltimore Zoo, was the winning animal. He is distinguished from other polar bears by his larger size, a slightly different colour of fur (cream as opposed to white) and the fact that he will occasionally play with a red ball. He also doesn't eat other animals.


  • Baobab Tree - Savannah
  • Umbrella Thorn - Savnannah
  • Acaia Tree - Savannah
  • Khejri Tree - Savannah
  • Oak Tree - Deciduos Forest
  • Thornless Mesquite Tree - Deciduos Floor
  • Pine Tree - Coniferous Forest
  • Elephant Ear Tree - Tropical Rainforest
  • Rainforest Bush - Tropical Rainforest
  • Waterlily - Freshwater and Saltwater
  • Water Reed - Freshwater and Saltwater
  • Tall Grass - Grassland
  • Western Chedar tree - Coniferous Forest
  • Yew Tree - Deciduos Floor
  • Western Red Cedar Tree - Coniferous Floor
  • Japanese Maple tree - Deciduos Floor
  • Pacific Dogwood Tree - Deciduos Floor
  • Wild Olive Tree - Deciduos Floor
  • Balsam Fir - Coniferous Forest
  • Ulmo tree - Tropical Rainforest
  • Kapok Tree - Tropical Rainforest
  • Elm Tree - Deciduos Floor
  • Broadleaf Bush - Grassland
  • Himalayan Pine Tree - Highland
  • Rainforest Fern - Tropical Rainforest
  • Thorn Bush - Savannah
  • Acaia Caffra Tree - Savannah
  • Birch Tree - Deciduous Floor
  • Globe Willow tree - Deciduous Floor
  • Mangrove tree - Tropical Floor
  • Sage Bush - Highland
  • Himalayan Birch Tree - Highland
  • Saguaro Cactus - Desert
  • Joshua Tree - Desert
  • Bamboo - Highland
  • Foxtail Palm - Tropical Forest
  • Royal Palm - Desert
  • Pine Bush - Coniferous Forest
  • Spruce Tree - Coniferous Forest
  • Hard Quangdong Tree - Savannah
  • Red Gum Tree - Savannah
  • Grass Tree - Savannah
  • Eucalyptus rree - Grassland
  • Western Larch Tree - Highland
  • Western Spurce Tree - Coniferous

Bonus Plants[]

  • Durian tree - Tropical Rainforest
  • Giant Ficus tree - Tropical Rainforest
  • Toadstool - Tropical Rainforest
  • Rafflesia - Tropical Rainforest
  • Agave cactus - Desert
  • Yucca tree -
  • Snowy bush tree - Tundra
  • Bonsai - Deciduous
  • Snowbell Tree - Deciduos Floor


Review scores
Publication Score Comments
6.9 out of 10[4]
7.1 out of 10[1]
67 out of 100[6]
Based on 18 reviews
Game Rankings
Based on 26 media outlets

Zoo Tycoon was received with mixed reviews, gaining an average 68 out of 100 at Metacritic.[7] Positive reviews came from Computer Games Magazine and GameZone, which gave the game scores of 4.5 out of 5 and 8 out of 10, respectively.[9][10] The more negative reviews came from Adrenaline Vault and PC Gamer.[7] Commercially, Zoo Tycoon did quite well, with 4 million units sold worldwide from its initial release to 2004. It was also one of the top 15 best selling PC titles in the US.[11]

Zoo Tycoon and its compiled Complete Collection also garnered several awards and accolades, gaining the Bologna New Media Prize in 2002. Zoo Tycoon: Complete Collection received the Parents' Choice Foundation Gold Award - 2003, the AIAS Computer Family Title of the Year Interactive Achievement Award - 2004, the Scholastic Parent & Child Teacher’s Pick – 2004, and the Children’s Software Revue All Star Award – 2004.[12]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Zoo Tycoon for PC Review - PC Zoo Tycoon Review. Retrieved on 2007-11-20
  2. Zoo Tycoon DS for DS Review - DS Zoo Tycoon DS Review. Retrieved on 2007-11-20
  3. Zoo Tycoon 2 for PC Review - PC Zoo Tycoon 2 Review. Retrieved on 2007-11-20
  4. 4.0 4.1 IGN: Zoo Tycoon. Retrieved on 2007-11-20
  5. Zoo Tycoon - Home. Retrieved on 2007-11-21
  6. - Reviews: Zoo Tycoon (PC). Retrieved on 2008-04-14
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Zoo Tycoon (pc: 2001): Reviews. Retrieved on 2007-11-20
  8. Zoo Tycoon Reviews. Retrieved on 2007-11-20
  9. CG Online-- Zoo Tycoon Review. Retrieved on 2007-11-20
  10. Zoo Tycoon Review - PC. Retrieved on 2007-11-20
  11. GameSpy: Zoo Tycoon Sells BIG. Retrieved on 2007-11-21
  12. Blue Fang Games ~ Awards. Retrieved on 2007-11-21

External links[]