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Video Game / RollerCoaster Tycoon

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RollerCoaster Tycoon is a simulation strategy computer game series that simulates theme park management and roller coaster design. The first two games were developed by MicroProse and Chris Sawyer and published by Hasbro Interactive and later Infogrames (today Atari SA), and they were widely praised for their originality and success in simulating a theme park. The roller coaster designer was a popular feature and was praised for its high attention to detail, with many real types of coaster available, and allowing very elaborate coasters to be built.

The third game, which made the Video Game 3D Leap, was developed by Frontier Developments, who later went on the create the spiritual successor Planet Coaster. The most recent main game, titled World, is developed by Nvizzio Creations for Windows and Linux.

The original game was ported to Xbox in 2004, and ended up being mostly the same, though its controls were largely unsuited for a gamepad. A port of the original version for iOS and Android devices was planned for release in early 2013. It was put on hold when Atari filed for bankruptcy, but was ultimately Un-Canceled with the release of Classic in December 2016. The first two games (in deluxe versions with all expansions) are also available on Steam and, and an Updated Re-release version of the third game is now available on Steam and the Epic Games Store after having been unavailable for some time due to a licensing dispute. An iOS port of RCT3, without the implementation of the expansion packs, can be found on the App Store.


Fans of RCT1 and RCT2 can play on the thriving open source implementation OpenRCT2, which includes new features and online multiplayer.

The principal games in the RollerCoaster Tycoon series are:

  • RollerCoaster Tycoon (1999)
    • Corkscrew Follies (a.k.a. Added Attractions) (1999)
    • Loopy Landscapes (2000)
      • RollerCoaster Tycoon: Gold (a.k.a. Totally RollerCoaster Tycoon) (2002): Includes original game and both expansions
      • RollerCoaster Tycoon: Deluxe (2003): Includes original game and both expansions with fan-made designs for the different customizable rides
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 (2002)
    • Wacky Worlds (2003)
      • RollerCoaster Tycoon 2: Combo Park Pack (2003): Includes original game and Wacky Worlds expansion
    • Time Twister (2003)
      • RollerCoaster Tycoon 2: Triple Thrill Pack (a.k.a. Totally RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 (2004): Includes original game and both expansions
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 (2004)
    • Soaked! (2005)
      • RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Gold (2005): Includes original game and Soaked! expansion
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    • Wild! (2005)
      • RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Platinum (a.k.a. RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Deluxe Edition) (2006): Includes original game and both expansions
      • RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition (2020): Includes original game and expansions, also includes widescreen enhancements and modern hardware compatibilities.
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon 3D (2012)
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile (2014)
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon World (2016)
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic (2016): An Updated Re-release of RCT with both of its expansion packs and RCT2 for mobile devices, with the RCT2 expansion packs, a track/scenario editor and a function to import tracks and scenarios from the PC version of RCT2 available as three separate in-app purchases. Later ported to Windows and macOS computers via Steam on September 28, 2017, with Steam Cloud support and all in-app purchase content included.
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch (2016): A port of RCT World for mobile devices, but free-to-play like 4 Mobile. Was released for iOS first in 2016, then later received an Android release in 2017.
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures (2018): Originally a Nintendo Switch exclusive based on RCT World/Touch, PC version released in 2019.
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon Story (2020): A mobile game for iOS and Android based around Candy Crush-style gameplay.

This video game series provides examples of:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    • The titles of the expansion packs for first and second game have alliterations.
    • A good deal of the scenarios have them, such as Forest Frontiers, Leafy Lake, and Dynamite Dunes.
  • All Deserts Have Cacti: Most of the desert stages have a small batch of cacti somewhere. Possibly justified as in-universe examples since this is, quite literally, The Theme Park Version.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Fiasco Forest in Corkscrew Follies starts out with a fatal accident on a ride named Death Slide (unless you pause the game right after entering the scenario), and marketing campaigns for the park are disabled, presumably due to its bad reputation. You can also create your own.
    • The infamousinvoked MR BONES WILD RIDE is an example of a player-created one.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Players can build an 1890s Side Friction Coaster and a 2000s Intamin Giga coaster in the same year, located directly next to each other.
    • In the Time Twister expansion pack for RCT2, one scenario supposedly takes place during the time of Robin Hoodnote a park that has a golf coursenote  and a roller coaster with steel tracksnote .
  • And I Must Scream: It's possible to "kill" a guest by deleting a pathway they're on while they're underground. They will fall down while the guest count just drops - with no penalty to the park rating whatsoever. The guests disappear after a while, but it's still terrifying to know their deaths are never recorded.
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: Thrown in at irregular intervals across the first two games to avert Complacent Gaming Syndrome by forcing the player to try new rides and play-styles every so often.
    • Coaster Crazy from Corkscrew Follies was the first stage with a "build 10 roller coasters" challenge. And boy, it was a doozy.
    • Bumbly Bazaar from RCT2. Hope you like selling food.
    • Rainbow Valley from RCT1. Not being able to destroy any scenery objects (including those you place) or alter the landscape caught quite a few people off guard.
    • Gentle Glen from Corkscrew Follies had everyone's intensity levels locked to 5 or below. So much for roller coasters...
    • Adrenaline Heights, also from Corkscrew Follies, inverted Gentle Glen by having everyone's intensity levels over 9. Everything but roller coasters were impractical to build.
    • Gravity Gardens from RCT2. The only rides available for construction and research are all roller coasters.
    • For veterans of the first game who are used to being able to freely adjust both the park entrance and ride fees for any scenario, playing RCT2 itself is this due to all scenarios either being a "free park entrance/pay per ride" or "park entrance fee/free rides" park; scenarios featuring the latter place more emphasis on guest "turnover" instead of "retention" in order for the park to turn a profit, which may force the player to realise some degree of Video Game Cruelty Potential, such as not building bathrooms, while the former often results in guests not paying a cent.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You
  • An Exterior Designer Is You: Loopy Landscapes sets this off.
