Posts Tagged ‘roller coaster tycoon’

Today’s Response: What game have you spent the most time on!

19 December, 2009

There are many games that I simply can’t stop playing. Tetris, Age of Empires 2, Driver, Final Fantasy XII…but the most time I think I have ever spent on a game is on Roller Coaster Tycoon. I have played Roller Coaster Tycoon on and off for over 5 years, and will probably play for many more. Why Roller Coaster Tycoon? Well, I’m a sucker for creation, and RCT allowed for plenty of creation. Not only could I create my own parks, but I could create roller coasters! What impressed me the most was that the roller coasters followed actual physics, which should be basic for a roller coaster simulation, but I was impressed by the quality placed in creating the physics for RCT. I know that the physics aren’t altogether real (I made a roller coaster that exceeded 100 mph and went through 20 vertical g’s) but I had to constantly think about where I placed turns and drops in rollers coasters. There was always a balancing act between how long and exciting a coaster could be, while still staying within a certain price range.

I enjoyed the economy of the game. I couldn’t just build roller coasters, I had to build a park with food, restrooms, and workers. I was fascinated by the depth of the people in the park, how they had needs and would leave if those needs weren’t taken care of. Specific roller coasters had to be built for specific people. There were those who enjoyed excitement, or those who craved a quiet peaceful ride. I never had to think so much about the computer controlled characters in a game before. There was never any question as to what was being done wrong either. If people were leaving your park they would say why they were leaving. Maybe the park needs more security, or the sidewalks aren’t clean. Maybe there just aren’t enough rides, or everything is too expensive.

Roller Coaster Tycoon was such a great game in that it allowed me to search new territories that I had never thought about before. I got my first taste of economics from RCT. My friend and I were playing once and he raised the price of a ride to what I thought was an absurd amount. I asked him what he was doing, and he just replied, “they’ll pay for it, and if they don’t we’ll just lower it a little.” I had always thought in terms of what I thought was a reasonable price. I had never thought about what the people would be willing to pay for the rides. The whole economy of RCT is excellent. I could get a loan from the bank, but not too high of a loan. If people didn’t buy anything, I couldn’t build anything. To expand I had to know what the people wanted. I couldn’t just think about myself like I had in most of the other games I played. It was a whole new experience, and I think that is what has stuck with me for all these years. I’m sure I could have just as easily picked up another sim and had a similar experience. In fact I just picked up Capitalism 2, which came out in 2001. I am completely absorbed in that game, and maybe the next time I ask this question Capitalism 2 will be my answer.

I remember the first time I played RCT was at my cousin’s house. I was over there for Christmas and I was running out of things to do, so my cousin showed me RCT. I was hooked instantly. The pace of it wasn’t overbearing. It wasn’t too slow or too fast, it never felt out of control. When I was younger I always played with Legos, and I suppose I always wanted to build something. RCT was that outlet where I could build, where I wasn’t limited to the world around me, but a virtual world where there were no bounds. I found this so appealing that I kept asking my parents about buying the game. They quickly gave in, and I was on the computer constantly playing. It was also fun because people could see what I had made. My dad was able to watch me play and comment on my roller coasters. It was something he could grasp, unlike an RPG or Mario, where he could see something interesting was happening, but it only lasted for a few minutes. A jump in Mario only lasts a second, while a roller coaster last a lifetime.

Roller Coaster Tycoon also opened my eyes to theme parks. Whenever I went to a theme park I couldn’t help but relate it to the ones I had created. When I saw a roller coaster I was amazed by the design, but I also thought about how it could be improved. I could relate to the people in the game, if I was hungry and couldn’t find food then I became upset. I know that sounds a little strange, but its true. That is why I played RCT so much.