Out of Office: My RollerCoaster Tycoon Hobby


Out of Office: My RollerCoaster Tycoon Hobby

When it comes to hobbies and choosing fun activities to fill our free time with, some of our favorites involve a return to childhood. Whether it’s the simplicity, liberation or silliness of being a child, or it’s actually something we did as children, these kinds of hobbies can hit the spot in ways that other more “adult” activities just can’t. In this post, Global Marketing Manager, Jenny Parnell, unpacks the latter and how even the most seemingly trivial hobbies can have the greatest impact.

What is one hobby you really enjoy?

RollerCoaster Tycoon. Yeah … the video game. From 1999. I played it as a kid for years, and luckily, there is an amazing iPad version of the classic game that I have picked up again in my 30s.

A Safe Place to Escape

What do you find so fulfilling or rewarding about this hobby?

A few things. It’s familiar—I love nostalgia. RCT helps me tap back into things I enjoyed as a kid. It’s something I can get lost in. I’m working toward a goal (each park you build has its own special mission and challenges). It allows you to problem solve and be creative at the same time, and there’s a lot of joy in each park build. This is also something that frees me from any expectation—it’s purely for fun. It’s fulfilling because it’s simple. The reward is simply for me alone.

How is this hobby helping you during this time of quarantine and social distancing?

I’ve beaten a lot of levels that are really lengthy and ones I might have avoided if I hadn’t had more time to work through them. I’ve had a few failed parks and had to start over. It’s a nice change of pace from my other routines. When it comes to free time, I read a lot, do yard work, paint, ride my bike, or I can go tackle a new RCT pack. It’s one more option of something fun to do.

Childhood Seeds That Bear Fruit in Adulthood

How does this hobby help you in your day-to-day role at InterWorks?

Well, it’s funny; I never realized how playing RCT as a kid might have been an influence on me in so many ways. You’re designing parks on a computer, so you make a lot of design decisions. When I got to college, I ended up pursuing graphic design as my major. RCT also requires you to solve problems over and over again. Some are really similar, and you need to get creative with your solutions and approaches but also lean on some key principles. This is a lot like marketing. Similarly, RCT has timelines, missions, budgets and marketing campaigns you run to meet your goals. Every day at work is kind of like a RCT mission, except it’s marketing and tech. So, thanks RCT. I think you pointed me in the right direction.

Why is it important to have hobbies/personal projects?

I think hobbies allow you to get to know yourself better. A hobby gives you a place to explore your strengths and weaknesses, practice and improve. Ultimately, you have a place to put some passion into outside of your routines and life’s responsibilities. Hobbies might help you find community and people who like to help each other succeed. A hobby is also a choice. It’s something you get to write into your own story. Everyone needs that kind of autonomy in life. What story do you want to tell about yourself? I think hobbies can help you have an interesting story in which you can take pride.

Hobbies Should Make You Happy

What has this taught you about yourself? What can hobbies in general teach us about ourselves?

Being a kid is awesome. But so is being an adult. If I told 12-year-old Jenny that 33-year-old Jenny is going to play video games and eat ice cream anytime she wants to, I think 12-year-old Jenny would think that’s pretty cool. RCT has taught me to tap into what makes you most happy. What brings you a lot of joy and lets you chill out? Go do more of that. And keep doing those things forever.

Above: I really hope I’m making 12-year-old Jenny proud.

More About the Author

Jenny Parnell

Global Marketing Director
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