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • Guests in RCT2 are capable of not getting lost while walking along a two-or-more-tile pathway, which is a huge improvement from their behaviour in RCT1 (see the first example of Artificial Stupidity just below this trope).
    • Handymen in RCT3 are more capable of keeping themselves occupied with cleaning paths than you can ever hope to be. Once a park is up and running, it is very rare to see handymen "Walking"—they will usually be "Sweeping footpath" and making a beeline for off-screen litter.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • In RCT1, none of the guests are that smart. They really just walk down paths, and if they see an intersection, they will pick a direction at random. This will only change if they are incredibly hungry or thirsty, or if they have to go to the bathroom. Try building any non-queue path wider than a single tile; they will get lost while literally walking in circles on the pathway.
    • Guests in the first two games can only hold one food/drink item at a time. If they get thirsty while still eating their food, they will complain that they're thirsty, go to the nearest drink stall, state that they still haven't finished their food yet then go back to complaining about their thirstiness. You also have those guests who'll hit every food stall in their vicinity only to say "I still haven't finished my [food item] yet" at each and every one or who'll constantly go back at merchandise stalls just to say "I already have a [item]".
    • If any guest or staff member gets separated from a path either by being on a path that was deleted while they were still standing on it or being directly placed on a land tile with no footpath, they will wander around at complete random until they walk onto a new path.
    • If a guest has litter in their hands after eating/drinking a food or beverage, they will eventually just drop the food on the ground, even if there is a litter bin only a few steps away from them.
    • Handymen in RCT1 and RCT2 may sometimes walk towards a cluster of vomit/litter/withered flowers/full trash cans, walk past the first vomit/litter/withered flowers/full trash can, turn around (and away from the cluster) and settle that item, then continue walking away from the cluster.
    • Leaving the "Mow Grass" box checked on the handymen's task menu can cause them to only mow the grass, to the detriment of everything else, leaving paths covered in litter and vomit.
    • It is possible to "trap" handymen in RCT1 and RCT2 if they are walking along a long queue path and something comes up on an adjacent pathway near a deep end of the queue path—the handymen would then try to take the shortest route to the problem and stay within detection range of it simultaneously, resulting in them repeatedly walking along a short section of queue path, then turning around while still inside the queue path and walking back in the opposite direction, because the queue path's entrance is outside their detection range of the problem.
    • Staff in the first two games can sometimes drown on their own if their patrol area is set to adjacent, unconnected footpaths built above water.
    • Guest-driven boats in the "Boat Hire" ride in RCT1 and RCT2 often get stuck on each other when trying to re-enter the station platform; only the canoes-type boats are able to reliably navigate around due to their thinness.
    • Guests will completely miss the point of transport rides and refuse to ride them because they "want to go on something more thrilling", even if it would otherwise help them reach their destination faster. Guests whose intensity preference isn't as high will still ride them and enjoy them, but the point being is that nobody will use them for the intent of getting around without spending energy. It's a bad idea to isolate areas of the park and make them accessible only via transport ride. The Elevator, in particular, is pretty useless as a result unless you build a staircase that connects both ends.
    • When dealing with rides that have multiple stations (and using the falling peep exploit), the mechanic called might not actually fix the ride and instead wander off in their patrol area.
    • Peeps in RCT3 will often: a) leave the park if they do not see any rides when they first enter; and b) whoop whenever they get hit by a coaster.
    • Peeps have literally no clue how to solve mazes in RCT2, simply taking a random turn at every intersection. As a result, a maze of any real length ends up being nigh-impossible for them to solve. Amusingly, there's also a flaw in their randomness that results in both the hardest and easiest possible mazes having nearly the exact same comblike shape.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • The infamous fan-made "Mr. Bones' Wild Ride" was eventually made an actual attraction in the mobile game.
    • The official RCT Facebook page didn't make any posts between April and December 2020. The first post after the hiatus claimed the people running the page had been stuck on Mr. Bones' Wild Ride.
  • Attract Mode: In the form of a montage of the various scenarios in the game at the main menu. In RCT1, the montage will also show some of the additional scenarios once you install the expansion packs. RCT2's montage revolves only around Six Flags Magic Mountain (Six Flags Belgium in the demo, now Walibi Belgium), while the montage in RCT3 is a picture slideshow that will also feature any screenshots saved by the player through the use of a Photo Spot or On-Ride Photo Section. Originally, there was also going to be a video montage of the various scenarios, much like RCT1, but due to hardware limitations, it was scrapped late in development. In Classic, the park featured is the Bonus Level Tycoon Park that is unlocked when you complete all of the other main scenarios.
    • In OpenRCT you can create your own montage with the park(s) of your choice. The built-in presets include the sequences from the first two games (with the option to include or exclude the expansion packs from the RCT1 sequence) as well as an OpenRCT-exclusive one featuring custom parks.
  • Auto-Pilot Tutorial: One you can interrupt nevertheless.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Enormous queue lines. While it may look awesome to know how big of a demand a ride has, guests will start thinking "I've been queueing for [ride name] for ages" once the queue time for the ride approaches 9 minutes, and their happiness will steadily drop until they ultimately abandon the queue. Queue TVs can be placed along the queue path, scenery can be placed beside the queue path, and Entertainers can be assigned to walk along the queue length to mitigate this problem, but only to a limited extent—neither can stop your guests from leaving a ride queue after they have waited in line for more than 11 minutes. In fact, a long line may not always be a sign of a popular ride; it could be a sign that it's running inefficiently due to low capacity, especially compared to a high capacity ride with a short line.
    • Many of the inverted or more extreme coasters can be this, due to having more and more complicated track elements but having high nausea and intensity ratings that may drive guests away.
