Railroad Tycoon can lay claim to being the first widely sold tycoon game. Created by Sid Meier, a game programmer who has won hundreds of awards for his work, it was first released for PC users to try their hand at in 1990 and then was ported to the Super NES in 1993.
The premise of the game set the blueprint for all of the tycoon games that have followed it over the years. Choosing from the Western United States, Northeast United States, Great Britain, or Continental Europe players are challenged to build up a fully operational – and profitable – railway system from scratch, with the additional complication that other companies are actively trying to put you out of business at the same time!
The game is set in what is referred to as the ‘golden era of railroads’ so there are no high tech bullet trains or fancy technical extras to help you create the most efficient rail network, simply good old fashioned steam trains and as much business knowledge as you can muster.
There are a lot of obstacles and challenges to overcome in Railroad Tycoon. In addition to finding enough funds to build up your rail network and buy enough trains for it you also have to attract passengers, make sure (as far as possible) that your trains run on time and go where your customers want them to go and that they are well maintained enough that they keep on running.
As it was the first tycoon game, and one of the most challenging, Railroad Tycoon still enjoys popularity today. However, after over 20 years the graphics were hopelessly outdated. That led to Sid Meier recreating his game for the new century as an online tycoon game- now called Sid Meiers Railroads – that offers the same challenging and engrossing gameplay but with some wonderful 21st century 3D graphics that bring the game to life like never before. The new game now also allows you to build your own dream train from scratch but it has to be good as your designs are up against the likes of real train designers like Brunel and Stephenson!