502nd played so far


Genre: Management Simulation
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2004
Developer: Frontier Developments
Publisher: Atari

We love our management simulations. There’s something simply enjoyable about games without violence or rapid action, just trying to keep things running, improving and expanding where you can. We also still enjoy our theme parks (when we have a chance), and administering your own is just fun.

After Theme Park, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 is another treat for us (although one I’m less familiar with), another game to jump into and have fun with for a while. We did have to do this while dealing with some late Sunday tiredness, but we got to really play with the game in the end.

Our Thoughts

The main thing about Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 is that I know it already, building up a theme park being something we’ve already covered and having covered a bunch of management simulations already (and having played many more at other times). Designing a park is fun, trying to balance needs and making sure it looks fun, and then including all the rides that look cool and you have to get in there.

The real fun, however, is with the rollercoasters. They can be custom built, and not only have the standard pieces as we saw in Theme Park, but includes all types of twists, loops and other fun parts that you see in real life coasters. The game keeps track of the physics – do you go fast enough and do the forces match up – to see whether the coasters are safe and how much your visitors will enjoy them. And possibly the most fun part is riding them, seeing how they work and see your park moving around you as you do. Of course, there are prebuilt coasters as well (useful if you’re short on money) so you don’t have to guess what will work.

And thankfully, the game has sandbox mode – no time or money limitations, just create a park you’ll love. It’s something that really ought to be in more sim games – being able to play with the more interesting systems that you enjoy with the level’s restrictions keeping you from really playing them.

Final Thoughts

Management simulations are often good fun, and theme parks work well as a theme for them – fun surroundings, a lot of joy and while complex enough, most of the game just makes sense.

Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 does this well, having perfected a lot and making something great out of rollercoasters (and other track-based games), giving you the option to do as much as you want with the game.