The Games of Summer: Amusement parks gone bad

For this week's Games of Summer, I've decided to go off the deep end a little bit and recommend games that feature amusement parks.  But don't be fooled – these aren't exactly parks that are known for their safety standards. In fact, each of the parks has a sense of danger – some cartoonish, others outright brutal – and they might have you thinking twice about visiting your local carnival again. Regardless, if you can find these games, you're bound to have a good time with them.

Just try not to eat the cotton candy, okay?

Mr. Do!'s Wild Ride (Arcade)

Amuse

This sequel to the popular Universal release Mr. Do! first came out in 1984, following Mr. Do!'s Castle. In it, you'll have to guide the heroic clown through a series of tracks littered with amusement park rides that could skoosh him flat. These include roller coaster cars, a swaying pirate ship (we always knew those things were evil!), and large bowling balls. It looks like a fun place, but just ask Mr. Do! – not even seatbelts are likely to save you.

Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 (PC)

Sure, at first, building your own theme park in the Rollercoaster Tycoon games is a great idea. However, there are a few sinister minds out there – you know who you are – who just want to watch the world burn. For those people, one of the greatest plots was building a theme park where there are multiple eateries, yet no restrooms. And in the midst of getting a large crowd into the park, you block the exits. Yeah, talk about chaos. If you want to make it worse, you can introduce wild animals like lions and tigers into the mix, then tweak the rides so they're at their fastest performance level ever. It's like a horror story just waiting to happen.

CarnEvil (Arcade)

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Before Midway folded up shop in 2009, it was known for its popular arcade releases. Among them was the 1999 shooter CarnEvil, a shooter where you work your way through a sadistic carnival, taking on demons of all shapes and sizes as you try to stop the villainous Tokkentakker, a man who thrives on human souls. This game has bloodshed aplenty, along with situations that'll have you thinking twice about getting on a roller coaster again. Where was the safety inspector for this place? Oh, that's right, he's dead.

Carnival (Arcade)

Not to be confused with CarnEvil, Sega's 1980 arcade classic is a fun little shoot-em-up where you hit targets in a moving shooting gallery for the highest score possible. However, in the middle of a shooting round, you're introduced to an unspeakable terror – ducks. Oh, these aren't any ordinary ducks, though. If you don't shoot them before they get to the bottom of the screen, THEY EAT YOUR BULLETS. What kind of sadistic water fowl would dare snack away on your shells? If this happened in a real carnival game, you'd be demanding your money back… you know, if you weren't running in terror from the bullet-filled ducks.

Marvel Land (Sega Genesis)

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Finally, we come to Namco's entertaining 1989 platformer, which features the story of a wonderful date gone bad thanks to a Mole King who couldn't keep to himself. In the game, you control Talmit, a prince whose get-together with the lovely Princess Luxy is ruined by the wretched King, who happens to own an amusement park nearby. You'll have to travel through dangerous parts of the park to get her back, while rescuing her allies and flying through giant bullseyes with the help of some Dragon Wings. While this is an enjoyable classic, you have to wonder what kind of theme park has killer plants. Seriously.

See you next time on Games of Summer! I promise the next edition will be less scary. Heh.

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Robert Workman
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