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The game's first installment.

RollerCoaster Tycoon is a simulation strategy computer game that simulates theme park management, and roller coaster design. Developed by MicroProse and Chris Sawyer, and published by Hasbro Interactive. It was widely praised for its originality and success in simulating a theme park. The roller coaster designer was a popular feature and was praised for its high attention to detail, with many real types of coaster available, and allowing very elaborate creative coasters to be built. A release for the Xbox for the original was released with mixed reviews, which turned out to be the same, but with hard-to-coordinate controls.

The principal games in the RollerCoaster Tycoon series are:

  • RollerCoaster Tycoon (1999)
    • Corkscrew Follies (aka Added Attractions) (1999)
    • Loopy Landscapes (2000)
      • Compilation RollerCoaster Tycoon: Gold (aka Totally RollerCoaster) (2002): Includes original game and both expansions
      • RollerCoaster Tycoon: Deluxe (2003): Includes original game and both expansions with fan-made designs for the different customizable rides
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 (2002)
    • Wacky Worlds (2003)
    • Time Twister (2003)
      • RollerCoaster Tycoon 2: Combo Park Pack (2003): Includes original game and Wacky Worlds expansion
      • RollerCoaster Tycoon 2: Triple Thrill Pack (aka Totally RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 (2004): Includes original game and both expansions
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 (2004)
    • Soaked! (2005)
    • Wild! (2005)
      • RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Gold (2005): Includes original game and Soaked! expansion
      • RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Platinum (aka. RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Deluxe Edition) (2006): Includes original game and both expansions
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon 3D (2012)

Will be getting a CGI film adaptation. People promptly went "Wait, what ?".

Tropes present in this game series :

