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...assignment one: review a computer game...

 

Title of Game reviewed: Roller Coaster Tycoon

 

TOPIC & GOAL, NON-violent SIMULATION game

Roller Coaster Tycoon is a game where you can design and build different kind of rides in a theme park. But it’s not as easy as just by designing and building rides! There are as much as around 80 scenarios in this game and each of these scenarios has a different goal. The scenarios are categorized into different groups, e.g. “real parks”. But not all scenarios are available at the start of the game. Only a few scenarios are ‘open’ at each category and one has to finish one scenario (i.e. reached the goal) for the game to ‘open’ another scenario, which has a more difficult goal. Thus it makes you want to finish the scenario that you are playing in order to play a NEW and more challenging scenario.

The different scenarios and rides available in Roller Coaster Tycoon.

Roller Coaster Tycoon is a simulation game where you have to imagine yourself as the entertainer. In this game, you would be able to find all the things related and will affect the managing of a real theme park. Your job not only include building the theme park, you have to make those people, who come to your theme park, happy, maintain the rides, landscape, workers in the theme park (handyman, mechanic, entertainer, security guard), price of different rides, preferences of the guests, cleanliness of park (e.g. have to build toilets, else will see ‘faeces’ on the pavement, which will result in guests complaining) etc.

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EASY to LEARN, EASY to PLAY

Roller Coaster Tycoon is relatively easy to learn and play. For a start, you could choose the tutorial in the game where it shows you how to start building and managing your theme park. And once you are ready to build your own, all you need to do is to press a key or click a button to continue; else you could easily start a new game by clicking at the menu in the toolbar.

Building the rides is definitely not a problem because there are available models where you can just click and placed it onto the place where you want to build it! It’s just so easy! And what’s more fun? You could actually design your own roller coaster from SCRATCH!

Although at the beginning, you might face a bit of problem as there might be too many things to manage, as the game slowly progress, you will be able to get used to the managing of the park maintenance, park management, the rides and shops. And all of these statistics or data are available in the toolbar, where you need to analyze it. Best of all, the toolbar is at the top of the screen where you can easily accessed using the mouse.

The window at the bottom shows the Park Rating.

Shortcut keys are also available to access some of the menu in the toolbar, especially those buttons that you will used more frequently, e.g. the NEW RIDE button where you can build different kind of rides, the list which showed the actions and thoughts of the guests so that you can analyze it, changing the direction to view the park etc.

The game has an OPTIONS choice where you can choose to change the currency used ($, £, ¥, € etc.), the temperature units (Degree Celsius or Fahrenheit) and distance units to those you are more familiar with. And you could even show the “real names” of the guests, which makes the game even more realistic!

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GRAPHICS, ANIMATION, SOUND & MUSIC
The design of the graphics (rides, shops, stalls and guests) are realistic and colourful. The guests can be seen walking around, sitting down, and sometimes feeling nauseous (face turned ‘green’), happy, and sleepy, drinking their coke. And can even find some guests drowning, which will subsequently result in death if he’s not ‘rescued’ in time. There’s also accidents (explosions, breakdown) if the rides, especially roller coaster, are not being maintained well.

Screenshots of a roller coaster crashing. And a window which will show the detail of that roller coaster. Toolbar at the top of the whole screen.

The animation really gave the player a feeling that he’s really in a theme park. The graphics and animation are really very detailed and well-done. And what’s more, individual window are available for each individual rides and people, where you can change the rides’ name, price, colours and lots more! The interface is just so simple and easy. But somehow the graphics on the terrain might not be as good because the land is divided into grids, thus making the terrain look a bit angular, which is not really a bit problem though.

Windows pop-up for the rides and the guests.

The sound (screams of guests on roller coaster, sound of rain) and music (music for horror, fantasy) used for different things can really bring out the atmosphere found in a theme park. And it actually makes the game not so boring by hearing the same music repeatedly. The sound quality, usage of it, from my opinion, is really Good!

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For WHO? Me? You? Is it that FUN?

This game is definitely not violent at all. No fights, no killing, no shooting. It’s suitable for children around 9 years old and above, when they get more in touch with computers. And I think it’s quite an educational game for children in the sense that, it allows the children to learn and understand the planning and managing of a theme park. To let them know that it’s not as easy as learning ABCs. And at the same time, have fun building it. Of course, it’s also suitable for adults who prefer to play simulation games, like ME! And you might even learn a bit about managing a real business.

But of course, it’s not continuously interesting all the time. When you actually finish building the whole park, earning lots of money already, it gets a bit boring. By then, you will be just waiting for the time to pass so as to reach the goal after a certain time period. This is when I’ll just leave the computer on, and went to do something else for a while. Maybe they should have this ‘fast forward’ button to make the time pass faster.

And it’s definitely not fun to play the same scenario again because the landscape looks so familiar. Although you can build the rides in different places, different ways, but the goal is the same. Luckily the game has over 80 scenarios!

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MACHINE Requirements

Roller Coaster Tycoon is really easy to install! Just put in the CD, and follow the instructions, just around 3-4 clicks and it will be done. The minimum requirement of the computer is quite low. Only need a P90MHz, 16Mb RAM, 50MB hard disk, 1MB SVGA card, Windows 9x. Oh yes! There’s a problem with Windows XP, which I’m having. You’ll need to download a patch in order to play because it’s not compatible. And to find the patch, it’s a bit troublesome because will need to go search for it on the internet.

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conclusions

Overall, Roller Coaster Tycoon is a very nice and interesting game. It’s really fun to see the theme park growing bigger and nicer and earning profits. And especially entertaining to watch the reaction of guests after a ride, or while the rides are moving. The quality of the sound and music is good enough but they could definitely add in even more varieties of music, maybe those that people are more familiar with. The details of the graphics and animation, especially for the guests is definitely good. Probably they just need to improve on the graphics on the terrain. The goal and topic of this game is very clear, and the whole game follows very closely to the theme. The difficulty of the game progress upward slowly which allows the player to learn smoothly.

Considering all the factors, positive or negative, I’ll give it a rating of 8.5/10! GOOD GAME! *GO PLAY IT!* *GO PLAY IT!* But don’t forget to do your assignment! *wink*

 

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REFERENCES

Roller Coaster Tycoon Official Webpage
RCT Mania
Utilitarians RCT
GameZone Online
NeoSeeker

 

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