Rollercoaster Tycoon barreling toward 3DS

Some people, like John Ivers of Indiana, have the guts and ingenuity to build a working rollercoaster in their back yard. For most folks, however, coaster construction is limited to virtual worlds, and Nintendo fans can soon join the fun if Atari and developer n-Space deliver on their recent announcement: Rollercoaster Tycoon is coming to 3DS.

Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 is one of my top 3 favorite games; its lifelike physics and charming sprite graphics took me on a mini-vacation every time I booted it up. And, unlike some players (who posted YouTube videos of their wildest crashes and intentionally drowned their customers), I took my role as park manager very seriously and considered the level “failed” if I had a single fatality on my watch. I even named all my guards, mechanics, entertainers and janitors. Yeah, I’m a geek.

The 3DS RCT game will be a brand new, built-from-scratch edition. It will include staff management, multiple themes, the coaster creator and sandbox mode. For me, and for most RCT fans, however, the game will live or die based on its physics. Unlike its closest competitor, Theme Park (ugh!), RCT’s best feature has always been its coaster construction tools and the realistic rides that spring from it. In RCT, if your coaster doesn’t get from the top of the lift hill back to the station on gravity and momentum, you can’t open it in your park. And if the G-forces are too strong, no one will ride it. I hope Atari and n-Space remember how important that element is to this series; without it, RCT is just another management sim.

I almost wish this was a direct port of RCT2 rather than a new 3D-modeled game (for me, the polygon-based RCT3 gained some spectacle but lost a lot of playability in its move away from sprites). I can’t believe I’m admitting this–being a fan of 3D on my portable–but if I had to choose between 2D sprites and polygons in 3D, I’d take the sprites.

The game’s due in March. At this point, of course, I don’t count any announced 3DS title a reality until it’s at my door in an Amazon box, but I’m hopeful.

Any other RCT fans out there in Infendo-World?