Timewarp Thursday: RollerCoaster Tycoon

Welcome to my first ever Timewarp Thursday, where I investigate an older game in my PC library. I know I talk about how bloated my Steam library backlog is, but truthfully, I have over 130 games also in my GOG library!

That GOG Library

Now, some of these are duplicates of Steam games, thanks to GOG offering DRM free versions through GOG Connect. A free DRM copy of a game I own on Steam?  Yes, please!

But for the most part, I use GOG to purchase older PC games since they do a wonderful job of making them run on newer machines. I actually missed out on a lot of older PC games since I was somewhat late at adopting PC gaming. So, there’s a lot I’d like to play that I haven’t.

I can’t promise every Thursday will have a timewarp, but this one does. I got an itch to play a laid-back sim game last night, and decided to try out RollerCoaster Tycoon 1 on a whim. I do own RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 and 3 on GOG as well, but decided to start with the original.

I also apologize that the images you get here are taken on my phone. I couldn’t find a way to take screens in game, and Print Screen wasn’t working. (I have now looked it up and found it has a very different way of screenshotting…) Interestingly enough, my new PC monitor does a really good job for taking pictures, so they didn’t come out too bad.

First Impressions

I was concerned that I might get hung up on the older graphics and UI, but I found that for the kind of game it is, this wasn’t a problem at all. It did feel like playing an older Sim City game, but that was more positive than negative for me. I didn’t feel like it was too cluttered or overwhelming when I was looking for information or building. So in this aspect, the game surprised me.

I was also concerned that building roller coasters would be hard and frustrating. I came to this game knowing nothing, and watched the pre-made tutorial section for a bit to get a feeling on how it worked.

To be honest, I had a few failures before I connected a full coaster from start to end. Then, it took me a bit to figure out why test runs were failing (have to have chains on those lift areas!). Editing an existing coaster isn’t super intuitive — I wish there was an easy way to click a part of the coaster and replace it with another part. It’s also a linear process, which makes it a bit more complex.

Now, this was nothing I couldn’t eventually figure out… but then my first coaster was a failure because no one would ride it. Come to find out, if visitors think the coaster is “too intense” they won’t ride it. I personally didn’t think my long drop was that intense…. but I removed it and made the slope more gentle. Sure enough, people started riding it.


My first coaster

What I really like about RCT, is that it gives you options. As you discover new rides and types of roller coasters, you can choose to place a pre-made version or build a custom coaster.

So, maybe you just want to throw a new water slide out there, but don’t want to fuss with building it. You can pick the pre-made and plop it down.

This gives you an example so you can see what’s possible with new rides. I probably would have never thought to build a slide like this… but I’m a noob at this sort of thing.

I also like that rides can easily be moved around. You do have to shut the ride down, but instead of demolishing it completely and building a new one, you can pick it up and move it somewhere new to expand or better organize your park.

I enjoy that you can do everything from setting the cost of each ride, to choosing the custom colors and music of rides, to planting gardens and placing decorations in your park. There’s a lot of customization, even in a game of this age.

So far, I’ve only played on one map, and maintained a small park, but I’m really, really enjoying it! I’m hoping to spend some time with it before trying out RCT2 and RCT3 to see how the series changed over time.

I’m so sad that I haven’t played this game before now, but happy to have finally discovered it! There’s a simple pleasure about building a park and bringing joy to these pixelated little people.