The Best Roller Coaster Games for Your PC

Can't get enough of roller coasters? Build your own!

rollercoaster tycoon game screenshot

BagoGames/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

If you're one of those people who just can't get enough of theme parks and roller coasters, odds are you'll enjoy the many roller coaster simulation games for the PC. These games let you create your very own theme parks, complete with the roller coasters of your dreams. You'll manage growth, budgets, weather, building conundrums and all the other business challenges that real-world theme park managers face, in a realistic interface that follows the rules of physics as you build. 

A few manufacturers have turned out such games through the years, but among roller coaster games for the PC, one franchise stands above the rest in terms of popularity: "RollerCoaster Tycoon" by Hasbro Interactive. Users cite authenticity, flexibility, intuitiveness, support, and fun as reasons they enjoy this simulated reality game.

"RollerCoaster Tycoon" Through the Years

"RollerCoaster Tycoon's" creators—designer/programmer Chris Sawyer, artist Simon Foster and composer Allister Brimble—consulted real-world experts and leaders in the theme park industry when they produced the game's first version in 1999. Since then, they've improved upon the original with enhancements that reflect the real-world evolution of technology and social media.

Versions for Nintendo, Mac, XBox, and mobile devices have rounded out the series through the decades that have followed the game's inception. Here, we focus on those currently available and compatible with PCs.

The newest release in the "RollerCoaster Tycoon" series sets your imagination loose in your very own modern theme park. To previous releases, this version adds an improved editor that allows full 3D manipulation, so you can build whatever shape you can concoct. Another first for the series is the ability to create curved paths, more sophisticated designs, custom buildings, and games—in fact, you can build and import just about anything you want in any 3D editing program that works with Unity. A new mission-based campaign system challenges you with missions that increase in difficulty as you play. And finally, the game offers social media integration that allows you to show off your creations to friends.

  • Released: 2016
  • Modes: Single-player
  • Languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, Simplified Chinese, Portuguese, and Russian
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"RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Platinum" has always been one of the most popular choices of the series. You'll ride the coasters, customize the food stalls and shops, create your own family of visitors, and build water slides and roller coasters. The Platinum version includes the "Soaked" and "Wild" expansion packs. A "Coaster Cam" simulates a ride on your creation from the front seat, while the "Mixmaster" lets you dream up pyrotechnics and laser light shows. Three difficulty modes keep players on their toes, and the "Sandbox" mode allows creation without limits.

  • Released: 2006
  • Modes: Single-player
  • Language: English
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The sequel for the first "RollerCoaster Tycoon" doesn't change the gameplay but adds new editors and new rides. The new editors for the theme park management game include a scenario editor and a ride manager. The downside is that it has the same graphics and interface as the original. This collection includes "RollerCoaster Tycoon 2" and its expansion packs.

  • Released: 2002
  • Modes: Single-player
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An oldie but a goodie, this release includes the original plus the "Corkscrew Follies" and "Loopy Landscapes" expansion packs. Like its predecessor, "RollerCoaster Tycoon Deluxe" lets you choose from pre-built designs or create your own and watch them take off with realistic motion physics.

  • Released: 1999
  • Modes: Single-player
  • Languages: English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish

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