The very first version of Mall Tycoon was first created by Take-Two Interactive and released in 2002 for the Windows operating system. It came at a time when tycoon games were really just becoming very popular and although the graphics in that original game certainly look a bit dated now the game still represents a big milestone in that it was one of the first business simulation games that a younger demographic really embraced.
The Mall Tycoon concept is a rather simple one; buy up some land, build a mall and then make as much money as possible by making sure that stores stay rented, customers stay happy and that the mall can expand and turn even more of a profit.
In the original Mall Tycoon there are around sixty different stores to build, a number of different staff to hire to help run the mall – and pay of course – different events that can be staged to draw in more customers and various decor tweaks that you can make to try to improve the image of your mall. You do have plenty of help in the market research department and the more attention you pay to this side of the game the more it will pay off in the long run.
As is the case in real life, there are a number of obstacles that the mall owner must overcome in order to try and keep their business afloat let alone keep it profitable. These include rather obvious things like shoplifters and teenage troublemakers but, in the original game, there are also stranger foes in the form of mall zombies and even aliens. Mall zombies are particularly pesky (as you might imagine) but they can be kept at bay if you pay careful attention to keeping the mall nice and clean and tidy. There also comes a point where you can actually call upon the assistance of the Men in Black (at a very high price) to help you round up the invading aliens.
Although the concept of Mall Tycoon was a very appealing one it did not sell quite as well as it might have done because it was so far behind in terms of graphics. The idea was still solid enough to spawn two more sequels though, Mall Tycoon 2 and 3, released in 2003 and 2005 respectively. The later games improved graphically but still offer a very similar gameplay, including the ever popular zombies and aliens (who could apply for jobs in disguise in the later games).
The Mall Tycoon series is one of the lighter hearted tycoon game offerings that you can opt to play and for years it has been most popular with the people who probably know the most about great malls anyway – fashion conscious teenagers!