Rollercoaster Tycoon 2
Image: Atari Interactive

If you're anything like us, part of the original appeal of the early RollerCoaster Tycoon games was seeing what mischief you could get away with, using the set of tools available.

The popular theme park sim, developed for Windows computers by Chris Sawyer, let you get up to all kinds of trouble, from building elaborate death traps to drowning your guests like some sort of malevolent god. But this was apparently never really the plan, with Sawyer himself not really being a fan of violent and destructive video games. So what gives?

Well, speaking to us back in 2017, the veteran developer gave us an explanation for his own game's violent tendencies. And it's a doozy.

According to Sawyer, much of the chaos in RollerCoaster Tycoon 1 and 2 is actually the result of some "laziness" on his part (his choice of words, not ours), with the ability to drown guests originating from his unwillingness to do the programming, graphics, and animation that was required for the alternative.

As he explained, "The alternative would have been that guests would swim to shore and climb out of the water. But this would have involved a lot more programming (and graphics) than a simple animation of the guest waving for help and finally disappearing."

As for the Rollercoaster crashes — well, that was simply unavoidable given the fact the rides adhere to fairly realistic physic simulations, so crashes were pretty much inevitable.

"It was impossible to prevent players from creating rides which could crash, and it would have felt silly if any guests riding the ride magically survived, so sadly it’s possible for them to die and the player has to take the consequences..."

Today, there are tons of videos all over YouTube from people more than willing to accept those consequences. YouTubers like Cody Watkins and Marcel Vos, who spend their time building ridiculously-detailed death traps and finding elaborate ways to drown their guests.

Which begs the question, if Sawyer had gone to all that extra effort, would these players still exist? Or would they have found another simulation game to capture their attention (and satisfy their bloodlust)?