There can’t be many people in the roller coaster community who haven’t played a game from the Roller Coaster Tycoon series of games. They gave anyone and everyone the opportunity to build parks and roller coasters in a realistic way that hadn’t been seen before.
The original game was developed almost entirely by Chris Sawyer, working in his house, in a village just outside of Dunblane, Scotland. He was assisted only by a graphic designer and a music composer.
The original Roller Coaster Tycoon was initially envisioned as a transport game follow up to the highly respected Transport Tycoon. During development, however, the game was fortunately reworked, and became a theme park simulator game that would entirely redefine the genre.
Talking to EuroGamer, he remarked “In terms of success and its game design there’s no doubt that RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 takes pride of place. I still love that game and everything about it, and it’s amazing to know so many people have played and enjoyed it over the years. “
The Roller Coaster Tycoon series was a runaway success, generating more than £100 million in revenue. It remains one of the best-selling PC games series of all time, nearly two decades on from the release of the original game.
There is something profoundly British about the games and the official releases have featured parks from the UK (or interpretations of them). The Katie’s Dreamland scenario was heavily inspired by Lightwater Valley and both Alton Towers & Blackpool Pleasure Beach featured as playable parks in the Loopy Landscapes expansion for the Roller Coaster Tycoon.
Planet Coaster and Parkitect now occupy the market once dominated by the Tycoon series, but if you look behind the facades and the flashy graphics, they owe a lot to the series and the work of Chris Sawyer.