RollerCoaster Tycoon is a construction and management simulation video game about amusement park management. Originally developed for Windows in 1999 by Chris Sawyer, it has since spawned many sequels and has been ported to Xbox and mobile devices.
The objective of the game is to build a wildly successful amusement park and fulfill the objective criteria for the scenario. There are many scenarios available, ranging in their difficulty. Some users may choose to opt for a free play mode instead, not having any set objective criteria and having the game go on infinitely.
The game can be played in two modes, in one mode a set criteria must be met by the end of a certain period. This mode has multiple scenarios to choose from at different levels. You must chose whether you want to charge the visitors per time they go on a ride or charge a fee to enter the park. Money is collected from this, and the money is used to build rides and to hire workers to help keep the park clean. If the park gets too dirty, the number of guests in your park will decrease, and the park visitor will give the park a bad park rating, meaning that fewer visitors are likely to come. Loans can be taken out from the bank, up to 25,000 dollars. Interest is charged on this money, the rate varying based on the difficulty level of the current scenario. Most scenarios start you with a 10,000 dollar loan, which you must pay back to the bank as soon as possible or you will be continued to be charged interest.
Advertising campaigns can be set up to try to entice visitors into coming to the park. They all cost different amounts of money. They run for a predefined number of weeks, and the player is charged per week that the ad campaign is run. A minimum of two weeks and a maximum of six weeks per campaign is put in place. You can choose whether you want to advertise for the entire park or a specific ride. Alternatively, you can opt to give the visitors free admission to a specific ride or to the whole park. Vouchers for free food and drinks can also be chosen. Only one ad campaign can run at a time.
Weather is also a factor to the number of visitors at your park for a given day. Umbrellas can be bought through various Information Kiosks set up throughout the park. Any day can be rainy, sunny, or snowy, and to different degrees of significance. Some days can be very rainy, meaning very few park visitors, and those that do visit will purchase umbrellas. Light rain means less visitors then on a sunny day, but more then that of a heavy rain. Some visitors may opt to buy umbrellas, but not all. The same thing happens with snow, however the temperature must be colder for there to be snow, which usually means the park is operating during one of the winter months. Current weather information as well as a two day forecast is displayed in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, so the player can plan ahead.
There is a clock and date for the game so you can tell what time of year it is, always available at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. Scenarios require that you meet criteria within a certain amount of time, and so you can keep an eye on how much more time you have left to meet the criteria based on the game clock. Weather is also affected by the time of year, for more information see the "Weather" section.
Roller Coaster Tycoon was originally intended to be a sequel to the popular game Transport Tycoon, but the game's author, Chris Sawyer, decided he liked roller coaster better and changed the name to Roller Coaster Tycoon, making the appropriate game play changes. The game was written almost entirely in assembly language, quite a feat given the game's complexity. This made the game run very fast. Parts of the program were written in C so the game could properly interface with Windows. There have been several versions of the game since the original Roller Coaster Tycoon. Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 increased the graphics of the game until it seemed like more of a stimulation game. However, some users argue that some of the game play was lost with the transition to the new graphics. The graphics did not change between Roller Coaster 1 and 2, however many new rides and attractions were added. Advertising campaigns can be set up to try to entice visitors into coming to the park. They all cost different amounts of money. They run for a predefined number of weeks, and the player is charged per week that the ad campaign is run. A minimum of two weeks and a maximum of six weeks per campaign is put in place. You can choose whether you want to advertise for the entire park or a specific ride. Alternatively, you can opt to give the visitors free admission to a specific ride or to the whole park. Vouchers for free food and drinks can also be chosen. Only one ad campaign can run at a time.