I like food! I like my bacon extra crispy. I like lots
of stuff in salad but the main thing is that the lettuce has to be crispy;
everything from pickles to potato chips…. I like crispy! But I never
thought, as I slipped RCT into my computer for the first time, that I would
ever like my RCT crispy! But one day, not to long after I had played most
of the original scenarios and was browsing on the Internet looking for some
kind of help or cheats for Pickle Park (hadn't even HEARD of the word
trainer yet) I stumbled across 2 cool RCT websites (about 5 RCT sites is all
there was in those days). One was called RCTOA and the other was called
RCTUK. Both were kickin wicked RCT sites that instantly opened up a whole
new world, a whole different level of RCT play!
Being from the U.S.A. of course I naturally settled in to RCTOA as my main
RCT home, but I would never go to long without checking into the RCTUK, my
home away from home, where a smart guy by the name of Doctor J and others
were hanging out at and giving much needed advice. Back at home at RCTOA,
Henry Winkelstein and others were making and supporting some excellent new
(at the time) trainers and utilities for RCT. We as a small community at
the time were collectively amazed and awed (and still am) at all the talent
being shown both by hackers and Webmasters alike.
That is when I became aware that I liked my RCT as extra crispy as I liked
my bacon. Enter the scene a YOUNG man, (I didn't realize just HOW young) by
the name of Chris Bennett. He went by the name of Crispy and you will see
why in this interview. Crispy had just taken the reins over at RCTUK as
Webmaster and was supercharging and fanning the embers of this small British
RCT website into the large fire and popular website it went on to be. I was
impressed with Crispy's work back then and though he is another one who
gives rare interviews, when he gave me the nod for this E-View I was more
then happy to get started.
RCTUK eventually fell into disrepair and became almost an Internet ghost
town. But now, even as we speak, Skippy on his white horse has rode into
town to save the day and hopefully save and restore this famous British RCT
icon called RCTUK! I wish him luck in this endeavor as, at least in my
mind; this legendary site will go down in the RCT hall of fame.
So sit back, relax and enjoy this rare interview with a guy called Crispy.
I don't know if this ride is more like “It's a Small World”, “Splash
Mountain” or “Pirates of the Caribbean” but it IS a relaxing cool ride so
step right on in the E-View boat and please pull down your lap (top) bar,
keep your hands and arms inside the E-View, kick back and enjoy the ride.
Please join me now as we welcome Crispy!
||Before we get started I want to tell you how much I
appreciate your time and the opportunity to get to talk with you. Running a
large RCT website for so long must have been a real experience and that's
what I want to focus on today, some of those experiences and what it was
like to head up such a large site. When did you first become involved with
||"I'm not totally sure of the dates but it must've
been late 1999/early 2000 when I first became involved with RollerCoaster
Tycoon UK. After discovering the message board I asked Mark Goldstein if I
could be a moderator, originally I was rejected, the reason being that there
were sufficient staff to cover the board. Then shortly after g0sub's account
was used to wipe out the General forum, g0sub was no longer a moderator and
I pounced back in, this time getting a position on the team.".
||I bet that was pretty exciting back then, you must have
been pretty young when you first took over RCTUK. How old are you now?
||"I'm actually only 15 now so yes very young when I
originally took over the site.".
||Well at that age I suppose you aren't out there working
and making a living, but do you have any side jobs or other ways of making a
little pocket change?
||"Not making a living just yet but do have a
part-time job delivering papers on a Sunday morning. Not the nicest thing to
be doing on cold, wet winter mornings but it gives me a bit of money to
||(laughing) I used to do that to when I was your age.
Of course in those days it was called the Pony Express! But old memories
aside, would you mind telling us the general area you live in and a little
bit about it?
||"I live in the Midlands…which as the name suggests
is in the middle of England. I won't give you the name of the town where I
live as I couldn't be doing with all the mobs of fans coming after me (haha)
but it's near the city of Leicester. It's a nice place, everything's close
enough to be convenient and most of my relatives are in the area so it suits
||Well I guess your fans will have to settle for looking
for you in Leicester then. What's a “normal” day like in the Leicester
England area for you Crispy?
||"A normal day usually involves the alarm clock
going off at the hideously early hour of 7am then me staying in bed until
the last possible minute before I have to get up in time so as not to be
late for school. Then there's the school day followed by an evening usually
consisting of chatting to various people on the Internet, watching TV or
spending time out with friends. Come the weekend and I'm either theme park
visiting or in bed!".
