Running a prison is not an easy job, a point that the Prison Tycoon series of games makes very apparent very quickly! While many people may not think of a prison as a business, it really is and in Prison Tycoon players must make their correctional institution as profitable as possible while still making sure they keep all of the inmates in line (and inside the walls.)
Five Prison Tycoon games have been released in all, beginning with Prison Tycoon in 2005 and most recently ‘Prison Tycoon: Alcatraz’ in 2010.
Although all of the games offer slightly different options – most notably where your prison is actually located – they all follow the same basic premise. You are the warden of a small, minimum security prison when the game begins, and it is them your job to grow that facility into a high security prison that makes money for the state but also houses happy, contented prisoners who follow (most) of the rules.
It is not as easy as it sounds though. In creating prisoner accommodations that are securer and humane you have to budget very carefully and hiring the right number of prison wardens may be the difference between maintaining order and losing control of the prison during a riot.
In all of the Prison Tycoon games there are lots of different types of inmates who may arrive at your prison, and they all have different needs in order for them to stay content. Some are looking for further education, some want a great gym to work out in and others just want to watch TV, and it is quite a balancing act to keep them all happy and from rioting or trying to escape.
Because it was released such a long time ago the original Prison Tycoon’s graphics are very crude by today’s standards, but they are not terrible and as the series advanced the visuals did of course improve.
Prison Tycoon is definitely one of the more complicated tycoon games you can choose to play and it may not be so much fun for younger people as some of the more light hearted offerings. However, for people who really enjoy a challenge that can go on for a long period of time and involves some very, very careful planning, then this will be a game series you will enjoy.