The Definitive RollerCoaster Tycoon Experience

“OpenRCT2 is an open-source re-implementation of RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 (RCT2), expanding the game with new features, fixing original bugs and raising game limits.”. To put it another way, a dedicated group of fans have spent years voluntarily rebuilding RollerCoaster Tycoon and improving it in nearly every way.

RollerCoaster Tycoon takes the prize as my second favorite game of all time. So much so that it was the subject for the first post I ever published on this website. Since it occupies such a spot on my list, I’ve got some great suggestions for what your definitive experience with the game should be. Sure, you could just buy the game from Steam or GOG and play it without any modifications, but I don’t recommend it. Installed directly as purchased, the game is locked in a 4:3 aspect ratio that will be stretched to your widescreen monitor. In addition, there’s no way to play in windowed mode. No matter how long you play, it’s likely you’ll never quite get used to the squished perspective everything has. On top of the awkwardness of actually running the game, if you buy RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 you’ll be stuck with some ugly, ugly scenarios.

Here’s a screenshot of what the vanilla game looks like as installed on my PC and played on a standard widescreen monitor at a resolution of 1920 x 1080:

No, it’s not bad, but it’s just kind of awkward. If you don’t think so, compare it to the screenshot below:

The angle is better. The Ferris Wheel is round. The perspective shift doesn’t make things look quite so flat. Things don’t look quite so muddy. It’s an all-around improvement, I’d say. So what’s the secret to the change? OpenRCT2. As stated on the project’s website, “OpenRCT2 is an open-source re-implementation of RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 (RCT2), expanding the game with new features, fixing original bugs and raising game limits.”. To put it another way, a dedicated group of fans have spent years voluntarily rebuilding RollerCoaster Tycoon and improving it in nearly every way. All of these changes and tweaks are completely legal, since the source code to the game was voluntarily released years ago. The improved version of the game works on modern operating systems and is compatible with a wide array of hardware. It supports windowed mode or plays full screen at nearly any resolution. There’s a debug and cheat menu. And it’s quite easy to import custom scenarios. Ready to play yet?

To have the definitive RollerCoaster Tycoon experience, here are the steps you need to take:

  • Purchase RollerCoaster Tycoon 2: Triple Thrill Pack from GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/rollercoaster_tycoon_2 Install it on your PC.
  • Download the OpenRCT2 launcher from the website’s downloads page: http://openrct2.org/downloads Scroll down to the bottom of the page to get to the correct link:
  • The next page you’ll see has a bunch of different versions of the file to download. The one you want is the straight .exe file for windows:
  • Download it, and then run the installation process. Once the program is installed, remember that you want to run the program called “OpenRCT2 Launcher”, and not the installation of RollerCoaster Tycoon. They are very different!
  • To make your installation complete, you must download and install the scenarios from the first RollerCoaster Tycoon. They weren’t included in the retail release of RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, but the game’s dedicated fan base reconstructed them and assembled them in an easy-to-install pack. The link to the scenario pack is in this Reddit post: https://www.reddit.com/r/rct/comments/1h93gx/more_exact_recreations_of_rct1_scenarios_for_rct2/ The MediaFire link is the one to get.
  • To install the new scenarios, extract the contents of the file you just downloaded to the scenario folder created by the installation of OpenRCT2. The file path for that should be something like “C:\Users\YourUsername\Documents\OpenRCT2\scenario”

That’s all there is to it! Prepare to enjoy dozens if not hundreds of hours of one of the best PC games known to mankind! If you need any help with the install process, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to walk you through it.

Giving Peace a Chance

[…] I’m going to try and avoid “video game violence” for a month. It’s not my goal to make any kind of a statement by avoiding any particular games. Rather my pledge is simply a response to an observation that most of my preferred games focus on destruction. I want to go a month focused on construction. I want to build some worlds instead of tearing them down.