    • Long Splash Boats track designs. Even if they have phenomenal Excitement ratings on par with some of the best and/or largest roller coaster designs, the splash boats themselves travel really slowly along level track and inch up lift hills at full load. Be prepared for an onslaught of "I want to get off [ride name]" thoughts from the guests riding such track designs.
    • Similarly, while a complex and well designed mini-golf course may look nice and boast moderate Excitement, anything that runs even more than only a few (around three or four) holes will send guests in an "I want to get off [ride name]" frenzy much like the Splash Boats- which is even more likely to happen if the guests' golfing skills are not good enough to get them through a course quickly (usually not).
    • One of the starting scenarios in RCT1, Evergreen Gardens, demonstrates this in terms of park layout. It's an enormous park with lots of beautiful scenery, but its size can contribute to guests getting lost on a regular basis. The trick is to cut off a few paths (No Entry banners won't work on staff) to areas deeper in the park at the start, and slowly restore them as the park grows.
  • Being Watched: Watch a patron for about ten minutes, and they'll start to think this.
    I have the strangest feeling someone is watching me!
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Flat rides are not as exciting to have in the park as tracked rides, nor do they make as much of a profit, but they're comparatively cheap to build and can easily offset both their construction and running costs with their modest profits. In addition, due to their predefined size, they are more versatile in terms of placement. They're a necessity in any park, be it building up funds to invest in larger rides, or maintaining the bottom line while said larger rides bring in the big bucks. In fact, Gravity Garden's omission of flat rides is what makes this particular scenario so challenging, leaving the expensive roller coasters as the player's only option for ride ticket sales.
    • Sure, you can build the Shuttle Loop, Go-Kart tracks, or Magic Carpet rides a bajillion times to draw loads and loads of guests due to the sheer number of rides in your park, but it isn't that much fun.
    • Any ride with a roof can be a godsend in the rain, even the rides that struggle with excitement ratings, like the Merry-Go-Round, Haunted House, and Circus. It's possible to get the same effect by building track rides underground, but that's more difficult to accomplish, and it doesn't always work with every ride type (Go-Karts get an excitement penalty for indoor tracks).
  • Captain Obvious: Drowning guests think, "Help! I'm drowning!"
  • CamelCase: The series is stylized as RollerCoaster Tycoon.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Although putting a "No Entry" sign at the park exits will stop you from losing guests, your Park Rating will start dropping since guests who want to leave the park "cannot find the park exit", and since each guest in your park will eventually want to leave, the drop becomes more and more drastic the longer you keep those signs up. This starts a vicious cycle since the reduced Park Rating results in even more guests wanting to leave the park, while at the same time reducing the number of guests wanting to pay a visit.note  Most park objectives require a certain amount of guests by a certain deadline, or a certain amount of guests, period, both of which require a steady park rating (either a minimum of 600 by the deadline, or the park's rating cannot dip below 700 at any time lest the park be forced to shut down), so it seems that the developers anticipated this kind of move, or at least wanted the player to at least try to treat the goal of making a good amusement park seriously without too much Videogame Cruelty Potential.
  • Clown Car Base: There's no limit on how many guests can be in a Restroom or First Aid Room at any time. This can lead to funny situations.
  • Community-Threatening Construction: The scenario description for Stone Age in Time Twister states "To thwart the highway developers and preserve the mysterious ancient stone circles, you will need to construct a Stone Age theme park and turn a profit."
  • The Computer Is a Lying Bastard:
    • The original game gives us the Hurricane, a Suspended Swinging Coaster in Ivory Towers that inexplicably increases in Intensity and Nausea ratings from the low end of the Very High scale to the high end of the same scale shortly after the start of the scenario.
    • At the opposite end is High Flyer, a pre-built Suspended Swinging Coaster in the RCT3 scenario Vanilla Hills. It has ratings in the mid-5s at the very beginning of the scenario, but the ratings are halved shortly afterwards, unless you enable the Low Friction option.
    • The pre-installed Flying Coaster track designs in RCT3 are also shown with nearly double their actual ratings while selecting a saved track design. This can be rectified by making the entire design non-inverting.
    • Tropes Are Not Bad example: Sometimes, it will say a ride broke down in Classic, but it still operates as if nothing happened.
  • Crappy Carnival:
    • Ivory Towers starts out heavily vandalized with paths littered with vomit and trash. However, its predesigned rides are well made (the high-nausea Hurricane notwithstanding).
    • Rotting Heights begins as a decrepit park that has fallen from grace. It's up to you to restore it to its former glory.
    • Fiasco Forest is a dangerous park filled with poorly designed and even deadly rides.
    • And of course, you can build one of your very own if you're so inclined.
  • Creator Cameo: Chris Sawyer appears on the back of the first game’s box.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!:
    • Building a shuttle loop coaster in RCT2 and Classic has an additional step compared to RCT1: you need to add a steep hill behind the station platform, otherwise the train will overshoot the station on the return trip and crash.
    • Several coaster types that have Powered Launched and/or Revered-Inclined Launched Shuttle modes in RCT1 do not have them in RCT2.
    • If you're used to playing the expanded version of RCT1, you will likely have it ingrained in your mind that you can scroll windows by holding down the right mouse button and dragging.note  If you ever end up going back to playing the original game with no expansions, prepare to agonize over the fact that you have to scroll windows the using the traditional buttons and scrollbar.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • The "Spinner" ride from Megaworld Park has a drastically different appearance based on the game you play, because of the fact that the Steel Mini Roller Coaster's Spinning Cars don't exist outside of RCT1. Importing the scenario into OpenRCT2 change it into a Mini Roller Coaster that uses Spinning Wild Mouse cars.
    • Terror Town is completely devoid of any rides in RCT1, but it has some trams (that can be easily demolished for some money) in Classic.
