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My park was hemorrhaging money, and lines for my steel coaster were depressingly empty. The only thing to do was take out a loan and try to make my ride less terrifying so people would actually get on it.

Parkitect is a spiritual successor to the old Rollercoaster Tycoon games that I used to pick up at the Scholastic Books Fair at my school. It’s an isometric game in which you build and manage a theme park. It has everything that I remember loving from Rollercoaster Tycoon, plus a lot of quality of life fixes and some new mechanics. Guests in Parkitect don’t like seeing workers deliver supplies to shops or other inner workings of running a theme parks, so on top of building a fun park, you have to try to hide all your employees. The added challenge makes it feel like more than just a rehash of an old game I loved.

One of the aforementioned quality of life improvements is the process of building coasters. Maybe it was just that I was ten, but I had the hardest time making anything other than a coaster with a single drop in Rollercoaster Tycoon. Not so in Parkitect. In fact, I was a little too good at making a thrilling coaster.

My first attempt was a spinning coaster, and while it was popular in my park, it wasn’t very exciting. It had two drops, and that was kind of it. Once I unlocked steel coasters, I decided to go all out. My next coaster had a huge drop that went underground, and then after that, it had another nearly 45 degree drop, then two corkscrew turns, and a loop-de-loop. I don’t go on coasters in real life; I don’t find the imminent fear of death to be all that fun, so I would never have gotten on this ride. Still, it seemed like a good addition to my park, which was balanced between thrill rides like the Swinging Ship and calm rides like the Ferris Wheel.

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Getting my coaster to connect at the end was a breeze, and when I opened it, I felt a small flush of pride. It was a massive, impressive piece of work.

There was just one problem. No one would go on it.

The first moment when I thought, “uh oh.”

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I checked out what my guests were thinking. Many of them thought the coaster looked too intense. That’s when I finally checked the statistics on it. This coaster had an intensity rating of Ultra Extreme.

I went back to the drawing board. The first thing I did was make all the drops smaller. I reopened the coaster and it still had Ultra Extreme intensity. Then I removed the corkscrew turns. No dice. I made the drops even smaller and added some breaks. Nothing changed. I reluctantly took out the loop. Nada. Eventually I gave up and just ran a marketing campaign to try to get people to go on it. They did, at a slow trickle, but then immediately threw up upon leaving it. My paths were disgusting; guests were tracking vomit everywhere.

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I was at a loss. I had spent nearly all of my money building this coaster, and I had taken out a loan to run advertising on it. The costs to maintain the coaster far outweighed its revenue. I had already beaten the goal for that scenario, but I didn’t want to leave it until I made an exciting coaster to be the gem of my park. I had one option left. I demolished the entire coaster, took out another loan, and started over.

I made a much smaller coaster with gentler drops and not a single loop to be found. I did throw in a couple corkscrews, but even then, I was prepared to take them out. With bated breath, I threw down an entrance and exit and tested my creation. The intensity rating was… high. That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.

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My guests lined up in the dozens to try this coaster out. They did still vomit en masse at the exit, but I just hired a janitor whose only job was to sweep the paths in that small area. At least I was making money hand over fist now. Think I can figure out a way to give that janitor a bonus?