Why People Are Still Playing RollerCoaster Tycoon, According To The Creator

RollerCoaster Tycoon
(Image credit: Atari)

One of the classic games from the yesteryears of PC gaming that still gets a lot of mileage is Atari's RollerCoaster Tycoon. It was part of the Tycoon series of games that used to rival Sim City. Well, the designer revealed why he thinks people are so in love with the classic strategy game.

Gamespot managed to land an interview with creator Chris Sawyer from Atari, who explained that there are two things that he believes helps RollerCoaster Tycoon stand the test of time, saying...

Hopefully it's because fundamentally RollerCoaster Tycoon is a fun game! Perhaps also nostalgia plays its part, and we all tend to look back with fondness at the original of something. Personally I think RCT's long-lasting appeal is because the game was all about building things and nurturing things, two basic human instincts we all have. Most people get some enjoyment or satisfaction from building something, whether it be a giant multi-inversion roller coaster or just a neatly designed landscaped garden, and most people instinctively want to look after their little guests in the park, ensuring they're happy and safe and enjoying all the rides you've created for them. It helps that the game is all about amusement parks too, which are fundamentally fun places to be in.

It's an interesting approach to the popularity of RollerCoaster Tycoon, which has stretched onward for almost 20 years has managed to capture the attention and love from a very ardently dedicated gaming community.

The original game managed to make its way to mobile devices recently so that a new breed of gamers could get their hands on it and experience what made the original so popular back in the day. What's funny is that Sawyer and crew felt as if the new RollerCoaster Tycoon for smartphones and tablets should actually be designed without microtransactions.

It's a stark departure from the typical mobile setup where they're heavily reliant on microtransactions and cash shop purchases to propel the business model forward. Sawyer reveals that instead, the game requires a one-time purchase and other expansion packs can also be purchased in the game, but the fundamental structure of RollerCoaster Tycoon has not changed.

However, the structure of payment models and using in-app purchases actually does worry Sawyer. He admits that there are no easy answers and that the whole thing has been made difficult due to the way games are funded these days. The "release now, fix later" approach was even taken with RollerCoaster Tycoon World and came back to bite them on the butt, but even then Sawyer refrained from putting the game down, only mentioning that they were aiming to do some really ambitious things with RollerCoaster Tycoon World and it was easy for him to see how big a game they were aiming to make.

One thing that Sawyer brings out that's very true about the current landscape of gaming that has made so many older titles endure to this day: he mentions that games designed with microtransactions at the core are oftentimes made to make money, not to be fun. He notes that making games to be fun can be risky, but as you can see with classic titles like Half-Life, Sonic, Mario and RollerCoaster Tycoon, a fun game never loses its appeal, even when it's nearly 20 years old.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.