RollerCoaster Tycoon is a construction and management simulation game and the first installment in the RollerCoaster Tycoon franchise, and gives the player control of an amusement park. Initially planned to be a sequel to the popular Transport Tycoon, game creator Chris Sawyer created RollerCoaster Tycoon after taking up in an interest in roller coasters. The game became an instant hit, with fans, critics, and theme park enthusiasts alike praising it for its originality and ability to accurately simulate theme park management and roller coaster design.
In the game players are challenged with a series of scenarios, each with a unique park to control and objective to meet. Players must build rides and attractions to grow their park while keeping their guests happy and interested and their budget balanced. The parks vary in size, climate, and building options, and some come with prebuilt attractions, while others are completely empty. With the exception of the final scenario, players must achieve a goal, usually a specific number of guests or park value, by a predetermined in-game date. The first five scenarios are available to the player immediately, and every time a scenario is completed another is unlocked. Scenarios generally increase in difficulty as the player advances. No sandbox mode is included, although such a mode is added to later games in the series.
|Forest Frontiers||250 guests, 600 park rating by October 31, Year 1|
Deep in the forest, built a thriving theme park in a large cleared area.
|650 guests, 600 park rating by October 31, Year 3||Built in the middle of the desert, this theme park contains just one roller coaster but has space for expansion.|
|Leafy Lake||500 guests, 600 park rating by October 31, Year 3||Starting from scratch, build a theme park around a large lake.|
|Diamond Heights||$20,000 park value by October 31, Year 3||Diamond Heights is already a successful theme park with great rides - develop it to double its value.|
|Evergreen Gardens||1000 guests, 600 park rating by October 31, Year 4||Convert the beautiful Evergreen Gardens into a thriving theme park.|
|Bumbly Beach||750 guests, 600 park rating by October, Year 2||Develop Bumbly Beach's small amusement park into a thriving theme park.|
|Trinity Islands||750 guests, 600 park rating by October, Year 3||Several islands form the basis for this new park.|
|Katie's World||$15,000 park value by October, Year 3||A small theme park with few rides and room for expansion - your aim is to double the park value.|
|Dinky Park||$10,000 park value by October, Year 2||A small, cramped amusement park which requires major expansion.|
|Aqua Park||900 guests, 600 park rating by October, Year 3||A park with some excellent water-based rides requires expansion.|
|Millennium Mines||800 guests, 600 park rating by October, Year 3||Convert a large abandoned mine from a tourist attraction into a theme park.|
|Karts & Coasters||1000 guests, 600 park rating by October, Year 3||A large park hidden in the forest with only go-kart tracks and wooden coasters.|
|Mel's World||1200 guests, 600 park rating by October, Year 3||This theme park has some well designed modern rides, but plenty of space for expansion.|
|Mothball Mountain||800 guests, 600 park rating by October, Year 3||In the hilly forests of Mothball Mountain, build a theme park from scratch.|
|Pacific Pyramids||1000 guests, 600 park rating by October, Year 4||Convert the Egyptian Ruins tourist attaction into a thriving theme park.|
|1200 guests, 600 park rating by October, Year 4||A large park with well-designed but rather old rides - replace the old rides or add new rides to make the park more popular.|
|Big Pier||600 guests, 600 park rating by October, Year 2||Convert this sleep town's pier into a thriving attraction.|
|Crumbly Woods||900 guests, 600 park rating by October, Year 3||The beautiful mountains of Lightning Peaks are popular with walkers and sighseers - use the available land to attract a new thrill-seeking clientele.|
|Ivory Towers||1000 guests, 600 park rating by October, Year 3||A well-established park, which has a few problems.|
|Rainbow Valley||1000 guests, 600 park rating by October, Year 4||Rainbow Valley's local authority won't allow any landscape changes or large tree removal, but you must develop the area into a large theme park.|
|Thunder Rock||900 guests, 600 park rating by October, Year 4||Thunder Rock stands in the middle of a desert and attracts many tourists - use the available space to build rides to attract more people.|
|Mega Park||Have fun!||Just for fun! Everything is unlocked and there is no objective, however you still have a budget. The closest the game has to a true sandbox mode.|
The most important aspect of creating a successful park is the attractions. Choosing from an assortment of rides of varying levels of intensity and excitement players must ensure that their park meets the desires of all guests. Maintaining a balance of gentle and extreme rides is essential to maximizing guest satisfaction. Each ride has three ratings tied to it:
- Excitement Rating - How exciting a ride is, and how likely guests are to ride it. This is not only determined by the design of the ride, but also the scenery and landscaping around the ride.