    • Whiplash from Fiasco Forest in RCT1 is a Steel Mini Roller Coaster. In Classic, it is a Wild Mouse Roller Coaster instead.
  • Derelict Graveyard:
    • Rotting Heights from Corkscrew Follies is essentially a garbage dump in its current state, with broken down rides and paths.
    • Renovation from Wacky Worlds puts the player in charge of a European-themed amusement park that is largely filled with overgrown trees, drab scenery objects, rides that need to be fixed and even a roller coaster that is literally broken down.
  • Developers' Foresight: Most of the non-mechanical, non-electric rides in the first two games never break down and don't require maintenance by the mechanics. There are a few exceptions though, such as the Spiral Slide.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • Any expensive coaster that gives a high excitement rating. (e.g. the Vertical Roller Coaster in 1 often gives high excitement ratings coupled with surprisingly low nausea ratings, but be prepared to bite far into your loan in order to build one.)
    • Wooden and Corkscrew Roller Coaster designs in RCT1 and RCT2 with high excitement ratings tend to have even higher intensity ratings, which may drive guests away. This is downplayed with the former in RCT2 due to tweaks in the game's code.
    • RCT2 introduced the block brake track piece for several roller coaster types, as well as a new "continuous circuit block-sectioned" mode. While the use of block brakes will result in a lower excitement rating since the coaster's cars/trains will have their speed cut when they travel over any block brake piece, resulting in a lower average ride speed, a well-designed track that uses block brakes in conjunction with block-sectioned mode will never experience the "brakes failure" breakdown, while at the same time being able to carry many more guests than a ride that does not use them.
    • The Air Powered Vertical Coaster is a generally an endgame roller coaster that is generally available in much later scenarios. However, it is generally untouched unless one is skilled with it, as it is a very expensive roller coaster. Also, you have to keep in consideration the speed the train goes through unless if it wants to be stuck on the ride forever, as it can only get launched a certain speed. Additionally, the intensity and nausea ratings are always high, so one must be careful with turns, and parks that have uneven terrain can be hell for this ride. However, once you figure out a good design for one, you can have one that has an 8.00 or higher excitement rating!
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • RCT1 had many odd features that weren't present in the Expansion packs:
      • The Steel Mini Roller Coaster did not have banked curves. Those were added in Loopy Landscapes.
      • Most scenarios in the original and in Corkscrew Follies didn't have all of the ride upgrade features. Loopy Landscapes has all of the ride upgrades.
      • Music was only limited to the Merry-Go-Round and the Bumper Cars, and even they could only play their exclusive themes. In the expansion packs and later games, the Bumper Cars theme could be played on any ride, but the Merry-Go-Round kept its exclusive theme.
      • In the base RCT1 and Corkscrew Follies scenarios, you could charge an admission fee for both park entry and the rides. Taken to its logical extreme, some guests could be made broke right after entering the park! The Loopy Landscapes scenarios allowed only charging for rides, while all scenarios in RCT2 allow charging for either park entry or rides, but never both at once. OpenRCT2 has a cheat that allows charging for both, but with the side effect of not having the "free entry" promotions available for both the park and the rides.
    • The first game had weird ride names such as Whoa Belly and Scrambled Eggs. The second game gave them more realistic names. The former was renamed Launched Freefall (and applied for the Reverse Freefall Coaster as well) with the latter becoming the Twist.
    • In RCT1, one of the paint options for vertical terrain faces is a set of windows built into a concrete-like surface, which can be used to give the impression that a piece of raised land is a building. This plays into the game's mechanics dictating at anything built underground is sheltered, which affects guest behaviour whenever it rains. This paint option was changed into a scenery wall piece in RCT2, giving the player more flexibility when it comes to the placement of the windows, but also replacing the underground perks with scenery perks instead, which are considerably different.
    • Loopy Landscapes added a feature to RCT1 that allows for paths to be matched with different sets of automatic support structures when they are built above ground level. This feature is not present in later games.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Most games in the series have a set of cheat codes that trigger when they are set as a guest name; said codes are the names of the developers or significant individuals within the theme park community, and changes the named guest's behaviour, often to reflect something about the actual individual in real life.
    • Clicking on swimming or flying ducks will make them quack. In the third game, there is a chance that a duck will lose all its feathers each time it is clicked.
    • Clicking on floating balloons will make them pop. In RCT3, they can also be popped while peeps hold them, scaring the pants off of them.
    • In RCT3, one of the randomly generated comments that VIP Clint Bushton makes while signing autographs is, "Your name is Monica...?!!"
  • Evolving Title Screen: In RCT1, installing the two expansion packs will update the title screen with new sequences featuring the added scenarios.
  • Excited Show Title!: The expansion packs for RCT3, Soaked! and Wild!
  • Expansion Pack:
    • RCT1's packs added many unique attractions, theming categories, scenarios (including the first "money doesn't matter" scenario, Arid Heights), and invoked an Evolving Title Screen.
    • RCT2's packs were purely aesthetic add-ons; all the new rides were just reskins of existing ones, and the new scenarios, while featuring new themes, were essentially the same as the base RCT2 scenarios in terms of gameplay.
    • RCT3's packs added entirely new park types (water parks in Soaked and zoos in Wild).
    • Fans have also made their own for RCT2 and RCT3.
  • Expansion Pack Past: Time Twister, literally. And future too.
  • Fake Difficulty:
    • Guests often overestimate their tolerance for nausea-inducing rides, and offering barf bags is not an option. They will throw up on your nice clean paths once they exit. You can provide benches for them to sit down and try to recover (which rarely helps much as guests will start walking/not use benches if they are only slightly sick, but still sick enough to have the capacity to puke) and First Aid stations in the sequel, but still, no barf bags.
