Tag Archives: bullfrog

Thoughts: Two Point Hospital


I’ve always regarded Theme Hospital as the odd one out when it comes to Bullfrog’s strategy games. Theme Park made all the sense in the world, even when I was 11 years old, but I just didn’t understand the concept behind Theme Hospital. Even now I think running a for-profit hospital was a really weird theme for a British developer to build a game around; unfortunately the severe cuts the NHS has suffered over the last decade has given private healthcare the opportunity to become more deeply entrenched in the UK’s healthcare system1, but back in the 90s it was still a deeply alien concept to the British psyche and I often wonder how exactly Bullfrog ended up deciding to make it. Odd choice or no, though, Theme Hospital remains one of Bullfrog’s most fondly-remembered titles (for those who actually played it, at least), and so it’s no surprise that it’s the latest one to receive a modern attempt at a do-over in the form of Two Point Hospital.

Continue reading

  1. A few months back I suffered a bad knee injury while running. A visit to my GP presented me with a rather stark choice: wait 12 weeks to see an NHS physiotherapist, or go private and start treatment that week. I was fortunate enough to be able to afford to go private so I coughed up the money and have no complaints about the treatment I received, but there wouldn’t have been a need to do that ten or fifteen years ago.
Tagged , , , ,

Bullfrog Time Machine: Syndicate


On holiday this week, so here’s the second of my recent excursions into Bullfrog’s glory days.

My love for Syndicate is something that I find difficult to express in words. It’s a game expressly calculated to appeal to both the 10 year-old version of me and the current gnarled oak of a man I have become. It’s all about trenchcoat-clad cyborgs fighting gang wars with weaponry ranging from Uzis to rocket launchers, all in the middle of a living city where innocent bystanders are routinely incinerated in the crossfire from your obscenely powerful guns — and if that idea doesn’t at least catch a glimmer of your interest then I don’t know what to tell you. Probably you’re not going to be very interested in Syndicate. Probably you’ve also had the joy surgically removed from every other aspect of your life, but I try not to judge.

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Bullfrog Time Machine: Populous


One of my New Year’s resolutions was to make at least one post on the blog every week. I knew that there’d be weeks like this week when work hit me like a truck, which is why I spent a large part of the Christmas break writing some shorter pieces chronicling my experiences with Bullfrog’s games so that I’d have something to fill the gap. Some of them I’d never played, and most of the rest I’d not played in fifteen years, and since I was stuck with a low-tech laptop for a week I just bought the lot off GoG and played through as many of them as I could, in chronological order. First up is Populous.

I think it would be fair to say that Populous is not a game that has aged terribly well. It had its 25th birthday last year; as Bullfrog’s first release all the way back in 1989 it would be pretty surprising if Populous wasn’t showing those years somehow. Even so, as somebody very used to archaic control systems (I once spent a summer playing through the pre-Civilization Microprose titles) I was a little taken aback at how basic Populous seems given the benefit of modern hindsight, and how painful it is to try and play now. Running at a whopping resolution of 320×200 didn’t give it too many pixels to play with, but even so Populous is downright wasteful in the way it uses its screen real estate, with two-thirds of it taken up by the UI buttons and the minimap. All the action takes place in a small box crammed into the centre of the screen which is commensurately awkward to deal with, and I use the word “action” with a certain degree of irony here because there isn’t much you can actually do in Populous.

Continue reading

Tagged , ,