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RollerCoaster Tycoon Celebrates 15th Anniversary

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the first release of “RollerCoaster Tycoon” – arguably one of the most popular simulator games of all time. It also marks a milestone – millions of hours wasted playing the game by it’s combined players…

The original RollerCoaster Tycoon box.

The original RollerCoaster Tycoon box.

Take yourself back a decade and a half…the only true simulator game that was commercially available was “SimCity” – but it’s time on the top was soon to be ended.

An unknown Scottish designer, named Chris Sawyer partnered with artist Simon Foster and composer Allister Brimble to create the game-changing simulator. Famed ride designer, John Wardley was even brought on as a special consultant.

Chris Sawyer developed and worked significantly on both RCT and RCT2.

Scottish developer, Chris Sawyer, developed and worked significantly on both RCT and RCT2.

Like many park fans, I was introduced to this program via a free, downloadable demo, that had a time limit and did not have the ability to save games.

The game allows players to either create an entire amusement park from scratch, or build up and maintain an existing park, within a set of pre-determined parameters.

The cartoony look up front hid the fact that real world physics were at play behind-the-scenes in the code.

The cartoon-like look hid the fact that real world physics were at play behind-the-scenes in the code.

It also featured an easy-to-understand user interface, which allowed even the most novice of players to step immediately into gameplay.

While initially a commercial flop – word spread quickly through the amusement fan community, who in turn told their friends  about the quirky and addictive game, and it soon became a sleeper hit. There are three “versions” of the game, with expansion packs for each one.

Atari recently announced a fourth “sequel” to the original, dubbed “RollerCoaster Tycoon 4.” It will be released for iOS devices in summer, 2014.

The mark of a good game is the length of it’s shelf life. With many people still playing the original version, RollerCoaster Tycoon has stood the test of time – and is still going strong. Even with new rivals popping up, such as NoLimits and Theme Park Studio, RollerCoaster Tycoon continues to hold a significant audience, when many other games gave gone the way of the Dodo.

Heck, there was even a RollerCoaster Tycoon pinball machine – endorsed by the American Coaster Enthusiasts, no less! Not too many brands can brag about that:

In addition, many variants of the “tycoon” style of game have popped up since the initial release of the original RollerCoaster Tycoon. Games such as Prison Tycoon, Railroad Tycoon are among just a few to enter the market. Even SimCity tried to get back into the fray, with the poorly received “Sim Theme Park.”

Special thanks to Lost Parks producer, Nicholas Laschkewitsch for suggesting this post! Got a good post idea? Feel free to send it in!

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Creator of Great American Thrills Celebrates 30th Birthday

So, this is thirty.

In the first third of my life – I’ve come pretty far. I no longer require diapers, can walk on my own two feet and live on my own.

I’ve had loves of my life – only to have them move on, made countless acquaintances but only a few true friends. 

I’ve had some highs on some incredible rides and I’ve had some significant lows; none worse than when I lost my Mother suddenly back in 2004 – and then was lost, myself. 

Until, one day in 2010 – in the basement of Packard Hospital – I realized this wasn’t the life I wanted. Staring at the same model of hospital bed that I watched my Mother pass away on – soaked in blood – I vowed a change.

And so, I did just that.

I fulfilled a promise and graduated college. I pushed myself professionally at an airship company.

An airship company, people!

And I had the time of my damn life.

I met a spunky young coaster enthusiast – who to this day makes me look amazing on film, and who shares in a dream of a better tomorrow through entertainment, enthusiasm and saying the word “poo” whenever possible in our documentaries.

I’ve made some mistakes, and will sure make a ton more – but so long as I learn something from them – they’ll always help me in the long run.

All the while, each and every day I’ve lived, all 10,927 and a half of them – brings me the experience necessary to take on the next challenge. I may not have seen it at the time, but it’s all been part of this grand journey we call life.

Here’s to the next two thirds (and more!)

Kris Rowberry at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Photo by the great Nicholas Laschkewitsch