- Intensity Rating - How intense or scary a ride is. This will affect how likely guests are to ride, depending on their ride intensity preferences. It is determined by the physical aspects of the ride, such as G-force and average speed.
- Nausea Rating - How nauseating a ride is. The higher this is, the more easily guests will get sick on it.
In addition to the ratings rides also have data associated with them, such as popularity, reliability, and run costs. It is important to take note of each ride's stats, as a ride that brakes down too often or is not popular enough may not be worth running, or might need to be replaced as it ages.
Rides can be colored to the players' desire, and some rides have customization options such as rotation speed or number of trains on the track, some of which might affect the ride's ratings.
In addition to rides, shops and stalls are the other key attractions for a park. Guests require food and drink stalls to stay full and hydrated, and bathroom stalls for when nature calls. A lack of any of these will decrease guest happiness drastically. Among other things, other kiosks are available to sell park maps and umbrellas, which not only provide guests with essentials to their time in the park, but also can become good revenue creators.
Roller coasters and other tracked rides can be custom-designed using the track designer (though there is also a selection of pre-designed tracks to choose to build from). The designer lets player lay out track pieces individually so that they can create their very own unique coasters and rides. It allows players to choose the direction, slope, bank, and height of each piece, as well as offering the player a variety of other roller coaster elements, such as vertical loops, corkscrews, and helices. Each ride has different options depending on their capabilities. Once a ride is completed, the player can test it to ensure it runs properly and it will be given its ratings, allowing the player to modify it to improve them or open it up for business.
Keeping current guests satisfied and attracting new guests is one of the player's ultimate goals as a park manager. Guests are identified with numbers, such as Guest 1111, though there is an option to have them named with randomly generated human names. Each guest is unique and has different desires when they enter the park. Some enjoy extreme rides, others do not. They also have varying levels of nausea tolerance, so some are far more likely to vomit than others. All also guests have five dynamic traits that will change throughout their time in the park:
- Happiness - The more unhappy they are, the more likely they are to leave. Extremely unhappy guests are likely to vandalize the park by destroying benches, trash cans, and lamps.
- Energy - Tired guests are more likely to become unhappy, and look for more exciting rides to help keep them energized.
- Hunger - The hungrier they get, the more unhappy they become. It is important to have an abundance of food stalls placed around the park.
- Thirst - Similarly to hunger, the thirstier they get, the more unhappy they become. It is important to have an abundance of drink stalls placed around the park.
- Bathroom - It is vital to have plenty of bathrooms around the park for guests to relieve themselves, as well as to allow sick guests to have a place to vomit so they don't do it on the pathways. A shortage of bathrooms will lead to very unhappy guests.
Players can click on individual guests to see their current thoughts and current mood. Guests will often give good or bad feedback depending on where they are in the park and how they feel about it. It is important to listen to this feedback and make necessary changes depending on how many guests make certain complaints. The player has the option to also rename guests and pick them up and place them anywhere within the park. Players can view all the guest thoughts and actions at once in the park guests window.
Easter Egg Names
Changing a guest's name to any of the following will have these effects:
- Andy Hine - Compares all roller coasters to "the Phoenix"
- Chris Sawyer - Takes pictures of the park
- Damon Hill - Rides Go Karts really, really fast
- John Wardley - Gets impressed with the park really easily
- Katie Brayshaw - Waves at other guests
- Melanie Warn - Becomes extremely happy
- Michael Schumacher - Rides Go Karts really fast
- Mr Bean - Rides Go Karts really, really slow
- Simon Foster - Paints pictures
As part of the player's duties as manager they must hire several kinds of staff members in order to keep their park running smoothly and cleanly:
- Handymen - Keep the park clean and tidy. They can clean paths, empty garbage bins, water gardens, and mow overgrown grass. Players can choose for each handymen to perform only certain tasks. Their default uniform color is red.