  • All Deserts Have Cacti: Most of the desert stages have a small batch of cacti somewhere. Possibly justified as in-universe examples of They Just Didn't Care, since this is, after all, quite literally The Theme Park Version.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Ivory Towers is vandalized and full of litter and vomit starting out, Rotting Heights is basically a garbage dump, and Fiasco Forests starts out with a fatal accident on a ride named Deathslide unless you pause the game right after entering the scenario. You can also create your own.
  • Anachronism Stew: Players can build an 1890's Side Friction Coaster and a 2000's Intamin Giga coaster in the same year.
    • That's perfectly fine for some people, but it gets worse with Time Twister; one scenario takes place (according to the text) in the actual Middle Ages despite... well, since it's a game about theme parks, pretty much everything.
  • And Now for Something Completely Different: Coaster Crazy was the first stage with a "build 10 roller coasters" challenge. And boy, it was a doozy.
    • Bumbly Bazaar. Hope you like selling food.
    • Rainbow Valley from the original. Not being able to destroy scenery object (including those you place) or alter the landscape caught quite a few people off guard.
    • Gentle Glen from Corkscrew Follies had everyone's intensity levels locked to 5 or below. So much for roller coasters...
    • Not that any of the above is necessarily a bad thing, as it averts Complacent Gaming Syndrome by forcing you to try new rides and play-styles every so often.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You
  • An Exterior Designer Is You: Loopy Landscapes sets this off.
  • Artificial Stupidity: In the first game, none of the guests are that smart. They really just walk down paths, and if they see an intersection, they will pick a direction at random. This will only change if they are incredibly hungry or thirsty, or if they have to go to the bathroom. The same thing applies to your staff. Less severe in the second game, in which they will actually form a sort of guest-line along a two-or-more-tile pathway, and can watch rides from a distance and head for them if they're interested; and completely averted in the third game, especially with handymen.
    • A word of advice for those playing RCT 1: Don't watch any one of your guests too closely. You will quickly find yourself infuriated as one of your guests gets thirstier and thirstier, and angrier and angrier, walking away from the soda vendor you keep placing him at again and again, refusing to buy a drink, and blaming the park for his misery, because he won't put down his cheeseburger.
    • Staff in the first two games may occasionally drown on their own if their patrol area is set to footpaths built above water.
  • Auto Pilot Tutorial: One you can interrupt nevertheless.
  • Boring but Practical: Sure, you can build Shuttle Loop a bajillion times, but it isn't that much fun.
    • Also can be done with the Go-Kart ride.
    • Don't forget the Magic Carpet in the second game.
  • Digitized Sprites
  • Easter Egg: Guests named after the game developers occasionally perform special actions such as taking photos or waving. Naming someone "Damon Hill", "Michael Schumacher" or "Mr. Bean" makes that guest drive extra-fast, fast or slow respectively on Go-Kart rides.
    • Clicking on swimming or flying ducks will make them quack. In the third game, there is a chance that a duck will lose all its feathers each time it is clicked.
  • Expansion Pack: All three games have two of these. The first game's packs added many unique attractions, theming categories, and scenarios (including the first "money doesn't matter" scenario, Arid Heights). The second game's packs were purely aesthetic add-ons; all the new rides were just reskins of existing ones, and the new scenarios were nothing special besides theming. The third game's packs added entirely new park types (zoos in Wild, water parks in Soaked).
    • Fans have also made their own for RCT2 and RCT3.
  • Expansion Pack Past: Time Twister, literally. And future too.
  • Follow the Leader: The vast majority of simulation games with "Tycoon" in their name were created in order to capitalize on this game's success. The magazine PC Gamer eventually created a "Tycoon" genre for classification in their game reviews because of this. [1]
  • Fake Difficulty: Guests often overestimate their tolerance for nausea-inducing rides, and offering barf bags is not an option. They will throw up on your nice clean paths once they exit. You can provide benches for them to sit down and try to recover (which rarely helps much) and First Aid stations in the sequel, but still, no barf bags.
    • Speaking of handymen, they and other employees will ignore "no entry" signs, so if you start out with a huge, empty park and use these signs to keep guests within the part you're developing, you can expect your employees to go AWOL a lot if don't set up patrol areas.
    • Station Brakes Failure can happen at any time and usually cause disasters, which will make a roller coaster's popularity and your park rating plummet.
  • Game Mod: It's buggy and cumbersome with the first installment, but the second on was built around it.
    • There are also people who have created "custom rides" you can install. No, not custom coasters; custom flat rides with new animation and everything. There was a major limit to what they could do with this, because they all had to be based on — and thus use the same stats and capacity as — an existing ride, but the results could still be pretty creative.
  • Genius Programming: The first two games are capable of running at full speed on computers that were manufactured back in the early 90's. The third game averts this completely, although given its complexity and nature, it does not fall into Idiot Programming either.
    • The original was actually mostly written in Assembly with only a bit of C to work in Windows.
  • Holiday Mode: The third game's menu plays horror-themed music on Halloween.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Every ride needs to have enough space for an entrance and exit house that sticks out from the side of the ride station. Because of the game's isometric grid layout it is possible to place down rides without being able to connect them up properly with the existing paths. Also the paths and ride tracks have to have a square in height to clear each other, leading to an inability to complete rides or queue lines because of a few metres of clearance. In RCT 3 the increasingly detailed terrain also means paths can be at microscopically different heights and not connect up properly, giving the irritating warning messages that 'guests cannot reach the entrance of Ride X', or 'mechanics cannot reach Ride Y, ensure it is connected to a path'.
  • Karma Meter: Torturing, killing, and overall making things difficult for your guests causes your park's approval rating to go down, and you'll get less visitors (and make less money). Although intentionally drowning guests or making them fall to the center of the earth doesn't seem to affect this.
    • Inverted if the guests are unhappy; killing them will boost your park's rating, which makes sense in a sadistic way (fewer unhappy guests = better reputation).
  • Lava Is Boiling Kool-Aid: Except for the boiling part. In the second game's scenario editor, there is a menu to choose between blue water, green water, acid water or orange water that is supposed to look like lava. Of course, in a theme park, everything is fake.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: The music your rides play do this whenever they break down. Actually justified with the carousel, which is limited to playing a medley of classical music on an apparently built-in mechanical organ. On the other rides... not so much.
    • The inverse applies sometimes for the Carousel, with the music getting faster and higher pitched.
  • Lost Forever: In the original, if you were to dig into the ground too far, that square would drop into oblivion, and you wouldn't be able to fill it back up, thus losing one square (or more, depending on how large the dig tool was) forever.