    • Employees will ignore "No Entry" signs, so if you start out with a huge, empty park and use these signs to keep guests within the part you're developing, you can expect your employees to go AWOL a lot if you don't set up patrol areas. (Or simply remove a piece of path at the entrance to the off-limits area.) And you'd better not give your handyman orders to mow the grass unless you want him to do absolutely nothing else for the rest of his career.
    • A Station Brakes Failure can happen at any time and usually cause disasters, which will make a roller coaster's popularity and your park rating plummet (and in the first game, outright preventing it from functioning altogether).
    • The first two games severely limit what the player can do while the game is paused (the player can rename things and tweak the theming of a ride, and that's about it). This doesn't sound so bad until you realize that designing a custom coaster layout involves a lot of trial and error, especially if you want it to make use of the topography. Every second spent tweaking this or that segment of a new coaster is a second the player can't focus on other pressing issues or plunk your handyman down next to the vomit that's been piling up. RCT3 is the first game in the series that allows the player to do almost any kind of construction or terraforming even when paused.
    • The landscape in scenarios with no money. Once you can get past a few mental blocks, you can flatten the park (unless you're not allowed to), making Icicle World's and Lucky Lake's big hurdles (horribly uneven terrain) a non issue.
    • The excitement rating of a Go-Kart track will decrease if it is built underground.
    • The sequel prevents you from charging for both park and ride entry, which can result in many guests not paying a cent when they leave, or never leaving the park after paying the entrance fee, leaving many potential profits unfulfilled.
  • Fan Remake: OpenRCT2 is an open-source remake of RCT2, with one of the biggest draws being the inclusion of online multiplayer co-op play.
  • Free Rotating Camera: This is one of the main perks of the third game. The camera's "Advanced" mode is this trope in its entirety, having virtually no restrictions on how the player can view the park apart from a tiny above-the-ground altitude requirement.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Some newer PC have trouble playing RCT3 judging from the Steam user reviews, where the game either crashes so often or having mouse issues related to high DPI settings. The rest had no issues.
  • Game Mod:
    • It's buggy and cumbersome with the first installment. Thankfully, RCT2 and RCT3 made things easier, although modders still need special third-party programs to make their own mods. RCT3, in particular, is a testament of how a game's longevity can be enhanced by making the modding (and mod installation) process easy enough for players, with several websites focusing primarily on mods for the game well over a decade after its initial release.
    • There are also people who have created "custom rides" you can install. No, not custom coasters; custom flat rides with new animation and everything. There was a major limit to what they could do with this, because they all had to be based on — and thus use the same stats and capacity as — an existing ride, but the results could still be pretty creative.
  • Gray Is Useless: RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 grays out pieces that can't be used in the track editor, and in the tutorial, inaccessible menu options.
  • Holiday Mode: The third game's menu plays horror-themed music on Halloween.
  • I Fell for Hours: You can delete pathways that guests are on top of (or even make them fall down from a highly elevated exit), which will cause them to fall really slowly onto the next piece of path, or the terrain, below them. This especially applies if the guest is both exhausted and nauseous, in which case they fall even slower.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence:
    • Every ride needs to have adjacent flat tiles to place an entrance and exit building that sticks outwards from the side of the station platform in order to connect to paths. Due to the game's isometric grid layout, it is possible to place down rides without being able to connect them properly. Said buildings also require additional height clearance, which can sometimes result in track/path pieces being unable to connect because of a few meters of clearance.
    • In RCT3 the increasingly detailed terrain also means paths can be at microscopically different heights and not connect up properly, giving the irritating warning messages that 'guests cannot reach the entrance of Ride X', or 'mechanics cannot reach Ride Y, ensure it is connected to a path'.
  • Irony: The "forest" in Fiasco Forest is...a small cluster of trees inside the park. The land surrounding the park has absolutely no trees at all.
  • Jerkass: Vandalsnote  will intentionally damage park property and whine about everything, lowering the park rating. Dealing with them involves either isolating them until they cool off or drowning them (and boost the rating).
  • Karma Meter:
    • Making things difficult for your guests, or killing them in accidents, will cause your Park Rating to drop, which results in more guests leaving, fewer guests wanting to visit the park, and ultimately affecting your profits. Seemingly averted in RCT1 and RCT2 if guests drown or fall into the void.
    • Inverted if a guest is a vandal or unhappy; offing them will boost your park's rating, which makes sense in a sadistic way (fewer unhappy guests = better reputation).
  • Lava is Boiling Kool-Aid: Except for the boiling part. In the second game's scenario editor, there is a menu to choose between blue water, green water, acid water or orange water that is supposed to look like lava. Of course, in a theme park, everything is fake.
    • There is also an official patch for the second game that added pink as a Palette Swap colour for water, which also affected water in rides, such as the Log Flume or Splash Boats.
  • Later Installment Weirdness:
    • The mountain tool in RCT1 is only available in the Scenario Editor in RCT2. OpenRCT2 re-adds this feature to normal gameplay, while RCT3 expands the original tool into a full landscaping suite that is available during scenario editing and normal gameplay.
    • The ability to build wall pieces on the same tile as a path was removed in RCT3 despite it being standard in RCT1 and RCT2. It is re-added into RCT3 as a cheat code with the Soaked! expansion pack.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: The music your rides play do this whenever they break down. Actually justified with the carousel, which is limited to playing a medley of classical music on an apparently built-in mechanical organ. On the other rides... not so much.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: RCT3 suffers from massive loading times, especially with expansion packs and custom scenery installed. The more things you have in a park, the longer it will take to load.
  • Loophole Abuse: In RCT3, you only need to build an entrance and exit gantry for a tracked ride to work; the ride's cars don't need to safely return.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The penultimate scenario in Soaked!, "Mountain Spring", requires a monthly ride income of $2,500 to get the Gold award. note  Unfortunately the weather in the park is very rainy, and guests won't be as keen to ride the big roller coasters in the rain, so beating the scenario relies on getting lucky to have a relatively dry month so the income beats the target.
