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Desert Island Games – Episode 1 part 2

Back again with the 2nd part of Rax’s selection of Desert Island Games. If you haven’t read part one then I suggest you sidle over here and catch up otherwise you might not be able to follow the complex narrative.

Anyway, on with the show.

The  Rollercoaster Tycoon series of games were originally developed by Transport Tycoon dev. Chris Sawyer. Utilising a similar isometric viewpoint, it gave you complete control of designing and running a theme park. Similar in concept to Bullfrog’s Theme Park, it added a wealth of design options allowing you to custom build any rollercoaster you could think of. The original launched in 1999 on PC and was well received gaining very positive reviews. It was later ported to XBox in 2003 to significantly worse opinion (a metacritic rating of 61%). It was also followed by the sequel, Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 in October 2002 which added significantly expanded customisation options. The third game on Rax’s list is OpenRCT2.

So Rax, what exactly is OpenRCT2? And are you trying to play the system here?
This is an open source adaptation of RCT2 (you can find more details here, an installation of the original RCT2 is required), it’s in the early stages of development but I want to add it with a couple of, let’s call them addendums. I want to add the original RCT parks to it (easily done by dragging and dropping into the scenarios folder) and I’d like to keep receiving updates to it.

Sneaky, but I guess we’ll allow it.  Similar to the OpenTTD (Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe) question, did you play the original Rollercoaster Tycoon? I remember playing it a hell of a lot when it first came out, I had a go-to simple double loop rollercoaster (based very much on the Missile at the old American Adventure theme park) that I’d drop in for every park. Is it the rollercoaster designing that you love or the money making, park design aspects of the game?
I loved the original Rollercoaster Tycoon, from the very first moment I saw a screenshot in a magazine I knew I would love this game. Thankfully it did not disappoint, it clicked with me right away and I played it every moment I could. When I first played it I had never actually been to a theme park, I had always wanted to go to one but living in the wilds of southern Ireland meant there wasn’t one within easy reach, I don’t know if that was the reason why but I was terrible at coaster building. I was obsessed with making them bigger and faster with more loops so they were all vomiting inducing nightmares so I stuck to the prebuilt ones at the start.

I did eventually go on a family holiday to Orlando, went to all the theme parks, and when I came home I could actually build a good rollercoaster, I think being on one and realising it doesn’t need to go 100mph to be exciting helped me reign in my virtual coaster building. I still don’t think that’s the major appeal for me, it’s a cool part of the game and it’s really satisfying when you make an exciting coaster that isn’t a vomit comet but much like TTD I just like the management aspect of it. Adding new rides, improving the aesthetic of the park, making sure the guests and happy, the park is making money etc,. I’ve always preferred the management style of strategy games to the military style ones.

The potential for evil in the game is also weirdly appealing. On the surface it’s a game about making a theme park but you can turn it into the biggest and most sadistic murder simulator you can imagine, just have some unfinished track over a footpath and watch the mayhem unfold when the train comes down the tracks. You can also pick on guests and make their lives hell, giving out that your perfectly designed coaster isn’t good enough, chuck em in the lake, or better yet on top of a pillar of earth to spend eternity pacing around a tiny square watching the people below enjoy themselves.

I am usually a benevolent theme park manager though, I like to make the parks look good and people to be happy. Just don’t complain that the queue for the log flume is too long…..

Grand Theft Auto V is the fifteenth entry in the GTA series of games (including offshoot games and stand alone side stories). Returning to the fictional state of San Andreas, first seen in 2004’s GTA: San Andreas, the single-player story follows three criminals and their efforts to commit heists while under pressure from a government agency. The open world design lets players freely roam San Andreas’ open countryside and the fictional city of Los Santos,  which is loosely based on Los Angeles. As of May 2017, the game has sold an astounding 80 million copies across all platforms making it the 4th best selling game of all time and only 2.2 million behind Wii Sports which it will certainly surpass during 2017.

I’ve never really been a fan of GTA so tell me, why GTA V?
Simply because its the biggest and most expansive one. Vice City is still my favourite GTA and if I had to play through a story again I’d go with that one but as a complete game taking everything into account I’ll go with V. Its a huge sandbox that I have barely scratched the surface on, there’s so many possibilities there that it’s an obvious candidate for a desert island game for me.

I also loved the heists in it, I loved having multiple missions set up one big one and I was looking forward to more of them being added as DLC. The fact GTA online blew up and is making huge money for Take 2 means we’ll likely never get anymore heists in GTA V which is a huge shame, they were my favourite thing about the game. At the very least I can console myself with taking the different options in them every time I do a playthrough so I can see every side of missions and the story.

Game 5 of Rax’s list is the 8th major release in Nintendo’s classic cart racing series, Mario Kart. Originally released on Wii U in 2014, it is easily the console’s highest selling game with well over 8 million copies sold by end 2016. What’s even more impressive is that this is on a console base of only 13.5 million units. The game received two DLC packs which added extra tracks, characters and carts. These are all included in the re-release for Nintendo Switch which
also includes a significantly improved battle mode.

Are you a big Mario Kart fan? What’s your history with the series?
I played some of the original Mario Kart but not a lot. I never had a SNES so I only got to play at my friends or cousins house so I was never good at it. My first proper Mario Kart was on the N64 and I instantly loved it, I know its not well regarded (I can hear the howls of discontent from GR) and I can see the flaws but it was my first one so it will always be special to me. Not wanting to give you any ideas for another series of articles but if I had to play one game to save my life (hhhmmmmm….) it would be Mario Kart 64, I’m not unbeatable but I would fancy my chances against just about anyone.

Is Mario Kart 8 the best entry?
Double Dash was my favourite (don’t tell anyone else but I also love DD) until 8 came along, I really liked the tag team aspect of it and the unique weapons for each character was a cool little twist. But 8 does just about everything right, the battle mode isn’t up to snuff on the Wii U version and while it was never my bag and it didn’t bother me much, its cool that they took fan feedback on board for the Switch version and corrected it. I’m very much focused on single player content, even for things like Mario Kart, I will play multiplayer on occasion but it’s rare so the fact that the single player championships in 8 have some challenge to them is a big plus for me.

Do you have a character you always pick in Mario Kart? I’m a Yoshi fan though that isn’t on the basis of any gameplay aspect, I just like the little green bastard.
I’ll try every character in every Mario Kart but I usually find my way back to Mario. I played as Yoshi in the N64 version but I think that was mostly cos my brother insisted on being Mario and he was younger and cried so he had to get his way! For me its not a gameplay thing either, I just prefer to be Mario for some reason.

For me the kart is as important than the character, but again its not a performance thing, it’s got to look good. So I usually go with the ATV on triforce tyres, I’m a baller like that.

And yes or no, is there a better track than Baby Park?
Baby Park is pretty great but I have a soft spot for Bowsers Castle on the N64, I’m going with my heart and saying that’s a better track.

Some more great games from Rax and part 3 will be along really soon.

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