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The Railroad Tycoon series is a strategy game centered on the railroad industry. The strategy varies depending on the map or scenario, but the main idea is to build a railroad empire and overcome specific goals, whether it be hauling a certain amount of freight, connecting to specific cities, achieving specified financial goals for the company or chairman, taking over other railroads, or whatever else the scenario requirements may be. Playing the stock market is also an integral part of the game.
As of 2005, there are 3 versions and 4 subversions, as well as various patches.
The original Railroad Tycoon, developed by Sid Meier and published by MicroProse (which was acquisitioned by Atari in 2001), was released in 1990. In 1993, the same team released Railroad Tycoon Deluxe. Although they were developed for DOS, they can still be played under Win 9x, ME, Win 2000, and XP, but apparently a small utility called DOSBox is necessary to play them under 2000 and XP. Railroad Tycoon Deluxe can be downloaded - for free - at the Sid Meier's Railroad's web site
After the release of Railroad Tycoon Deluxe, Sid went on to develop other games. Colonization and Civilization II are but two of his masterpieces. It appeared that the railroading empire of Sid's talents would pass on into history.
Along came Pop Top and The Gathering of Developers (subsidiaries of Take 2 Games). They acquired the rights to his railroad genre, developed and released Railroad Tycoon II in 1998. Now a Windows based platform, they kept most of the strategical elements of the original design and just fancied it up a bit and added an editor, giving the user the ability to create their own maps and scenarios. Then, in 1999 they released Railroad Tycoon II/The Second Century, adding more scenarios. Later that year, they released Railroad Tycoon II/Gold, followed by Railroad Tycoon II/Platinum in 2002, which included 50 user made scenarios.
Then, in 2003, they decided to go all out and released Railroad Tycoon 3, this time with 3D graphics.
In 2004, Phil Steinmeyer-founder of Pop Top in 1997, left the company to pursue other interests.
In an ironic twist, in 2005, Take 2 acquired FIRAXIS, home of Sid Meier. They also started 2K Games ,and ultimately, the demise of Gathering. Could it be that we'll see Railroad Tycoon 4? We can only hope.
Well, it would seem that RRT 4 is out of the question, but on October 18, 2006-Sid and crew released Sid Meier's Railroad's (Sid made the decision to get away from the Railroad Tycoon name).
Currently, Pop Top is out of business.
I have all the versions, with the exception of Sid's Railroads. I made one map for version 2 and I have two maps for version 3. Unlike most other participants in this genre, my maps are pretty simple. Most folks create much more difficult maps than I have.