Posted Monday, April 1, 2019 10:13 AM | Contributed by Jeff
From the piece:
RollerCoaster Tycoon, released 20 years ago this past Sunday, became the greatest theme park of all for a generation of kids who found it easier to visit the Scholastic Book Fair than Walt Disney World. Like any truly great park, the game seemed to exist outside the normal boundaries of time. Its merry-go-rounds and swinging ships evoked the humble county fairs that had dotted the American landscape for decades, while its most epic attractions were based on modern designs by the elite roller-coaster manufacturers of Europe. The colorful 2D sprites were a step behind the graphically advanced titles of the era, but they’ve aged better than almost anything else released in 1999. RCT was more tethered to the real world than most games—managing marketing budgets and cleaning up vomit were billed as entertainment—but that only helped it create a more orderly, governable version of reality where it was easy to lose yourself for hours.
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Gonch thinks so. I don't care for it.
I remember playing this game for HOURS on end. On the Coasterbuzz RCT forums I still remember Gonchar and Dusa65 being the absolute OG's in designing rides and parks. I still play RCT3 actually. I use the game to bring my fantasies to life, not so much beating scenarios.
I have fond memories of RCT. In the early years of my marriage we were having difficulty having children. We turned to fertility treatments. I won't bore you with the details of that process but it can be very stressful on a marriage. My wife and I both dealt with that differently. I'm sure I could have turned to behavior that would have been bad for me or bad for the marriage but I instead threw myself into that game. Not the worst addiction in the world.
Happy to say the children did come but the presence of the game in my life back then was probably a good thing.
Actually, now that you mention it, RCT2 sandbox mode was definitely my go-to time waster when my first born (now 9) was an infant and needed some rocking in order to sleep (not "to get to sleep", but "to stay asleep"). I sat on a yoga ball and bounced for hours in the middle of the night, creating parks and coasters.
Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."
Sandbox was always a lot more fun than the scenarios, perhaps because I wanted to make realistic parks and the scenarios usually forced the player to do something unrealistic, like build a park on top of waterfalls in the middle of the rainforest. I usually had the most fun with things like Bumbly Beach, editing it so I could have more land, and then packing things in as tight as possible. That was the kind of challenge that resonated with me and kept me hooked, although I will admit that I rarely saw a park through to the very end. I'd usually get frustrated by some earlier decision that came back to bite me, and it was easier to start over and move in a different direction. Anyone else like that?
I am. I’m not a “gamer” and completing challenges wore thin with me really quickly. I wondered and yearned for a sandbox scenario where creativity was the main thing and silly stuff like money and attendance didn’t matter. One day my prayers were answered and those were the nights my eyelids turned to sandpaper and the light was beginning to crack the sky. Oh, and birds were up.
Yes, the sandbox mode on RCT2 was a dream come true. I never cared for the scenarios in the original game, and would typically just build different variations of Forest Frontiers and the desert scenario, as they were fairly simple and realistic.
In RCT2 I enjoyed messing around with the Six Flags scenarios from time to time, but I honestly don't think I ever completed a single scenario in RCT2.
By the time RCT2 was released, my interest in the game had waned a bit and I'd already had my fill of sandbox mode thanks to patches installed on the original game. I still played, but not nearly as much as I did the original and the expansions.
I think I've bought it at least three times. The second was because there was a CD version with all 1/2 games with expansions for $10. There time was on Android, which was too awkward to really use. You can get it on Steam right now and it works on Mac, which is tempting.
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