As a young lad, I spent many an hour playing the original two RollerCoaster Tycoon games on PC. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, RollerCoaster Tycoon is a game where you manage a theme park – building thrill rides, roller coasters, refreshment stands, and the like. The goal of the game is to accomplish whatever the game asks of you, depending on which area you selected. For instance, the goal might be that you have 500 guests in your park by the end of year two. The game goes by pretty quick, so you can beat a number of these scenarios in as little as an hour.
Countless hours of my young life were wasted tinkering around with the various functions of the games: building (and intentionally crashing) insane coasters, raising the prices of umbrellas to insane amounts because your park’s patrons have to buy them regardless, constructing Drink Stands only to have them go unnoticed for whatever reason, taking out as many loans as possible and immediately spending them, and so on and so forth.
But, as time went on, whether it be because of my misplacing of the discs, Mac overtaking PC, or whatever reason, my fascination with these games eventually dwindled, and I hadn’t been able to return to them for many years…
In September 2017, Atari finally came to their senses and ported their original RCT games to Mac, available for purchase on Steam. However, this wasn’t a typical port of the two games individually, but rather a conglomeration of the two into one “über-game.” For whatever reason, Atari never made RCT 1 or 2 available on Mac, which is a reason I listed above for me not returning to the games for so long. But, thanks to RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic, us Mac users can finally get our RCT fix. The game itself costs $20, but for those of you who use PC, you can buy the original RCT 1 and 2 for $6 and $10, respectfully. However, for us Mac users, this is the only option we have.
The feeling of experiencing these games again after such a long absence was like a tidal wave of nostalgia pummeling me. Those lovable graphics had aged as well as wine, and, after getting used to the new UI, it was like I was a kid again, building supremely cool theme parks. Speaking of the new UI, that was one thing that many people criticized this game for. However, I personally had very little trouble adjusting to this new interface, and after some tinkering it became just as user-friendly as the original.
I initially had some trouble getting the game to download, but I’m pretty sure this was a Steam issue and not related to the game itself. After installing, the game ran surprisingly well on my Mac, although I did have to use an external mouse to suit the game better. After a few hours of conquering Forest Frontiers and Dynamite Dunes, I realized that these games were just as fun as I remembered them. However, one thing I noticed is that the earlier parks are ridiculously easy. I know they’re to get new players adjusted to the game and provide, in essence, a tutorial, but you can basically just build anything and encounter no trouble reaching your goal in these early scenarios. But, as the game progresses, these stages get harder, so there’s a pretty good balance of difficulty throughout the entire game.
Another thing I adore about this game is the sound effects. Sounds as simple as people screaming on rides, Merry-Go-Rounds, Ferris Wheels, the rumblin’ and tumblin’ of a wooden coaster, and even ducks quacking have so much charm, which really improves the sense of immersion you have with your park. Also, as I indicated earlier, even though these games are pretty old, the graphics are still really appealing and everything looks great.
All in all, RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic is an incredibly fun time capsule, taking me back to the days where I would spend hours building theme parks. The one downside, as I hinted at earlier, is that PC users can obtain both original games at a cheaper combined price than the new one, and that may influence which one you should go with. But, for those who use Mac, I can safely recommend this game as an engaging time waster that you’ll keep coming back to, even if the early stages may be too easy. Over the years, as graphics and gameplay facets become more and more complicated, it’s easy to overlook something that may look slightly archaic, but, as classic games like Super Mario World, Crash Bandicoot, and Star Fox 64 indicate, a game can still be timeless even if the graphics appear outdated. I give RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic an 8.5/10, and I hope you try it out for yourself.
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