  • Made of Explodium: In the first two games, if two roller coaster trains collide with a combined speed of 48 km/h (30 mph), one of them (usually the faster of the two) will explode. If a car goes off the track, no matter how low the velocity or short the fall, it explodes. In RCT1 and RCT2, this always kills the riders. Even something like a rubber raft for the Water Slide will go kaboom.
  • Made of Iron: In the third game, the peeps are invincible. They can and will survive falling from great heights, being flung from coasters, being hit by coasters, being blown up and treading water for hours. All while smiling and cheering.
    • Guests in RCT1 and RCT2 take no fall damage, so they can fall from an elevated ride exit onto a lower path or the terrain without any ill effect, other than the occasional message telling you there's no path to the ride exit.
  • Marathon Level: Scenarios generally take around 3 hours on average to complete in one sitting, and scenario where the objective is to build 10 roller coasters or have a high guest count tend to take a lot more than that. RCT3, Classic, and OpenRCT2 include fast-forward buttons to downplay this.
    • Nevermore Park in the first game is a good example. You have to build 10 different roller coaster types (actually 9, since one is in the park already) with a minimum length of 4593 feet (or 1400 meters).
  • Meaningful Name: Some parks have them. Fiasco Forest, for example, is a dangerous park built in the forest. The latter part of the name is actually non-indicative, as only the park itself has trees.
  • Medal of Dishonor: There are skull-and-crossbones awards for the "theme park with the lowest value", the "dirtiest theme park" and the "most dangerous theme park" (if you have too many roller coaster accidents). In fact, for all positive awards, a negative one exists.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: RCT2 is often viewed as this to RCT1 since it is visually similar and only makes a few improvements to the underlying game engine.
  • Mood Whiplash: Guests can have highly conflicting thoughts simultaneously. "Help! I'm drowning!" "This park is very clean and tidy."
  • Never My Fault: Vandals will destroy property while often thinking "The vandalism here is really bad."
  • Non-Indicative Name: The "guests are more difficult to attract" option in scenario design might have been better named "guests strongly prefer long coasters" — it severely nerfs the guest-attracting potential of everything else, but the attraction potential of coasters that meet the requirements is tripled, so players who are building long coasters anyway will actually find guests much easier to attract.
  • Noob Cave: Forest Frontiers and Leafy Lake in the original, Arid Heights for Loopy Landscapes, Electric Fields in RCT2.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Some of the scenarios are trying to fix theme parks best described as "death traps." You can also create your own.
  • Obvious Beta: World when it was initially released suffered from this pretty greatly, generally having a very unfinished feel to it and being rife with bugs.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The "Harder Guest Generation" option lets the player implement one of these. Due to the way the game calculates various metrics, including guest spawns and ride appeal, the most efficient way of playing the game is to counterintuitively build lots of tiny coasters with perhaps only one or two elements, which when built en mass will provide better results than a single large coaster. "Harder Guest Generation" adjusts the algorithm by making it extremely difficult to gain more than 1,000 guests without building lengthy coasters, which inevitably pushes coaster design towards how you'd expect them to be built in reality.
  • Old Save Bonus:
    • Tracks from RCT1 can be imported into RCT2 while RCT3 accepts track designs from both games, although they might not function correctly due to changes to the physics.
    • In OpenRCT2, having an RCT1 installation adds its scenarios, landscaping textures, and booster pieces for coasters to the game.
  • Panda-ing to the Audience: Panda World, a RCT2 scenario, was created and released by Chris Sawyer himself for free after the game's original release. Upon loading it for the first time, the scenario adds a new "Panda" scenery theming, as well as Panda-themed cars for the Junior Roller Coaster, on top of the game's current installation.
    • A panda is also the default costume for entertainers.
  • Percussive Maintenance: In the first two games, a vehicle malfunction or jammed restraint/door is usually solved by a mechanic giving the offending vehicle/car with the restraint/door a good kick, and the dreaded (Station) Brakes Failure is solved by the mechanic hitting the rear section of the ride's station brakes five times with a hammer. In the third game, mechanics fix broken down shops by kicking them.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: You can make small compact ride designs that, if designed properly, can have ride ratings similar to ride designs with much larger footprints. Go-Karts and the Wild Mouse rides are a few of these in mind. You ultimately have to work with this as well in Micro Park, the final scenario in Loopy Landscapes and Classic.
  • Player Tic: Building queue paths as long as possible, despite being actively discouraged to prevent guests from complaining about queueing for too long.
  • Product Placement: RCT2 features pre-designed coasters and parks based on Six Flags, and the Soaked! expansion for RCT3 has ride templates based on Hersheypark.
  • Punny Name: The V.I.P.s in the third game, such as former US-President Clint Bushton, Idol Singer Kara Oki, olympic diving legend Bob Waterman and actress Cami O.
  • Rare Vehicles:
    • The wooden Reverser Coaster is based on a unique design called the "Hooper Reverser" built in Salt Lake City in 1914 and long since demolished.
    • The Side Friction coaster was once a common design but into the 21st century only a handful are left standing.
    • Heartline coasters are very rare as well - only one company successfully produced them in the '90s, with less than a dozen made, most of which are of the same design ("Ultratwister"). Only a few remain in operation.
    • It is possible in RCT3 to create a looping water slide similar to the dangerous, real-life one found in New Jersey's Action Park in the 1980s.
    • The Flying Saucers ride is based on a real Disneyland ride which operated from 1961 to 1966.