- Mechanics - Ensure the rides in the park continue to operate safely and without error. They can inspect rides at a player-set interval, and are called to fix rides when they brake down. If rides are not inspected regularly they run a greater risk of braking down or even crashing. Their default uniform color is blue.
- Security Guards - Help stop angry guests from vandalizing the park. Their default uniform color is yellow.
- Entertainers - Keep guests entertained along pathways and while waiting in queues. Their default costume is a panda.
Each kind of staff type can wear a uniform color (or, for entertainers, a different kind of costume) of the player's choice, and each individual staff member can be told to patrol certain areas of the park as designated by the player.
The player has several tools at their disposal to alter the landscape of their park, whether it be raising the height to create hills, adding water, changing its terrain, or removing/adding trees and other scenery. Sometimes this is necessary in order to make room to build more rides, or to simply make the land more eye-catching.
Some parks also allow expansion by giving the player the ability to buy more land or construction rights over property not owned by them.
Guests' main way of travel around the park will be with paths. Using an array of different path types, it is the player's job as the manager to create a path system around their park that is easy for guests to navigate and has access to all areas and attractions of the park. Like rides, paths can be elevated above and tunneled below ground. Each ride must have a path attached to its exit and a special path called a queue attached to its entrance. Guests line up in a queue to wait for a ride. If a queue is too long, guests will get tired of waiting in line, while if it's too short it will be too difficult for guests to get in line before it gets full.
Everything the player does while managing their park will cost money, so a profitable budget must be maintained. There are two different kinds of parks: pay to enter and pay to ride. Pay to enter parks have a one-time entrance free that guests pay as they enter the park, and all rides are free. Pay to ride parks have no entrance free, and instead guests must pay for each individual ride. All fees are player controlled and should be change throughout the park's history as the park grows and costs more to run. Food, drinks, and souvenirs are also important revenue generators.
When budgeting, players should take into account the costs of running each ride and stall in their park, the cost of their staff, how much money they will need for future expansions, and so on. If the player desires, they can take out a loan to meet their immediate financial needs and pay it off later. The player can also choose to invest in researching new rides or stalls to add even further variety to their options when designing their park, as not all attractions are always available to players in the scenarios (with the exception of Mega Park). It is possible to fall into debt, so it is important to maintain a steady income and ensure new guests are attracted to the park.
Gentle rides are vital to providing non-thrill seeking guests their entertainment.
|Bumper Cars||Metal floor and overhead mesh provide power for the bumper cars.|
|Car Ride||Track is made from wooden planking, with a central guide rail. Cars are powered and follow the guide rail along the track.|
|Ferris Wheel||Large wheel with 16 self-righting chairs.|
|Haunted House||Large themed building containing scary corridors and spooky rooms.|
|Hedge Maze||The maze is constructed from six foot tall hedges. Guests wander around the maze and can only leave when they find the exit.|
|Merry-Go-Round||Circular carousel with horses and a fairground organ mounted in the center.|
|Observation Tower||The tower is a cylindrical steel structure. The observation car is hauled up by cables running to the top of the tower.|
|Space Rings||Each space ring conists of concentric steel rings piovted to allow free rotation in all direction. The ride holds four people at a time.|
|Spiral Slide||Wooden structure with an internal staircase and an external spiral slide for use with slide mats.|
Possibly the most important rides, roller coasters provide a varying degree of intensities and thrills.
