Welcome to Tropico, a fantastic world domination game developed by PopTop Software in 2001. This game is not for the faint of heart. You are an evil ruler of a resource-rich island and you are determined to wring it for its last drop of profit.
Alternatively, you can just choose to build a lot of goat farms.
What’s Tropico About?
Basically, you choose a dossier of character traits, each with benefits and drawbacks. I like to be a religious zealot, because “zealot” is one of those words that is just not used enough in conversational American English these days. I also like to have a lot of money, so I generally choose a few financially productive character quirks.
So, you travel to your island, turn off the stupid cloud effects, and start building mines and houses and pineapple farms. There’s a lot of strategy written about this game (which elevation to plant specific crops, how you can keep your population happy) but it’s a lot more fun to just behave in a dictatorial fashion and increase your troops whenever there’s unrest.
Why Should You Play?
- The announcer calls you “El Presidente” every time he speaks to you, with a straight face.
- The music is great – that “wepa wepa wepa” moves the soul.
- You get the cathartic experience of assassinating your enemies.
- You really can have a goat farm.
- The joy of expansion. When 15 construction workers are banging away on the roof of your apartment building, you know pure happiness.
- In this world, government funds can actually go directly towards public education.
- You can indulge your voyeuristic tendencies and click on people to know what they’re thinking. True, the thoughts are generally pretty boring, but telepathy is just fun on principle.
What’s Next, El Presidente?
While Tropico doesn’t offer the immersion of a MMORPG like World of Warcraft, or the shiny happy imaginary animals of new console games like Viva Pinata 2, it’s still highly entertaining, and a buzz for anyone seeking the experience of world domination without consequences.
So: If given complete power over a small nation, what would you do first?