||(Laughs) I'm a big fan of theme park visiting AND bed
visiting and am planning a trip to both places soon! I am from America,
across the “big pond” from you. I find it fascinating the differences
between different countries and cultures. Have you ever been to the USA and
if not, would you ever like to go to see what it is like? Or are you happy
just staying where you are?
||"I have never been to the USA but would really like
to, namely to visit Florida to experience just what can be done with rides
when British Planning Law doesn't get in the way!".
||What about a family, do you still live at home or do you
have a family of your own?
||"I'm still living at home yep. Spend the weekdays
at my Dad's along with my bratty 13-year-old sister. Then at the weekends
it's off to my mums house. It's amazing how good I am at packing a weekend
bag after 4 years of practice!".
||What do you like to do, or not do, when you are just
lying back chillin and taking it easy?
||"Aside from visiting theme parks and chatting to
numerous people I've made friends with over the years on the Internet to
other thing I enjoy doing is listening to music. I've got fairly broad
musical tastes and it's great just to stick a playlist on random shuffle,
lie back and relax.".
||What about sports and games, do you have any
||"I'm not really much of a sporty person and don't
really have much interest in playing or watching sport. The closest I get is
the occasional kick-about with friends.".
||Now for some tougher more personal questions! Where are
you headed Crispy? What are your life goals? Any plans for the
||"I'm currently halfway through my final year of
compulsory education, with my GCSE's coming up in June. I've had some good
results from mock exams so am hoping I'll do just as well in the real thing.
After that I'm going into further education, 2 years of sixth form then I'll
be thinking about university. The final aim is a job in computing, probably
on the systems side of things.
Other things I want to do, visit Florida & Ohio!
||What, not Oregon? Just kidding, If you don't mind
telling us, where did you get your rather unusual screen name?
||"My screen name actually comes from my real name.
If we take Chris Bennett, then hack off the 'ennett' we're left with Chris
B. Read it out loud…sounds like Crispy. And there we have it, my screen
name. It actually first originated at school. There was also the 'Crispy
Bacon' incarnation, which had something to do with the copious amounts of
hair gel I used, and bacon fat. But the less said about that the better I
||(Boomer laughs as he remembers all the “Wave Set” lotion
he wore in his hair at that age) Well now that we have gotten to know a
little about you personally I would like to steer this E-View in another
direction. Let's talk about something that you have put a lot into over the
years and that is RCTUK. This long time RCT site is one of the longest
running RCT sites and is still in existence. There have been times when you
were very active in the day to day running of the site and other times when
you weren't so active, understandable considering your age when you started
and the demands that all young men have on their time. But it seems, as we
get older, our time gets spread thinner and thinner due to the demands of
life. Having said that let me ask you this, what is your involvement level
right now at RCTUK? Are you still the acting Webmaster there or have you
turned the reigns over to someone else?
||"I've fairly recently turned over the job of
managing the website over to skippy. I'd been meaning to get the site going
again properly but it just never happened and got to the point where I
couldn't kid myself any longer that I would get round to doing it. Just
never seemed to find the time. I'm still on the RCTUK team but am pretty
||Do you plan on staying involved in anyway with RCTUK or
is this now something you have put behind you and moved past on your way to
||"I think RCTUK is pretty much behind me now; the
interest in RCT just isn't there and wasn't brought back to life by RCT2
either. And if it's something you're not interested in then why bother! My
efforts are now focused on Alton Towers Almanac, as it's something I do have
a great interest in.".
||There was a time in the RCTUK “glory days”, that a large
American site called RCTOA seemed to be in direct competition with RCTUK.
The Webmaster of that old and now defunct site was a guy called Denny G. who
got mad one day and pulled the plug on that site. He seemed to be full of
hate and distrust of RCTUK and really ANY other RCT site. He often lashed
out at your site in a venomous and immature way. Of course Denny G. and the
old RCTOA have long since vanished off the face of the RCT earth, but at the
time, did his attacks and ravings affect you in any way? You always seemed
to keep your cool and not retaliate back.
||"Ah yes, RCTOA. An interesting site, however if I
recall correctly it only really had the forums to keep it going, the actual
site was of very little substance (oh yes – I'm getting my revenge ). We
did get a lot of stick from them and yes it did annoy us. We did actually
retaliate but in a slightly more discreet (although probably just as
immature) way. The entire RCTUK team was banned from the RCTOA forums and
there was much messing about in the site's chat room by myself and other
team members. Ah the fun we had!".
||RCTOA is long gone but RCTUK lives on. What do you
contribute to the long time life span of this British RCT site?