In my previous article, I pledged to go the month of September avoiding games where “acting as an agent of violence is not the main focus.” As August rapidly draws to a close I now have to figure out what exactly I meant. Working off the assumptions most people make, avoiding violent video games should be a pretty straightforward affair. Especially after some informal polling revealed the common perception of what constitutes a violent video game: guns, explosions, blood, and guts. Four things I love in in a video game and I’ve got to go a month without them. But perhaps it’s more complicated than that. Before I can go a month without something, I have to define exactly what it is I’m supposed to avoid. My pledge is to avoid violence, not just shooters. To help in my quest I turn to the ever-present Google to help me define what, exactly, violence is:


Violence
vi·o·lence
ˈvī(ə)ləns
noun

  1. behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something


So as it turns out, virtual violence can involve quite a bit more than pulling the trigger of a virtual gun. There are scores of games that not only allow, but require and encourage the player to engage in willful acts of violence in order to progress through the game. The majority of games which I tend to play operate off some setup where the player is directly responsible for violent actions within a game. That is to say, the player exhibits control of an in-game entity to inflict some kind of action at a one to one ratio with the control scheme. First-person shooters are a good example of this, where specific control inputs from the player result in weapon discharges. Controls in fighting games result in various kicks, punches, or other methods of attack. The same principle applies to games where the player controls a vehicle, be it a combat simulation or an aggressive racing event. Defined as such, Burnout: Paradise qualifies as violent since the player is actively encouraged to use his vehicle to damage, disable, and destroy his opponents. But what about games where the player doesn’t directly carry out violent acts? Is a first-person shooter any more or less violent than strategy games which allow you to control scores of troops in large-scale battles? Is it still violence when clicks of a mouse order dozens or hundreds of digital soldiers to go and wipe out dozens or hundreds of enemy troops? If violence can be simply defined as willful intent to cause damage to something, then the vast majority of video games can be classified as violent.

COH2 Generic
“Virtual men, go blow some stuff up!”

Perhaps player intent, and not just the intent of the game developers, can make the difference between certain games being violent or not. When I was a teenager I used to play a licensed NASCAR racing game. NASCAR done right is about as non-violent as you could get. Big blocky cars get on a track and make left-hand turns for hours. No violence there! My teenage brain grew bored of such things very quickly and soon demanded that I drive against the flow of traffic and try to wreck as many cars as possible before my own was battered beyond repair. Because I abused the intention of the game, I turned a non-violent racing game into a carnage simulator. Kerbal Space Program is a sandbox universe where you build giant rockets to explore. Sometimes, you just want to see what happens when you crash a rocket ship into a building! Instruments of science become vehicles of destruction. Even the bright and cheery Roller Coaster Tycoon, one of the more joyous games I’ve ever played, contains death and destruction. Roller coaster crashes, resulting either from poor design or malevolence, fill your screen with large explosions and numerous deaths.

And I’m going to try and avoid all that for a month. Not only am I going to shun games which encourage violence, I’m going to play non-violent games properly in order avoid causing violent events if at all possible. It’s not my goal to make any kind of a statement by avoiding any particular games. Rather my pledge is simply a response to an observation that most of my preferred games focus on destruction. I want to go a month focused on construction. I want to build some worlds instead of tearing them down. I want to discover a story, not shoot my way through it. After many years of training my brain to know that video games are all about blowing stuff up, I’m giving myself a reminder that gaming is also about creating and exploring wonders.

openrct2 2016-08-29 07-02-14-15
Building a roller coaster with a jump in the tracks and naming it “Death Trap!” does not qualify as an act of non-violent creation.

Rollercoaster Tycoon

At the time this article is written, RollerCoaster Tycoon has had two released sequels, with RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 slated to come out at the end of 2015. Two other theme park games are also in development, Parkitect and Planet Coaster, and are slated for release in 2016. So the question becomes: “Why is RollerCoaster Tycoon still worth playing?”

Answer: “It’s just fun!”

RollerCoaster Tycoon

Release Date:

  • Original Game: March 31, 1999
  • Expansion #1 – Corkscrew Follies: November 15, 1999
  • Expansion #2 – Loopy Landscapes: September 30, 2000

Developer: Chris Sawyer

Publisher: Frontier

Where to buy: Steam and GOG.com – $5.99

What’s the Premise?

Your job is simple: manage theme parks as best you can. The game gives you a long list of scenarios to play through, 81, each with their own goals. Most of the scenarios that shipped with the original game focus on growing a small park into a larger one while maintaining standards that contribute to your park’s rating. Scenarios added by the two expansion packs tend to be a bit more diverse; such as requiring you to build coasters that meet minimum ratings like length, speed, excitement value; or else the scenario locations themselves are more challenging.

Why Should I Play This?

At the time this article is written, RollerCoaster Tycoon has had two released sequels, with RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 slated to come out at the end of 2015. Two other theme park games are also in development, Parkitect and Planet Coaster, and are slated for release in 2016. So the question becomes: “Why is RollerCoaster Tycoon still worth playing?”

Answer: “It’s just fun!” Continue reading “Rollercoaster Tycoon”