Ultimate Zookeeper Challenge Is Not Monkey Business To Five National Contenders

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 5, 2002 — Five national “Zoo Tycoon (TM) ” Ultimate Zookeeper finalists will soon put their skills to the test to discover who is America’s ultimate zookeeper.
“Zoo Tycoon,”
a top-selling* PC game from Microsoft Corp., began the search for America’s pre-eminent keeper in September, and finalists were selected by popular vote at http://www.zootycoon.com/ . Composed of a series of challenges, the final event will be held at the Fort Worth Zoo on Nov. 21, where Microsoft will make a $20,000 donation toward animal care to the winner’s home zoo. Along with the prestigious title, the victorious keeper also will appear as a downloadable character in the family-friendly
“Zoo Tycoon”

“The ‘Zoo Tycoon’ Ultimate Zookeeper challenge celebrates zookeepers’ incredible dedication to their animals, their zoos and the patrons themselves,”
said Chuck Frizelle, product manager at Microsoft.
“Just like in the ‘Zoo Tycoon’ game, zookeepers play an integral role in guest and animal happiness, and we want to honor real people who dedicate their lives to this.”

In the final event, competitors will give a short presentation on their approach to animal care and conservation; try to build the ultimate zoo with the
“Zoo Tycoon”
PC game; test their zoo trivia before a live audience; and complete a zoo-themed obstacle course. A panel of judges will determine who claims the prestigious title.

All competitors were nominated by zoo colleagues and selected as semifinalists through an application process. Beginning Sept. 19, animal fans everywhere stampeded to http://www.zootycoon.com/ to discover the special talents of the 12 semifinalists and cast a vote for their favorite keeper. Online votes from across the nation poured in to determine the finalist keepers. The five who garnered the most votes are Jason Barr of the Fort Worth Zoo, Valerie Beardsley of the Dallas Zoo, Phil Colclough of the Knoxville Zoological Gardens, Jonathan Gilmour of Zoo New England and Matt Thompson of the Memphis Zoo.


Zoo Tycoon

Simple to play yet challenging to master, Microsoft® “Zoo Tycoon”
offers engaging gameplay for animal lovers and simulation game fans of all ages. A top-selling* PC game title by units for the past four quarters since its release in October 2001, the captivating imagery, clever gameplay and interactive tutorials make it easy to play right out of the box. Developed by Blue Fang Games LLC,
“Zoo Tycoon”
has something for everyone, stimulating creativity and imagination as players respond to the needs of the animals and guests. Now players can add prehistoric beasts and aquatic creatures with
“Zoo Tycoon: Dinosaur Digs”
and the newly released
“Zoo Tycoon: Marine Mania (TM),”
two expansion packs for the original game. Imaginations run wild as players combine land, aquatic and prehistoric animals in a quest to build and manage the ultimate zoo. Additional information is available at http://www.zootycoon.com/ .

About Blue Fang Games

Blue Fang Games LLC is a computer game development company located outside Boston. The company was founded by Adam Levesque and John Wheeler, two former Papyrus Racing veterans who led the development of the best-selling and critically acclaimed NASCAR Racing series. Formed in July 1998, Blue Fang developed the best-selling PC game
“Zoo Tycoon,”
as well as the
“Zoo Tycoon: Dinosaur Digs”
“Zoo Tycoon: Marine Mania”
expansion packs. Blue Fang Games is located on the Internet at http://www.bluefang.com/ .

About Microsoft Game Studios

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the PC, Xbox (TM) video game system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse game portfolios for the PC ( http://www.microsoft.com/games/ ), including such franchises as
“Age of Empires® ,” “Flight Simulator”
“Zoo Tycoon”
; Xbox ( http://www.xbox.com/ ), including such franchises as
“Halo(TM),” “Project Gotham Racing(TM)”
“NFL Fever”
; and Zone.com ( http://www.zone.com/ ), the official games channel for the MSN®
network and home to such hits as

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

* NPDTechworldSM, October 2001–September 2002. Based on total U.S. retail sales.

Microsoft, Zoo Tycoon, Marine Mania, Xbox, Age of Empires, Halo, Project Gotham Racing, MSN and OutSmart are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.asp .

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