Monday, 12 June 2017


After all the events that's been happening in my little country known as the United Kingdom (in you're unaware there's been a lot of terrorism and politics), it sure would be nice to have a holiday. A quick look at my bank balance would suggest that Sunflower's 1996 management sim, Holiday Island, is my best bet at having one.

In Holiday Island you are given free-reign to build your very own place in the sun. The choice of location isn't particularly varied as each map has a distinct Mediterranean vibe. Each contains an archipelago of sun-drenched islands though if you don't want to follow the scenarios, you can randomly generate a map. You can still choose what the map will be like, whether it's an atoll or a single island. The land/sea ratio and the frequency of hills and rivers can also be programmed in. Then, once you being the game, you ruin the eco-system by building on it.

The creation of an island resort is rather standard for a business sim. There's a variety of hotels, attractions and infrastructures that need to be connected to a dock or airport by means of a road. Carefully balance eye-sore necessities with entertainment facilities all while balancing limited funds.

It's a fun take on the SimCity formula but it falls short by not really signposting how everything you do can affect your earnings. A hotel alone won't attract many, but even the inclusion of an impressive variety of attractions doesn't seem to either. Yet add a single deck chair and the masses come flocking (if indeed it really was that). Following the same tactic later on will wield a completely different result. This seeming lack of depth will forever see it falling short from the big names of the genre.

If there's one thing that separates this game, it's in the added mechanic of AI controlled rival resorts. These other companies will randomly start building on other islands, though it's not uncommon for them to compete on the same land mass. The way they play can be rather baffling. Their resort could have a power plant smack bang in the middle of a beach, and seemingly not be penalised for it, while a cluster of similar buldings to you will attract more people. Needless to say, the AI leaves a lot to be desired which makes the lack of an online multiplayer mode even more confounding.

Rather than the obvious capitalistic competition driving you to build the best of the best, the most fun way to reach the top is to sabotage your opponents. For a fee you can unleash piranhas into a competitor's pool, soap up an airport's runway to endanger landings or any number of dubious activities. This is by far the most fun aspect of the game, but it doesn't allow for much in the way of tactics. Also, if such an event happens to you there's no real means to aid in prevention or correction. It's very frustrating.

Holiday Island was a budget game admirably aiming for the big league, but it doesn't quite succeed despite some entertaining and fairly original mechanics. Like any low-cost Ibiza resort, it looks nice in pictures but offers very little when you spend time with it.

To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox running Microsoft Windows 3.1 to get the game working on modern systems. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 236 Mb.  Install Size: 390 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ


Holiday Island is © Sunflowers Interactive
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

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  1. Sorry to hear about what you guys are having to deal with across the pond. Rather disgusting business, all of it. Even here in the US, I try to limit my interaction with modern civilization in so far as I can afford to. Great collection of obscurities here, some of which I'd all but forgotten about since my childhood. Thanks for opening the vault.

    1. Thanks! I have hope it will all work out in the end. Maybe.

  2. Thanks for the game. One of my nostalgic games.

  3. i really really really thank you have keep this game and share out to us. This game is my first computer game when i am children.I just can remember the road and the grass and the car and some not full memories with the game ,i forget the game name because i am not good in English and i want to find this game more than 10 years ago.At the moment i feel very happy when i first play or when i find this with you .I very thank your helps.

  4. can u please tell me how to change the language to English? I cant read german

    1. This game is the English version. IIRC that was the only langage on the CD which I had to hunt down as it's rarer than the foreign versions.

  5. Biffman.

    I have have no words for how grateful I am at this moment. I played this game for several months non-stop with my friend when it came out when we were 9 years old. I still feel this warm and cosy feeling when I hear the soundtrack.

    You have made a man very... VERY happy. THANK YOU!


  6. Hi Sir, is it possible to post on how to play it thru DosBox? need help on that

    1. Being a Windows 3.1 game, this one is a little trickier than standard DOS.

      If you want to use your own copy, I say use my installer as a template and edit the DOSBox.conf in notepad and edit the text at the bottom. You can see that the 'mount' lines point to the CD ISO and Hard Drive folder relative to the program while the later lines point to the game (and autoclose program) with the emulated C drive (C:\ being the aforementioned Hard Drive folder.

      There are some front end and guides out there on the web for Windows 3.1 games, but I find editing the .conf file easier to understand and manipulate. Don't know if I'll ever do my own guide though.

    2. I am playing on windows 10 and i can not save the game. I tried several methods but no luck. Do you have any recommendations?

    3. Hello, I just tried and it works. Click on the Save icon, then 'Save' where you'll enter a name underneath then press enter. It seems to not like numbers or spaces though. Saved games are found in HDD/HOLIDAY/MAPS.