Rollercoaster Tycoon was my jam when I was a kid. Generally speaking, I stuck more to console games than PC games before I was about 13, but, for a time, a laptop I had was my only gaming platform. I didn’t have many games for it but I did have Rollercoaster Tycoon.
In all my many hours playing that game, I don’t recall ever moving beyond one map. I never cared about completing the scenarios, I just wanted to create the coolest theme park I could dream up. So when the scenario would end, I’d just click to keep playing and that would be that.
I never got a chance to play the expansions, let alone the sequels, but doing this episode made me nostalgic for those games. Maybe it’s time to pick up Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 and give it a whirl?
4/21 – Rollercoaster Tycoon
Hello and welcome. My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.
Today’s game is the theme park management sim, Rollercoaster Tycoon. Developed by Chris Sawyer Productions, Rollercoaster Tycoon was released on PC in 1999.
When Chris Sawyer started work on a new game, he was planning on developing a sequel to his previous work, Transport Tycoon, but opted for a theme park simulation after he became a fan of roller coasters. Rollercoaster Tycoon puts players in charge of managing their own theme park on an isometric map. While roller coasters are certainly the highlight, with a number of options for pre-set or completely custom roller coasters, the game features a number of other theme park rides as well such as merry-go-rounds, ferris wheels, log flumes and much more.
Players must manage the business side of their park as well, including making sure the park has facilities and staff, as well as food and drink available for park guests. Staff have to be managed so that the park remains clean and inviting. Many aspects of the park can be personalized including names for everything, color schemes and individual prices for items. All of these things affect the rating of the park and the amount of money received from guests.
Rollercoaster Tycoon does not feature a sandbox mode but instead has a number of loosely guided scenarios for players to complete. The base game contains 21 different scenarios. Each of these put players in charge of a different park in a different landscape. Some of the scenarios have parts of the park already made while others make players start from scratch. Each scenario has a time limit but players can keep playing in a park after the time limit has passed, regardless of if they completed the scenario or not.
Rollercoaster Tycoon received high critical reviews with some naming it the strategy game of the year for 1999. It also sold very well, becoming the best selling PC game of 1999. Critics praised the simplicity of the controls as well as the level of micromanagement available. While some said that the level of customization could be daunting, others praised it saying that it gave each park it’s own feeling unique to the player who made it. .Some did criticise the game for not including time management options like in Sim City or other similar games. Thus, the game can not be sped up nor can players build while the game is paused. While the series has lost some of its luster in recent years, Rollercoaster Tycoon would go on to receive two expansion packs and two critically acclaimed sequels.
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