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Prison Tycoon is a series of video games produced by ValuSoft, with the goal of building and administrating a penitentiary facility in the United States. It has thus far received four installments, all of which received poor to mediocre reviews by critics. However, the general quality of the games has steadily increased with each installment - relatively speaking, anyway; the fourth game in the series still received a reviewer score of 2.5 out of 10 on IGN. Another one is available on mobile devices and smartphones, costs about £1.28 and is actually pretty good (much better than the PC versions, that's for sure).

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Prison Architect is a similar, but far better game.

Games:

  • Prison Tycoon (2005)
  • Prison Tycoon 2: Maximum Security (2006)
  • Prison Tycoon 3: Lockdown (2007)
  • Prison Tycoon 4: Supermax (2008)
  • Prison Tycoon: Alcatraz (2010)
  • Prison Tycoon: Under New Management (Early Access in July 1 2021)


Tropes in these games:

  • The Alcatraz: This is a well-designed high security prison. There's even an island map in the fourth game.
  • Cardboard Prison: You start with a poorly designed minimum security prison.
  • Command & Conquer Economy: Justified, seeing as it's a prison facility.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Averted. Guards will rush toward any escape tunnels they find while under alert, even when off duty.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: Not quite, but it is advised that you pay extra attention to the cells/beds of gang bosses.
  • Real Is Brown: The Virtual Playground-era games are infamous for their drab and dark color palette. The most colorful things you'll see are the prisoner uniforms. Completely averted by Under New Management, which has far more varied colors.
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  • Shovelware: Both the developers and the publishers were infamous for developing this type of games.
  • Units Not to Scale: Nicely averted. The player is capable of going inside the buildings, where the individual inmates, staff and guards can walk about with everything to scale.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Go ahead, sic the guards on a prisoner and have them unceremoniously beat him even if he didn't do anything. As long as he gets to the doctors and gets treated it's alright.

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