An Evening With RollerCoaster Tycoon

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“So, is this a game I have to play with you or can I play it by myself?”

Our first park.

Wyatt and I had just completed our first RollerCoaster Tycoon scenario when he asked me if this was a with-dad or without-dad game. I told him that once he was more familiar with how to run the game’s toolset, he’d be allowed to play by himself.

Already today, I’ve been asked if we can play more tonight. Guess my evening dance card is partially filled.

I would like to thank the RavingLuhn for his article “The Definitive RollerCoaster Tycoon Experience“. His easy to follow guide helped me bring RollerCoaster Tycoon into 2018. Check it out if you are looking to relive the glory days of RollerCoaster Tycoon and it’s expansions. The game is still a lot of fun to play.

Counterfeited Simulation

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Christmas, 1989. 

I was 8 years old.  I remember opening a bulky rectangular package that contained something called a Game Boy. My aunts and uncles seemed more excited about it than I was. What was this grey brick-like device? What were Super Mario Land and Tetris? More importantly, why would I want to play these games on the go versus on the TV? I was a kid. I had no clue that I was holding the portable future of video games in my hands.

Today my iPod is a constant companion. When I’m not listening to music in the car, I find myself browsing the net or playing the latest iOS game on the Apple-made device.

Now, I’m a sucker for a good simulation game. I grew up with Theme Park, Sim City 2000, and Roller Coaster Tycoon. I love spending hours micro-managing and designing environments for my virtual denizens. Because of my love for this genre, I have been suckered into what can only be called mere imitations.

Simulations are not all created equal on the iOS. Some, most, are built around artificial time constraints and real life money transactions. Want to increase your build time? Buy a 1000 Tower Bucks for $5.99. These “games” are usually fun for the first few hours and then they slowly reveal their true selves. A digital gaming relationship of sorts gone down the drain. Like a spurned lover, the following is a list of such games that have suckered me  in only to drop kick me later on:

The above games–and there are many many more like them–boil down to a simple equation:

time constraints + breeding monsters/building cities/routing planes + virtual money = supporting video game heresy

Disguised as simulations, these games prey upon your time and offer what is ultimately a counterfeit experience versus something real such as Game Dev Story.

As a follower of Christ, I find myself constantly sifting, weighing, and comparing what I am being told daily versus what the Bible says. I don’t want to settle for the counterfeit and end up cheated out of my time and money. I want the truth. I want the real deal. Don’t settle. No matter how flashy the gameplay may be; no matter how deceptive the lie is that you’ll never find anyone to marry. Don’t settle. God always has a better way. There is always a better alternative than embracing and engaging the counterfeit.