    • Similarly, if you delete a path that a guest was on while underground, that guest would keep dropping down into oblivion. Nothing is mentioned of them ever again.
    • Meta Example: The Promo & Competition parks for the original seemed to have been lost to the internet for a while, but then this came up.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The penultimate scenario in RCT 3 Soaked, "Mountain Spring" requires a monthly ride income of $250,000 to reach the Gold level (for comparison the average scenario can be beaten with parks that pull in about $100,000 from rides). Unfortunately the weather in the park is very rainy, and guests won't be as keen to ride the big rollercoasters in the rain. So beating the scenario relies on getting lucky to have a relatively dry month so the income beats the target.
  • Made of Explodium: In the first two games, if two roller coaster trains collide with a combined speed of 48 km/h (30 mph), one of them will explode. If a car goes off the track, no matter how low the velocity or short the fall, it explodes. And of course, this always kills the riders.
    • Even something like a rubber raft for the Water Slide will go kaboom.
    • Having a guest named "Atomic" in RCT 3 makes certain rides explode when they crash.
  • Made of Iron: In the third game, the peeps are invincible. They can and will survive falling from great heights, being flung from coasters, being hit by coasters, blown up and staying in the water for hours. All while smiling and cheering.
    • In the first two, you could make guests fall from an elevated ride exit onto a lower path without any ill effect, other than the occasional message telling you there's no path to the ride exit.
      • If you build a path underground however, and delete it while Guests are walking on it, they will fall through the ground and keep on falling until they fall off the stage into nonexistence. They simply cease to be, your Guest Count falls ... that's it.
  • Nintendo Hard: The first few parks aren't too bad, but quickly, after the first six or seven, the difficulty starts to pick up.
    • Micro Park is the last stage in the Loopy Landscapes set and is just like Dinky Park, but with 13x13 for land. The goal is focused around park value, where you build things. See where I'm going?
  • Percussive Maintenance: In the first two games, a vehicle malfunction or jammed restraint/door is usually solved by a mechanic giving the offending vehicle/car with the restraint/door a good kick, and the dreaded (Station) Brakes Failure is solved by the mechanic hitting the rear section of the ride's station brakes four times with a hammer. In the third game, mechanics fix broken down shops by kicking them.
  • Quicksand Box: A problem with beginners is that they expand too quickly and waste money on stuff they don't need (duplicate rides, scenery, large roller coasters and such). Of course, Evergreen Gardens is supposed to work people out of that mentality by giving them everything but what they need.
  • Rare Roller Coasters: The wooden Reverser Coaster is based on a unique design called the "Hooper Reverser" built in Salt Lake City in 1914 and long since demolished. The side friction coaster was once a common design but into the 21st century only one is left, the Leap The Dips from 1912 at Lakemont Park Pennsylvania.
  • Recursive Translation: Not in-game, but on the third game's official forum, the custom scenery and ride sections have stickied threads entitled "I Search an Object" and "I Search a CTR/CFR".
  • Screwed By The Developers: For some people, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3's poor performance was an example of this, with people blaming the developers for not spending more time to fix it. Given that Technology Marches On, however, the game has become much more Vindicated by History.
  • Shout-Out: A rock track that You can put on a ride from the first games expansions and the second game entirely sound similar to a track from Driver. Justified considering both games had Alistar Brimble as their composer.
  • Super Drowning Skills: In all the games, you can grab individual park guests and place them wherever you want, ostensibly to recover them from getting lost in your park or to move employees to troublesome areas. You can also choose to drop them in water. In the first two games, if you don't pick them back up, they will drown, reducing your park population by one. Averted in the third, however, as they will just keep treading water until you move the camera away from them, during which time they'll just appear somewhere else in the park.
  • The Theme Park Version: Well, duh.
  • Truth in Television: The regulation of building roller coasters at tree-height is a real challenge faced by English theme parks such as Alton Towers.
  • Unwinnable By Mistake: In the third game, you can create a situation where a track is at X Height, the station is at X.3 Height, and its impossible to 'thread the needle' and finish the track. It doesn't happen often, but when it does happen, expect to rage.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: There are many, many ways to kill/torture your guests horribly.
    • The third game one-upped the cruelty potential with Ragdoll Physics.
      • One Example being if you built a steep upward path, and as the Peeps walk up it, when they get near the top of the long path, delete the path just as they step on it, and they trip, fall back into the crowd behind them, and start a HUMAN AVALANCHE!! (It was actually marketed as a feature of the game)
      • Wild! lets the player find out what happens if a zebra is dropped into a lion's enclosure (hint: no more zebra)
    • It's easy to just drown all your guests or make them crash brutally, but one person decided to take cruelty to a whole new level. Behold, Mr. Bones Wild Ride. Its max speed is 5 MPH downhill, and consisted of 30,000 feet of track at the start, growing larger as the riders continued. It takes in real life 70 minutes to complete, over a year in-game. Then, after everyone is thoroughly exhausted, hungry, and unhappy, the exit line leads straight back to the queue. It was so bad that the general consensus was that drowning was the kinder fate.
  • Video Game Settings: They've always been comparable to theme park areas, so of course there's plenty of freedom to make them.
    • Big Boo's Haunt: Horror themed sets and rides are a mainstay.
    • Build Like an Egyptian: The Egyptian theme set.
    • Circus of Fear: Combining the Horror theme sets with a few canvas tent rides and objects, and making your park a little bit less than safe will set this off.
    • Hailfire Peaks: Combine Snow and Fire
    • Jungle Japes: The Prehistoric and Jungle theme sets.
    • Lethal Lava Land: You can dye the water red, though it doesn't make any difference, although the thought of a lava log ride is awesome.
    • Minecart Madness: Several types of coasters.
    • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Snow And Ice theme, and also the ground textures made to look like ice.
    • Wackyland: Several themes, but especially the Wonderland one with its giant "candy" objects.
  • Video Game Time: The timing of how long a visitor takes is wildly different from that of construction and management, leading to people spending what are essentially months in the park.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: In the first game, Mega Park's secnario is "Have Fun!", while completing a scenario with a goal turns that park into a sandbox. In the second game, while the game didn't have one, you can create your own scenarios and make the conditions easy enough to unlock the sandbox almost immediately. The third game came with a built-in sandbox mode.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Happens with some scenery in the third game. For example, you may be able to build a tall brick wall at the start, but need to research a smaller, diagonal wall.
    • Some stages don't start with information kiosks and/or drinks. It is also possible to setup a scenario without bathrooms.
  1. Railroad Tycoon, the first game with "Tycoon" in the name, predates this game by nine years. Nonetheless, it's Rollercoaster Tycoon that codified & popularized the idea.