|Bobsled Roller Coaster||Track is a semi-circular channel, supported by tubular steel posts. Cars run on small wheels, and are free to take their own course along the track, guided only by the curvature and gradient of the channel.|
|Inverted Roller Coaster||Track has a square-section steel spine, connected to the inside edges of tubular steel running rails. Supports are large square-section steel posts. Trains hang underneath the track, held in position by wheels above, below, and outside the running rails.|
|Mine Train Roller Coaster||Track consists of tubular steel running rails, fastened to a wooden support structure. Trains are held on the track by wheels above, below, and inside the running rails.|
|Reverse Whoa Belly Roller Coaster||Car runs on steel girder tracks. The car is accelerated out of the station, along level track using Linear Induction Motors. It then coasts up the vertical section of track, and free-falls backwards down the track to return to the station.|
|Single-Rail Roller Coaster||Track consists of two tubular steel rails, one above the other, connected by bracing. Supports are thin tubular steel posts. Cars are held on the track by wheels above, below, and either side of the rails.|
|Stand-Up Roller Coaster||Track has a tubular steel spine, connected to the inside edges of tubular steel running rails. Supports are large tubular steels posts. Trains are held on the track by wheels above, below, and outside the running rails.|
|Steel Corkscrew Roller Coaster||Track has a tubular steel spine, connected to the outside edges of tubular steel running rails. Supports are large tubular steel posts. Trains are held on the track by wheels above, below, and inside the running rails.|
|Steel Mini Roller Coaster||Track has steel running rails with cross-bracing. Supports are made of square section posts. Trains are held on thr track by wheels above, below, and outside the running rails.|
|Steel Roller Coaster||Track has a tubular steel spine, connected to the inside edges of tubular steel running rails. Supports are large tubular steel posts. Trains are held on the track by wheels above, below, and outside the running rails.|
|Suspended Roller Coaster||Track has a tubular steel spine, connected to the inside edges of tubular steel running rails. Supports are large tubular steel posts. Trains hang underneath the track, swinging freely from a chassis held on by wheels above, below, and outside the running rails.|
|Suspended Single-Rail Roller Coaster||Track is a single tubular steel rail, supported by tubular steel posts. Cars hang from the rail, swinging freely form side to side.|
|Vertical Roller Coaster||Track has a sqaure-section steel spine, connected to the inside edges of tubular steel runnings rails. Supports are large square-section steel posts. Trains are held on the track by wheels above, below, and outside the running rails.|
|Wooden Crazy Rodent Roller Coaster||Track is laminated wood topped with a flat steel running rail, constructed on a wooden support structure. Cars are held on the track by mushroom shaped pegs running between steel guide rails in the center of the track, allowing the cars to tilt over on corners.|
|Wooden Roller Coaster||Track is laminated wood, topped with a flat steel running rail, constructed on a wooden support structure. Trains are held on the track by up-stop wheels, which run under the inside edge of the rails.|
Less intense than roller coasters, thrill rides offer a good median between gentle and more extreme rides.
|3D Cinema||Cinema is located inside a geodesic sphere.|
|Go Karts||Tarmac with barriers on either side.|
|Graviton||Passengers ride in a gondola suspended by lrage rotating arms rotating forwards and backwards, head-over-heels. Note: Known as Top Spin in the European versions.|
|Simulator pod mounted on a hydraulic arm.|
|Scrambled Eggs||Three pairs of seats rotate at the end of three rotating arms.|
|Swinging Inverter Ship||Large ship attached to an arm with a counterweight at the opposite end. Swings through a complete 360 degree circle.|
|Swinging Ship||Large ship suspended from steel supports.|
|Whoa Belly||The tower is constructed from steel girders and contains large pneumatic cylinders to launch the car upwards. Note: Known as Launched Freefall in the European versions.|
The main purpose of transport rides is to help guests travel to different areas of the park without having to walk.
|Chairlift||Cars hang from a steel cable which runs continuously from one end of the chairlift to the other end and around large turnaround wheels at each end.|
|Miniature Railroad||Narrow-gauge railroad track, with miniature passenger trains.|
|Monorail||Track is a box-section steel rail supported on a square-section steel posts. Trains are powered, and run along the top of the rail with additional wheels on either side for stability.|
Perfect for hotter climates, water rides provide a variety of thrills for everyone.
