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Logo from the first game.
|Genre(s)||Construction and management simulation|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, Xbox, macOS, iOS, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch|
|First release||RollerCoaster Tycoon|
|Latest release||RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures|
RollerCoaster Tycoon is a series of simulation video games about building and managing an amusement park. Each game in the series challenges players with open-ended amusement park management and development, and allowing players to construct and customize their own unique roller coasters and other thrill rides.
The first game was created by Scottish programmer Chris Sawyer, with assistance from various leading figures from the real-world roller coaster and theme park industry. The rest of the series contains three other main games, expansion packs, a number of ports, and a mobile installment. A refresh of the series, RollerCoaster Tycoon World, was released in November 2016, and followed up by RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures for Switch in 2018 and PC in 2019.
RollerCoaster Tycoon was released for Microsoft Windows on 22 March 1999. RollerCoaster Tycoon was later ported to the Xbox game console in 2003. The game was developed by Chris Sawyer and published by Hasbro Interactive.
RollerCoaster Tycoon received two expansion packs: Added Attractions (released in North America as Corkscrew Follies) in 1999, and Loopy Landscapes in 2000. Two special editions were released: RollerCoaster Tycoon Gold/Totally RollerCoaster in 2002, which contained the original game, Corkscrew Follies, and Loopy Landscapes; and RollerCoaster Tycoon Deluxe in 2003, which contained the content in Gold plus more designs for the different customizable rides. The game was released on Xbox on 23 March 2003.
RollerCoaster Tycoon 2
RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 has two official expansion packs: Wacky Worlds and Time Twister, both released in 2003. The Combo Park Pack edition contains the original game and the Wacky Worlds expansion. The Triple Thrill Pack contains the original game and both expansions.
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 was released on 26 October 2004 in North America. Although the core features of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 are based on the previous games, Chris Sawyer, the developer of the first two games, acted only as a consultant. The game was developed by Frontier Developments instead, and published and advertised by Atari featuring a completely different structure.
Two expansion packs for RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 were released - Soaked! and Wild!. A bundle, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Gold, was also released, including the original game and the Soaked! expansion pack; this was followed by RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Platinum (Deluxe for the EU version of the game), including both expansion packs and the original game. RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Platinum was released for Windows and Mac OS X.
RollerCoaster Tycoon World
RollerCoaster Tycoon World was developed by Nvizzio Creations for Atari and released on 16 November 2016. The installment is different from previous games in that players build coasters with a spline-based system. It also introduced a new "Architect mode" and "safety-rating" options when building coasters. The game is also the first to incorporate the Steam Workshop.
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3D
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3D was released on 16 October 2012. It was developed by n-Space for the Nintendo 3DS. While using many assets and engine content from Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, this game reverted to an isometric view and removed features such as adding scenery and pools due to the limitations of the Nintendo 3DS.
RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile
RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile was released on 10 April 2014. The game was initially available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. The game was later released for Android devices (OS 4.0.3 and higher) on 18 October 2014. The game was developed by On5 Games without Chris Sawyer's input (other than licensing). The game returns to the isometric view used in the first two games. The game is built on the freemium model with social media integration.
This installment was universally panned and was criticized due to Chris Sawyer's absence in the making of the game, the heavy use of microtransactions and wait times, which fans state "has ruined the [RollerCoaster Tycoon] experience."
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Mobile
Released in August 2015, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Mobile is an iOS version of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, released by Frontier and is almost an exact clone of the original game (tutorial mode, original 18 scenarios for career, and a sandbox).
RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic
On 22 December 2016 a modified port of both RollerCoaster Tycoon and RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 was released for iOS and Android, featuring a single price point for the majority of content and in-app purchase for Expansion Pack content (primarily the two expansion packs from RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, and an editor pack that allows users to create custom scenario and import and export these to the Windows version of Roller Coaster Tycoon 2, and replicating the majority of the gameplay from the original games in the series.
RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch
First released for iOS devices in December 2016, RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch is a free-to-play mobile port of RollerCoaster Tycoon World. Like RollerCoaster Tycoon 4, it contains in-app purchases and wait times, but expands upon the social media integration. An Android version was released in April 2017. In October 2017, items based on the Barbie doll brand were added to the game.
RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures
In January 2018, Atari Game Partners announced it was seeking equity crowdfunding via the StartEngine platform in order to develop a new game in the series. Titled RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures, it is an adaption of RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch and was released for the Nintendo Switch in Europe on November 29, 2018, and in North America on December 13. The game was also released on Microsoft Windows via the Epic Games Store on March 19, 2019.
RollerCoaster Tycoon Story
Atari released RollerCoaster Tycoon Story in January 2020 for iOS and Android mobile devices. The free-to-play title is based on the tile-matching genre, in which the tiles to match move each turn on rollercoaster tracks within each level. Completing levels helps the player to restore a run-down theme park as part of the game's narrative.
The player is given control over an amusement park and is tasked with reaching particular goals, such as improving the park's value, attracting more guests, or maintaining the park rating. Some scenarios in the game provide an empty plot of land and allow the player to build a park from scratch, while others provide a ready-built park which usually suffers from deterioration, bad planning, or underdevelopment. The player must wisely invest the limited amount of money provided.
Most scenarios require that the goals be achieved by a specific in-game date, or else the scenario is not 'complete'. Completion of scenarios is a prerequisite for unlocking further scenarios in the first RollerCoaster Tycoon game. In RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, all the scenarios are available for play and the player can complete them in any order they choose.
The player is responsible for building out the park such as modifying terrain, constructing footpaths, adding decorative elements, installing food/drink stalls and other facilities, and building rides and attractions. Many of the rides that can be built are roller coasters or variations on that, such as log flumes, water slides and go-kart tracks. The player can build these out with hills, drops, curves, and other 'special' track pieces (such as loops, corkscrews and helixes), limited only by cost and the geography of the park and other nearby attractions. There are also stationary rides, such as Ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds, and bumper cars, most of which only contain single ride 'piece' and are very limited in terms of variation. Rides are ranked on scales of excitement, intensity, and nausea, all which influence which park guests will ride those attractions and how they will behave afterward. The player can set the prices for park admission rides and guest amenities, although care must be taken so that guests will not think prices are too high. The player is also responsible for hiring park staff to maintain the rides, keep the park clean, enforce security, and entertain guests. Players may also invest in 'research', which unlocks new rides and improvements as time goes on, though it costs money to continue research. Research in a particular category is disabled when all attractions in that category are researched.
The guests, who are integral to the gameplay, are treated as separate entities which can each have particular characteristics and be tracked by the player around the park. The game keeps track of how much money they have, what they are carrying, their thoughts, and what their current needs are (thirst, hunger, etc.). Each guest also has some unique features such as their preferred ride intensity, and their nausea tolerance. Some scenarios are even biased towards a specific guest demographic and require the player to take this into account in designing the park. In RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, the player can create their own guest groups to visit their parks.
Sequels have continually upgraded the number of rides and amount of customization available to the player.
Planet Coaster, a spiritual successor to RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, was developed and published by Frontier Developments for Microsoft Windows and was released worldwide on 17 November 2016. Frontier Developments had previously worked in the amusement park construction and management genre with the Xbox port of RollerCoaster Tycoon, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, Thrillville, Thrillville: Off the Rails, and Zoo Tycoon.
The RollerCoaster Tycoon series spawned a popular Internet meme based on a series of posts made in 2012 on 4chan featuring a slow, ghost train track ride called "Mr. Bones' Wild Ride" that took four in-game years to complete, leading the passengers in the game express "I want to get off Mr. Bones Wild Ride". At the ride's conclusion, the passengers were then greeted by a skeleton prop with a top hat, with a sign stating "The ride never ends". Both phases have become popular memes.
The franchise has also spawned a board game and a pinball machine by Stern, both released in 2002, and a series of gamebooks released in 2002 and 2003. In 2010, it was reported that Sony Pictures Animation had acquired the rights to develop a film adaptation of the series.
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The world of games moved on and I didn't.
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