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Rollercoaster Tycoon is a real-time isometric amusement park simulation, in which the player takes the role of a theme park manager, creating rides and attractions to amuse his guests, as well as shops and stalls in case the guests are hungry.

Ride stats differ, with some being gentle and meant for "waking up" tired guests, and others being rather intense. Each and every guest has his own excitement and nausea tolerance, which will reflect on the rides' popularity and the park's tidiness. Hence, handymen are employed. Rides can also break down, and some of them can even crash, leading to a tragic ending. Mechanics can be employed to inspect rides for possible errors and to fix already broken rides. Security guards prevent vandalism in their line of sight, and entertainers keep guests happy while waiting in a long queue line.

Guests are also impressed if there is some wonderful scenery scattered around the park, leading to an increase in the park rating. They all have their opinion on the park, so it is a good idea to check their thoughts every now and then, as the park rating depends on the guests' satisfaction.

All these features require money. Loan can be raised from a bank, but the more one borrows, the more the bank asks in return. Certain rides, or even the park itself, can also be advertised, while vouchers are also available for discounts or free rides or food.


RollerCoaster Tycoon Windows Management screens
RollerCoaster Tycoon Windows Two coasters!
RollerCoaster Tycoon Windows Why did I get on this thing ? !
RollerCoaster Tycoon Windows Got a roller coaster.

Promo Images

RollerCoaster Tycoon Magazine Advertisement
RollerCoaster Tycoon Concept Art
RollerCoaster Tycoon Concept Art
RollerCoaster Tycoon Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "过山车大亨" -- Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • "White Knuckle" -- Working title
  • "RCT" -- Common abbreviation
  • "Guoshanche Daheng" -- Chinese title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Simple, elegant, and (most importantly) fun! Afterburner (496) 4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars
Please someone pull me away from this game. I cant stop playing! William Shawn McDonie (1180) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
If it were up to me, it would be game of the year for at *least* three years! Meg C (7) 4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars
(One part Bullfrog's Theme Park + One part Disney's Coaster ) over Micrpose's Transport Tycoon's Interface = Rollar Coaster Tycoon and a lot of fun Andrew Grasmeder (229) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
Everything one could want in a theme-park simulation Null McNull (35) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
Greatness takes time. Horny-Bullant (59) 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars
A great way to kill time Jennifer Johnson (15) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
A terrific, classic game any gamer will be addicted to Rick Jones (111) 4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars
One of the best games ever!! Wolfang (168) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
A Sim game for those who don't like a ton of micro-management. Chris Martin (1204) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

Critic Reviews

Game industry News (GiN) 2000 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Svenska PC Gamer Apr, 1999 91 out of 100 91 Aug 29, 2013 9 out of 10 90
Absolute Games ( Apr 05, 1999 80 out of 100 80
Computer Gaming World (CGW) Jul, 1999 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Power Play Mar, 1999 80 out of 100 80
PC Games (Germany) Mar, 1999 78 out of 100 78
PC Joker Mar, 1999 74 out of 100 74
Gry OnLine Dec 22, 2000 7 out of 10 70 Jun 02, 2000 3 out of 10 30


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"It's 99% written in x86 assembler/machine code (yes, really!), with a small amount of C code used to interface to MS Windows and DirectX." - Chris Sawyer.


The top g-force a roller coaster can get in the game is about 6 gees.

Observation Tower Development

According to Chris Sawyer, "During the game's development, the first test of the observation tower resulted in the viewing platform shooting straight off the top of the tower and crashing onto a hillside!"

Diamond Heights

The rides in the 'Diamond Heights' scenario are all named after characters in a children's play called 'Indiana Jane & The Doppelganger Diamond' written by the game's creator, Chris Sawyer, in 1997.

Chris Sawyer

Up until 1996, the game's creator, Chris Sawyer, hated riding roller coasters, but now loves them so much that he spends all his spare time riding them. Chris Sawyer spent several days ill in bed after riding one particular roller coaster 39 times!

Lightwater Valley theme park

Some of RollerCoaster Tycoon's sound effects were recorded on location at Lightwater Valley theme park in North Yorkshire, England.


The background of the game is slightly interactive. In scenarios that have lakes, click on the ducks that wade in the ponds. In any scenario, try clicking on the balloons that float away. If a guest is freely rowing around a lake, lower the land where the person is rowing and they will appear to be rowing in midair.


Chris Sawyer did all (or almost all) of the actual game programming himself, without assistance.

Sandbox mode

RollerCoaster Tycoon's format is to give you five possible scenarios to play. Each time you successfully complete a scenario, a new scenario becomes available. Interestingly, there is no "sandbox mode" (i.e a blank landscape where you can simply build an amusement park without having to worry about meeting scenario requirements) until you complete all the scenarios. Once you complete all the scenarios, a "Megapark" scenario becomes available.


  • GameStar
    • Issue 03/2000 - received a special award as "Most Surprising Hit in 1999"
  • PCGamer Magazine
    • April 2000 issue - voted #31 overall in a Readers All-Time Top 50 Games Poll
Information also contributed by Afterburner, Chris Martin, Patrick Bregger, PCGamer77, Rambutaan, and William Shawn McDonie

Related Web Sites

Brian Hirt (10041) added RollerCoaster Tycoon (Windows) on Sep 22, 1999