$75 Lift Ticket? Why Not?

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ski resort tycoon

Any video game that starts with your grabbing a chainsaw has got to be fun. In Activision's Ski Resort Tycoon (PC, $20), you're the manager of a new ski resort, and your job is to create the right mix of on-mountain features and base-village amenities to let the business flourish. After cutting down trees to make room for a base area and chairlifts, you can create bump runs, add gondolas, and build fancy restaurants, slopeside condos, and swank hotels, all while monitoring resort income, weather reports, and guest-participation summaries.

Aside from a lack of picketing environmentalists, the game is amusingly realistic. You have to cope with injured skiers, broken-down chairlifts, and dwindling snow. It also occasionally wanders into the realm of fantasy: What do you do when Sasquatch starts abducting your guests?