  • Save Scumming: A good way to minimize the damage caused by crashes.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In RCT1 and RCT2, if a guest unintentionally walks onto the queue of a ride with too high of an intensity for them, they will jump in place (complete with eyes bugging out and hair standing on end) before backing away.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • In the RCT2 scenario, Six Flags Magic Mountain, the supposed idea of the scenario is to manage the entire park over a long period of time, building new rides to reach the park value objective and generating a profit from the park entrance fee and food/drink/merchandise to repay the loan; reaching the objective would take several years for most players. However, the player can also delete Goliath and either Flashback or X immediately upon starting the scenario and repay the loan from the money generated from selling these two rides; done this way, the scenario completes itself on 2nd March, Year 1, which is one game day[[note]]about 20-30 actual seconds later!
    • Similar to Six Flags Magic Mountain, the Wacky Worlds scenario, Renovation, challenges the player to restore a Derelict Graveyard and repay the loan while building enough rides to reach the park value objective, which takes a few years. An alternative way to complete this scenario quickly is to demolish all rides and stalls and repay the loan from the cash obtained, set research to No Funding, spend a year demolishing all scenery items in the park that give money, then embark on a construction spree, Whoring on the construction of flat rides and compact coaster designs, using only the cash obtained from demolishing the scenery, to make the park value skyrocket to the objective.
  • Serious Business: Several roller coaster designers have used the game as a way to present new ride ideas for Alton Towers and Thorpe Park.
  • Simple, yet Awesome:
    • The regular Steel Roller Coaster (a.k.a. the Looping Roller Coaster in RCT2) might not be very fancy, but it is probably one of the most practical ones in the game because it has a pretty decent variety of features (loops, helices, a powered launch option...), doesn't cost too much, usually has pretty reasonable intensity and nausea ratings in relation to its excitement ratings, is not terribly difficult to build to decent standards, and is relatively widely available even in the original scenarios (some of the others like the Steel Twister and Flying coasters didn't show up until the expansion packs).
    • Introduced in Corkscrew Follies, the River Ride/Splash Boats is basically nothing more than a Log Flume ride on a grander scale. Only... the fact that it is on a grander scale is what makes it such a great ride to have for your park. Make a River Ride long enough, with a station big enough to obtain maximum guest riders, and you can have a ride that supports over 100 guests just on this one ride alone which helps immensely if you're struggling with your parks becoming too crowded. In RCT2, you can have up to 31 boats, so if your ride is long, guests can still get on it. Even better is that a well designed one that goes through tunnels can have an excitement rating in the 8.00-9.00 scale. The kicker that seals the deal is that the River Ride can support astonishing levels of height, so you could theoretically build this ride over everything in your park; even roller coasters.note 
      • Though if one is too long, it becomes Awesome, but Impractical: The only significant downside to the River Ride/Splash Boats is the extreme slow speed the boats travel. While you could reach excitement ratings that go into very high numbers, if the ride lingers on for more than too long guests will begin to complain and utter "I want to get off [Ride Name]", draining their Happiness by a considerable amount.
    • Corkscrew Follies added covered train cars for the Miniature Railroad. This isn't so special when someone gets used to using them and they reduce the rides stats a little too, but when playing through the original game you'll desperately wish they were around, especially when it's raining!
  • Shout-Out: Rock 1 Style, a track that you can put on a ride from the first games expansions, and the second game entirely, uses the same song as San Francisco Night from Driver with a high pitched guitar solo, an additional ambient guitar and an equalized reverb effect to make it sound like it's coming through the ride's speakers. Justified, considering both games had Allister Brimble as their composer.
    • Fiasco Forest's disastrous layout and dangerous rides are reminiscent of Action Park, the notorious New Jersey water park that saw hundreds of injuries and six deaths during its lifetiime.
  • Skewed Priorities: As guests' more trivial thoughts are not automatically overriden by more urgent ones, this can ensue:
    "I want to go home"
    "I'm lost!"
    "I can't find the park exit"
    "The music is nice here"
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Can be player invoked by creating a violent, high-intensity and nausea inducing roller coaster and having songs like this blaring.
  • Super Drowning Skills: In all the games, you can grab individual park guests and place them wherever you want, ostensibly to recover them from getting lost in your park or to move employees to troublesome areas. You can also choose to drop them in water. In the first two games, if you don't pick them back up after a few seconds, they will drown, reducing your park population by one. Averted in the third, however, as they will just keep treading water until you move the camera away from them, during which time they'll just appear somewhere else in the park.
  • Swan Boats: The games have swan boats as an option for boat rides.
  • Terrain Sculpting: Players can reshape the land to suit their needs. The cost is usually high enough that the player will only make limited changes.
  • The Theme Park Version: The games in the series, due to their very nature, but the Wacky Worlds expansion for RCT2 in particular.
  • Third Is 3D: RCT3, which also crashed into the Polygon Ceiling because it was so demanding for its era that not many people could run it at an acceptable frame rate.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Low-capacity rides, such as the Spiral Slide and Space Rings, have lower profit margins by design, and are generally inferior to rides with higher guest capacities. However, the former still generate foot traffic to the park, tend to be cheaper, and reach full capacity quickly, so in scenarios where ride choices and/or funds are limited, they are still viable options even if you build multiple copies of them.
  • Time Abyss: Youtuber Marcel Vos has built the largest maze possible in the game engine, cheesing it by building only left-side indents to exploit the pathfinding algorithm to create a maze that's artificially difficult for guests to complete. He estimated it would take a whopping average of 6.6 x 10^19 758 years for a guest to finish it. For comparison, it's estimated that the last supermassive black hole will have evaporated through Hawking Radiation in 1.7×10^106 years. Vos helpfully provides a few references for the sheer time scale involved. For instance, if you picked up every atom in the universe and waited one Googol note  years between each atom, by the time you're done you wouldn't even be close enough to the maze being finished.
  • Truth in Television:
    • The regulation of building roller coasters at tree-height is a real challenge faced by English theme parks such as Alton Towers. There are real coasters with interlocking loops, such as the 'Loch Ness Monster' at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. And (formerly) a wooden coaster with a vertical loop.
