Atari is trying to crowdfund a version of RollerCoaster Tycoon for the Nintendo Switch.
You might remember Atari from the bizarre ads that came out a while ago featuring a game console made out of wood. For those of you that immediately forgot, you might recall Atari also holds the rights to one of PC gaming’s most beloved franchises: RollerCoaster Tycoon.
Developed by Chris Sawyer and published by Hasbro Interactive in 1999, RollerCoaster Tycoon was an instant classic. The game was a runaway success, selling over four million copies by 2002 (which was a lot back in those days), and spawned two sequels of numerous paid DLC.
Atari purchased RollerCoaster Tycoon back in 2003, and since then it seems to be the only thing keeping the company afloat. Atari has produced numerous sequels for mobile devices to mixed reviews, until finally making a triumphant return to PC gaming with RollerCoaster Tycoon World in 2016.
Triumphant may be a bit too strong of a word. The game was panned by critics for being buggy as all get out and containing none of the magic of the original. As Eurogamer put it, "It doesn't seem to matter how many rides break down, how deep the pools of litter are, how many deathcoasters you've built, peeps roll up in ever-increasing numbers, to the point where your PC can't take it anymore."
Eurogamer ended by saying "the result is a game that is merely a bit s---."
Someone must have told Atari that the Nintendo Switch is the next big thing in gaming, since now they want to bring their buggy game to the successful handheld.
Tentatively titled Roller Coaster Tycoon Switch, the proposed game is a port of RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch, which is itself a mobile port of RollerCoaster Tycoon World.
To be fair to Atari, they apparently got their act together for the mobile port of World, since Touch has been downloaded 12 million times on Google and Apple app stores. There may be a few repeats here and there, but that’s still a lot of phones with RollerCoaster Tycoon on them.
But Atari isn’t doing this the way you might think. Rather than hop on Kickstarter to fund their game, Atari is using StartEngine, which is a far more investor-focused site. Instead of paying for the developer to make the game and then getting it when they’re done, you invest in Atari and they pay you back your investment plus royalties depending on how well the game sells.
It certainly seems like this is just Atari jumping on the Nintendo bandwagon, but then again, so is everyone else. Who can blame them?