I have always adored theme parks—the big ferris wheel, the thrill rides, the refreshments, even the crowds. RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic, remastered by RollerCoaster Tycoon creator, Chris Sawyer, does more than recreate the park experience; it allows you to build one completely from scratch. This game is for anyone who has ever wanted to experience the construction process from start to finish, from clearing the land to running a park with hundreds of daily visitors. Moreover, you also learn valuable business skills of pricing and consumer behavior while managing employees and customer service. And last but not least, if you are anything like me, this game fulfills one very special childhood dream: finally creating the amusement park that you always wished existed.
Before any magic can happen, the park must be made from the ground up. I highly suggest an aggressive growth strategy early on, as you need to build as many rides as possible in the beginning to attract brand new visitors. You begin the game with $10,000, so do not be afraid to spend more than half as soon as the park opens. Rather than charging one entry price, your park charges a separate fee for every ride, drink, and restroom use, so the more attractions the better. Speaking of drinks and bathrooms, it is essential to include refreshments and rest facilities immediately because visitors need those all the time, and approval ratings drop if those are absent.
On the other hand, you can easily improve park reviews by adding more complex rides. When it comes to roller coasters, you can either build your own track or choose from a wide selection of pre-designed rides. I am all for creativity, but these pre-made designs are nothing short of spectacular. There was no way I could construct a roller coaster that was half as thrilling or intricate without going into serious debt, because building your own is not cheap. But the option is still there and open to anyone who seeks a challenge, and I would in fact suggest that the game lowers the price of self-made tracks in order to encourage more original creativity.
Once the park is open to the public, maintenance and upkeep is essential to happy visitors. You can hire a full taskforce for this, from handymen who sweep up trash to security guards who prevent vandalism. I found that it is necessary to hire 2-3 of each employee type in order to keep the entire park clean and safe, and your workforce grows as your park expands. However, keep in mind that hiring people is fairly expensive—usually $50 every month. But one way to offset labor costs is to adjust the individual attraction fees, which can be as high or low as you want, and this is where the economic business skills come in. When rides are first built, the price is automatically set at $1. You can easily double, triple, or quadruple that and maximize profits while shortening lines. Moreover, demand peaks when the ride first opens, so you can hike up the price to $10 and really earn back your money. I enjoyed managing the park as much as I did building it, and I sharpened useful business skills along the way.
RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic made me feel like a giddy child and a highly successful business tycoon at the same time. I deeply appreciated the level of detail and complexity included in this game, which really added to the sense of reality. With amazing graphics and constant activity, this game is nothing short of classic entertainment.
Watch the Check Out the RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic Trailer:
RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic is now available for PC and Mac for $19.99 via Steam.