    • Despite how ludicrous it may sound, there are actually public restrooms that cost money.
    • The Stand-Up Roller Coaster and Heartline Twister Coaster in RCT1 and RCT2 have higher intensity ratings than all other coaster types. This may seem odd to players who don't know the real-life history of both ride types—they were invented by the now-defunct Japanese ride manufacturer TOGO, which was very notorious for manufacturing roller coasters that were incredibly rough. The Heartline Twister Coaster takes this trope further with its low excitement rating—one of the primary drawbacks of its real-life TOGO counterpart, the Pipeline Coaster, was that the enclosed pipe structure often obstructed the riders' view of the surroundings.
    • The Tilt Coaster in RCT3 exists in real life, with Gravity Max, opened in 2002, being the first coaster of this type.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: In the third game, you can create a situation where a track is at X Height, the station is at X.3 Height, and its impossible to 'thread the needle' and finish the track. It doesn't happen often, but when it does happen, expect to rage.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • In RCT1 and RCT2, one of the most basic ways to kill guests is to plant a pool of water right in front of the exit of an otherwise perfectly safe ride. As soon as guests exit the ride, their Super Drowning Skills will kick in.
    • Depending on the scenario and game, the player may be able to research the Steel Roller Coaster, Corkscrew Roller Coaster, LIM-Launched Roller Coaster or Launched Freefall in RCT1 and RCT2. These rides have launch modes that do not require the player to construct a full-circuit ride, so the player can just build a station platform, set any launch speed, open the ride and watch as guests board the ride's vehicle and get launched into a fiery death.
    • It's easy to just drown all your guests or make them crash brutally, but one person decided to take cruelty to a whole new level. Behold, MR BONES WILD RIDE. Its max speed is 5mph downhill, and consisted of 30,000 feet of track at the start, growing larger as the riders continued. It takes in real life 70 minutes to complete, or four years in-game. Then, after everyone is thoroughly exhausted, hungry, and unhappy, the exit line leads straight back to the queue. It was so bad that the general consensus was that drowning was the kinder fate.
      • Now it has even more cruel version - Kairos the Slow. It takes 210 real days to complete, or several thousands of in-game years.
      • Taken to the maximum limit with this roller coaster. It takes 135 real years to complete.
    • Dropping a guest who says "I'm not hungry/thirsty" into a pit and leaving them there.
    • In RCT1 and RCT2, dropping a guest into a body of water when they complain about being bored or wanting to go home. This appears to be a relatively common practice amongst players.
    • RCT3 one-upped the cruelty potential with Ragdoll Physics (which was apparently marketed as a feature of the game), one example being that the player can build an upward path on a hill, wait for peeps to walk to the highest end of the path, then delete the path tile they are on, which causes them to trip and roll down the hill into any peeps climbing the path, starting a human avalanche!
    • Wild! lets the player find out what happens if a zebra is dropped into a lion's enclosure. Hint: no more zebra.
    • The player can build a clone of the Euthanasia Coaster, a ride purposely designed to kill its riders. In RCT3, placing a LIM launched coaster on the top of a mountain, which then dives straight down to the bottom of the world before doing a loop-de-loop will make fifty gravities of force. Guests can't die from crushing forces, though they will immediately vomit out their guts when they leave the ride. Excitement will be zero, and intensity will be "Uber-extreme"
    • You can also charge guests to use the restroom. However, there is a limit to how much you can charge; digging through the OpenRCT2 code reveals that the amount of money guests are willing to pay scales with their Bathroom need. The upper limit is $0.60, which the guests will only pay if their Bathroom bar is about 95% full.
    • Giving your guests free or cheap french fries. Doesn't seem cruel at first, but putting extra salt on your fries makes your guests thirstier. Then you can charge through the roof for drinks... and the restrooms, as mentioned above.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: If guests die in your park, intentional or not, your park rating will drop. Strangely, this will not happen if you let guests fall to their death underground. In addition, if a ride crashes, people will avoid it for a few months claiming it's unsafe even if nobody died in the crash.
  • Video Game Settings:
  • Video Game Time: The timing of how long a visitor takes is wildly different from that of construction and management, leading to people spending what are essentially months or even years in the park.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: In the first two games, at least, guests throwing up (which happened with frustrating frequency) wasn't particularly graphic due to the simple graphics, but it gets extra credit for not even using a realistic sound effect, opting instead for the sound of coughing.
  • Wide Open Sandbox:
    • In RCT1, Mega Park's scenario objective is "Have Fun!", while completing a scenario with a goal turns that park into a sandbox.
    • In RCT2, while the game didn't have one, you can create your own scenarios and make the conditions easy enough to unlock the sandbox almost immediately.
    • RCT3 comes with a built-in Sandbox Mode, featuring a park with the maximum possible size, unlimited funds, no goals, and all rides, stalls, and scenery themes available.
  • You Are Number 6: In a base installation of RCT1, the guests are unnamed and only identified by a number, using the "Guest ###" format. Expansion packs gave the option to show realistic names instead, although it had to be turned on manually. The sequels have this as the default setting, though the option to return to numbered guests is available.
  • You Have Researched Breathing:
    • Happens with some scenery items in RCT3. For example, you may be able to build a tall brick wall at the start, but need to research a smaller, diagonal wall.
    • Some scenarios don't start you off with basic amenities or standard roller coaster types available to build, such as the Wooden Roller Coaster, Information Kiosks, drink stalls, toilets, or a combination of these and more. Harmonic Hills and Swamp Cove are two infamous RCT1 scenarios that give you very limited shop/stall variety at the start.note 


Video Example(s):


Roller Coaster Dunkcoon

Dunkey tortures the AI crowd in several ways, from shooting at them to releasing a live gorilla.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / VideoGameCrueltyPotential

Media sources:

Main / VideoGameCrueltyPotential