RollerCoaster Tycoon is a construction and management simulation video game that simulates amusement park management. Developed by MicroProse and Chris Sawyer and published by Hasbro Interactive, the game was released for Microsoft Windows on March 31, 1999 and was later ported to the Xbox game console. It is the first game in the RollerCoaster Tycoon series and is followed by RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, and the upcoming RollerCoaster Tycoon 3D.
RollerCoaster Tycoon itself has received two expansion packs: Added Attractions (released in the US as Corkscrew Follies) in 1999, and Loopy Landscapes in 2000. Two special editions were released: RollerCoaster Tycoon Gold/Totally RollerCoaster in 2002, which contained the original game, Corkscrew Follies, and Loopy Landscapes; and RollerCoaster Tycoon Deluxe in 2003, which contained the content in Gold plus more designs for the different customizable rides.
Chris Sawyer originally wanted to create a sequel to his highly successful Transport Tycoon, but after becoming obsessed with roller coasters, he changed the project into RollerCoaster Tycoon. Sawyer wrote RollerCoaster Tycoon almost entirely in assembly language, which was rare for a game published in the late 1990s. Some functions were written in C to interface with the Windows operating system.
The game was to be called White Knuckle for the majority of the game's development. However, to follow the tradition of the Tycoon titles, the game was renamed accordingly.
For his efforts, Sawyer received over $30 million of the $180 million brought in by the highly popular game.
A feature length movie adaptation is set to begin production, as Sony Pictures Animation has pre-emptively picked up rights to the video game. Harald Zwart is spearheading the development of the big-screen adaptation as a possible directing project and will executive produce. David Ronn and Jay Scherick are attached to write what will be a live-action/CGI hybrid. Chris Sawyer is represented by London based interactive rights agency, Marjacq Micro Ltd.
The premise of the game is to complete a series of preset scenarios by successfully building and maintaining amusement parks. The key to any park is building a large amount and diverse range of rides for the visitors. Players can choose from dozens of roller coaster types and can also build log flumes, carousels, bumper cars, haunted houses, go karts, ferris wheels and swinging ships, among other rides. The player also has the option of building their own roller coaster designs as well as other rides by laying out individual track pieces, choosing the direction, height, and steepness, and adding such elements as zero g rolls, corkscrews, vertical loops, and even on-ride photos, using a tile-based construction system. The intensity and type of rides must be balanced, as visitors' preferences vary significantly from person to person. For example, some guests prefer exciting rides and have high nausea tolerance levels, while other guests are just the opposite.
Roller coasters must be designed carefully so that they do not crash. Rides must be properly maintained, for example by increasing ride inspection time, or the chance of a crash caused by ride malfunction increases (very old attractions are also highly susceptible to such malfunctions). When a crash happens, and the player opens the ride without any modifications, the guests will not enter the ride for their safety. In an event of a crash, park guests will die, which will drastically decrease the park rating and will lower the park's popularity.