Rollercoaster Tycoon

Game review by
Mark Raby, Common Sense Media
Rollercoaster Tycoon Game Poster Image
Revived version of classic amusement park sim is still fun.

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about science, math, and economics by playing Rollercoaster Tycoon. When kids build rollercoasters, they must use basic geometric and physics skills to ensure the coaster can function safely and flawlessly. In addition, players watch how much money is being spent compared to how much is coming in via customer spending. They need to decide whether to wait until they can buy a very expensive ride, or quickly build a bunch of smaller rides to generate revenue more quickly. Rollercoaster Tycoon engages kids in learning about science, math, and economics all under the guise of building the best amusement park possible.

Positive Messages

In the game's story mode, players work to build the best amusement park in the world. The game constantly encourages the player and provides positive reinforcement when a specific goal is reached. It also provides players with a sense of empowerment, as they build the park of their dreams from the ground up and see their hard work and efforts pay off.

Positive Role Models & Representations

This game focuses on the player and uses the story to help provide direction on how to build a park. As such, the player becomes the main character, and the game acts as a support system to empower and encourage the player.

Ease of Play

Rollercoaster Tycoon has a bit of learning curve as players learn the mechanics of building roller coasters and understand all the different customization options, such as charging different prices for each ride. That being said, it isn't difficult to figure out how to construct the various rides and buildings, and there are tutorials to guide players as they figure out the controls. The game requires both creative and cerebral skills in order to successfully create a masterful theme park, but it encourages players to learn and enhance these skills rather than assume they already have them.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rollercoaster Tycoon for the 3DS is a revival of a classic game franchise that was popular for years on the PC. It allows players to design and build their own amusement park. Players manage every aspect of the park, from the price of soda and snacks to the landscape of the park. There is also a robust tool that lets players construct rollercoasters from the ground up; and good tutorials that help players learn the complexities of the building process. Rollercoaster Tycoon is very user-friendly and offers great replayability.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 and 11-year-old Written bymaddox121 September 20, 2015

Boringer than RCT3

Rude Comments-A tech kid makes fun of Old teachers "air holes".
Education-On carrer mode it teaches you about engineering
Kid, 12 years old September 29, 2013


Yay!!!!!!!! Fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What's it about?

ROLLERCOASTER TYCOON gives players the power to build their very own amusement park, complete with concession stands, rollercoasters, water rides, and more. Players start out with a modest amount of in-game money to start their park, and over time, after attracting more and more customers, they can expand to the point where Disneyland looks quaint by comparison. There is a story mode that provides direction as players are given specific tasks and goals along the way; but the heart of the game is in the \"Sandbox\" mode, which gives players a block of land and lets them to start building.

Is it any good?

Rollercoaster Tycoon is a great game because it mixes very cerebral concepts like money management, changing economic conditions, and basic physics, with the incredibly fun environment of an amusement park. The result is a game that challenges players but keeps them excited and engaged at the same time. Players may fail at times, by either creating a ride that none of the guests like, or realizing that their high prices are turning customers away, but this just results in players altering their strategy to create a better park. Players cannot "lose"; they can only keep moving forward and that is why there is such longevity to the game. There are some limitations with this sim being played on a handheld system, such as a finite number of different rides and rollercoaster types, and graphics that are probably not as polished and perfected as they could be. But anyone who has entrepreneurial dreams -- or just loves rollercoasters -- will find a lot to enjoy in this game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it takes to build an amusement park in real life. Have you ever thought about all the work that goes into creating and maintaining your favorite theme park?

  • Do you think you can learn anything by playing a simulation game such as Rollercoaster Tycoon?

  • Has this game taught you anything about how to manage your money?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
  • Subjects: Math: algebra, measurement, money
    Hobbies: building
    Social Studies: the economy
    Science: momentum, motion, physics
  • Skills: Creativity: imagination, innovation, making new creations
  • Price: $29.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Atari
  • Release date: October 16, 2012
  • Genre: Simulation
  • ESRB rating: E for (No Descriptors)
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

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