Getting your business degree from playing a video game – What I learned from playing RollerCoaster Tycoon
Mocked as a pursuit fit for kindergarten, a game ostensibly comparable to slightly more sophisticated sandbox playing with an endlessly-repeating juke box game sound in the background – the reactions I earned for playing the theme park simulation-game RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 (& later RCT3) during my high school years were hardly the ones you wish for. In my eyes being the architect, the engineer, the manager and the visitor of your own theme park was the greatest. You pulled the strings of a big business by building water rollercoasters, ferry wheels and hot-dog stands, decorating your park’s landscape and conjuring up all the hidden treasures of a perfect holiday resort.
Since the release of its first version in 1999 the RollerCoaster Tycoon series by Atari has won the hearts of a steadily increasing fan base of theme park enthusiasts of all ages and climbed up the Olympus of the most successful video games of all times.
Having put the video game aside for the duration of my undergraduate business studies over the last three years I now rediscovered the game and approached it with very similar tactics as years before. I still put some easy-going, low-excitement rides near the park exit, placed a lot of benches and a cotton candy stand in their direct proximity, hoping that I might squeeze some virtual currency out of the pockets of families, who originally planned to leave the park. Or am I deluding myself and I in fact learned these small ploys from digging through sheer endless books and articles on Marketing, Finance, Strategy or Human Resource Management?