Rollercoaster Tycoon – Strategy and Snow Cones

A 19 year old game can resonate in the present day.

When you find something that helps you move forward in life and still shows you have the smarts to do something… it speaks volumes.  I mentioned in the video that I see this as a strategy game and while Steam also considers it a Strategy Game, I want to put my reasoning why and which elements it takes from other more action orientated games.

A strategy game is the following:

Strategy video game is a video game that focuses on skillful thinking and planning to achieve victory.  It emphasizes strategic, tactical, and sometimes logistical challenges. Many games also offer economic challenges and exploration. They are generally categorized into four sub-types, depending on whether the game is turn-based or real-time, and whether the game focuses on strategy or tactics.

Yes it’s wikipedia definition.

I didn’t see the definition before this and it actually does prove my point however I think I need to still explain.

A classic real time war strategy along the lines of Total War, Command and Conquer and Starcraft work on a loop; get resources, protect resources, use resources, repeat.

While you are not under attack in Rollercoaster Tycoon, you do have the same situation although you start at the end of the loop and go in reverse:

  • You spend the resources to get new rides and shops that will be used to get money in.
  • You make sure that these are running efficiently so that they remain money making throughout.
  • You get the money in from people paying to ride in the park.

While it isn’t perfect because of the reverse nature of the loop, it still keeps the core elements of the strategy genre.

You also have a large number of scenarios that each require a different strategy. 

In game 1 alone, you have a basic park, a park with limited space, a park that requires everything to be built on a man-made structure.  A pre-built park that requires additional items to be built around the existing rides.

Each of these require different strategies as you cope with the scenario given to you.

Being a strategy game is more than just having your army attacking another army.  It can be about working through a series of issues that must be solved and the fact that one the puzzle changes as you gain more rides from research.  And the fact you are on the clock makes it just as exciting as any other strategy game… you just need to micromanage it less.

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