|Boat Hire||Boat dock consists of wooden platforms built on a lake. Guide tracks can be built to limit where passenngers steer the boats.|
|Log Flume||Water flume track supported by box-section steel supports. Boats are propelled up slopes on rollers, and they are then free to travel along the water channel at their own pace.|
|River Rapids||Concrete water channel. Boats are free to take their own course along the channel.|
|Water Slide||Track is a semi-circular plastic channel with a small amount of water running along it. Boats slide along the track, assisted by the flow of water.|
Guests must be provided with necessities such as food and drink if they are to stay satisfied.
|Balloon Stall||Sells balloons that guests can carry around the park.|
|Bathroom||Lets guests relieve themselves when nature calls.|
|Burger Bar||Sells hamburgers.|
|Cotton Candy Stall||Sells cotton candy.|
|Drink Stall||Sells drinks.|
|Fries Stall||Sells french fries. Note: Known as Chip Shop in the European versions.|
|Ice Cream Stall||Sells ice cream.|
|Information Kiosk||Sells park maps to help guests find their way around the park and umbrellas to keep them dry when it rains.|
|Pizza Stall||Sells pizza slices.|
|Popcorn Stall||Sells popcorn.|
|Souvenir Stall||Sells stuffed animals and umbrellas.|
Adding scenery throughout the park is another way to increase its park rating and let guests enjoy their visit even more. A variety of scenery is available under several different categories and themes that allows players to have complete control of their parks' decor.
|Gardens||Lush flowers and other shrubs.|
|Path Items||Lamps, benches, trash cans, and jumping fountains. Lamps and jumping fountains are for decorating paths. Benches give guests places to rest if they are tired or nauseous, and trash cans give guests places to throw away their garbage.|
|Shrubs and Bushes||Smaller pieces of flora.|
|Statues and Fountains||Lovely pieces of marble and stone decoration.|
|Trees||A large variety of unique trees from many different environments.|
|Tropical and Desert Trees||Trees from tropical and desert environments.|
|Walls and Fences||Allow players to place fencing and walls around certain areas for decoration.|
|Classical/Roman Theming||Roman-themed decor.|
|Egyptian Theming||Egyptian-themed decor.|
|Martian Theming||Alien-themed decor.|
|Mine Theming||Mine-themed decor.|
|Wonderland Theming||Fantasy wonderland-themed decor.|
- Referring to the language the game was programmed under, Chris Sawyer mentions on his personal website that the game is "99% written in x86 assembler/machine code (yes, really!), with a small amount of C code used to interface to MS Windows and DirectX."
- The game was referred to as "White Knuckle" throughout most of the game's development. The name was most likely changed for marketing purposes and because there was already "Tycoon" titles on the market and, as a result, be easily recognized.
- Pentium 90 MHz
- Windows 95/98
- 16 MB RAM
- 50 MB hard drive space
- 4x CD-ROM drive
- 1 MB SVGA video card
- Windows 95/98 compatible sound card
- DirectX 5.0 (included)
- Pentium 200
- Windows 95/98
- 32 MB RAM
- 180 MB hard drive space
- 8x CD-ROM drive
- 4 MB SVGA video card
- Windows 95/98 compatible sound card
- DirectX 5.0 (included)
Expansions and Compilations
RollerCoaster Tycoon's first expansion pack, Corkscrew Follies (known as Added Attractions in Europe), added new roller coaster types and scenery (including the well-known banner sign) on top of the already large selection of the original game.
Loopy Landscapes includes the preceding expansion and adds even more rides and scenery, as well as new food/shop stalls, parks, and a whole new list of scenarios. 30 new scenarios were packed into this expansion, as well an abundance of new building options, which garnered this expansion much higher praise than Corkscrew Follies.
RollerCoaster Tycoon: Gold
This compilation includes the original game and both the Corkscrew Follies and Loopy Landscapes expansions.
RollerCoaster Tycoon: Deluxe
This compilation is the same as the Gold compilation, but with more pre-made designs of customizable track rides.