||"Mark created a great site back in 1999 and this
attracted at lot of members, many of which have stayed on over the years. I
think also the immense popularity of the game has resulted in a steady flow
of new players to keep things alive. Not forgetting StrategyPlanet (and the
Gamespy Network), their hosting service has been invaluable to us. I guess
it also helps not having a stroppy Webmaster who just pulls the plug one day
(a la Denny G ;-))".
||(Frowning) Yes, that is true! That, “plug pulling”
soured me on the whole Internet for quite some time. I would appreciate it
if you could tell us some of the main players and staff that was the most
helpful to you over the years in running and maintaining such a large (at
the time) site.
||"There's been lots of help and support over the
years from all team members that have been involved with the site, plus the
webmasters of sites on the RCTUK Network. Then there's StrategyPlanet who
have provided us with hosting all this time as well as doing a great job
supporting us in all things technical. And of course RCTUK wouldn't have
been the same without all the members and contributors.".
||Before we get away from this subject I would like to ask
you what I know is a hard question. What do you think is the main reason
that RCTUK has seemed to consistently dwindle in member numbers over the
last year or so?
||"I'm not entirely sure of the reasons but it's
probably partly my fault with the lack of updates to the site, but also I'm
sure I'm not the only person who's lost interest in the game and I reckon
this has also contributed to the drop in activity and numbers over the past
||I think the main question most people have is why was
there such a long time between updates and news on the main page?
||"I just never seemed to be able to find the time to
update the site. As you said earlier, you get older and the free time you
have gets less and less. Plus with my lack of interest in the game I didn't
feel like putting in the effort to make the time to update.".
||I can understand how things change and priorities change
as you go through that stage of life. Sometimes the growing process
requires us to lay down our old toys and pick up new ones. By now you are
probably getting kind of tired of this intrusive questioning into your life
by that crazy old American called Boomer. I don't blame you and I will be
letting you off the hook in a minute. Doing these E-Views I get the
privilege of not only asking questions I think others may want to know but I
get to ask questions that I really want to know. One of those personal
questions I want to ask you is this; you live in England, the same place
that Chris Sawyer lives. With such a major RCT site that RCTUK was, did you
ever get to talk to Chris personally? Did he ever respond to anyone or
anything on the site?
||"There was no actual contact between Chris Sawyer
and myself and I don't think any of the other team members had direct
contact with him either. You're probably aware of the interview we had with
Chris Sawyer, quite a while ago now. This wasn't a direct contact with Chris
either. We finally got the interview after much pestering his marketing
company and the interview itself was also conducted through the
||Okay, a couple more quick questions and I will finally
leave you alone. What do you think of Chris Sawyers new RCT2?
||"The sequel to RollerCoaster Tycoon is nice but I
feel that's it's too little and too late. Sure there's some nice new
features and gimmicks but I can't help but feel that RCT2 could have been so
much more than a bloated add-on pack.".
||Do you think it will energize the RCT community and its
||"I think that RCT2 will bring a lot of new players
to the RCT community and this naturally should bring some life into things.
We will also no doubt be seeing a number of new sites springing up as well
as some of the older sites getting back into action.".
||And for the last question, besides RCTUK, what other
sites, either RCT or other, do you like to visit?
||"My interest in RCT is pretty dead now. I do
occasionally fire the game up but a lot of that is to view other people's
parks and recreations. However RCT has reinforced an interest in the 'real
thing'. That is real roller coasters and theme/amusement parks. Many of the
sites I visit now are on this topic, with the main ones being www.rideas.co.uk - a discussion board for the UK
theme park scene and www.towersalmanac.com - a site dedicated to
one of the UK's biggest and most popular parks, Alton Towers.".
||Well thank you so much Crispy for taking the time to
talk to me for a while, I have always admired RCTUK and it has been an honor
for me to have this chance to talk to you.
||"You're welcome; hope everyone finds it an
interesting insight into the world of Crispy! ".
Crispy has left the house! As Boomer turns out the light
and heads out the door for the comforts and warmth of his waiting bed and
sleeping wife, he stops, turns his head and suspiciously sniffs the air. “I
could swear I smell bacon frying”, said Boomer to himself. “Naw”, thought
Boomer, “it couldn't be”! Shaking his head and heading for his bed, the
Boomster was soon fast asleep lost in La La Land. But the smile on his
sleeping face and the rumble in his empty stomach gave witness to the fact
that in his dreams Boomer was just setting down to a nice platter of toast,
hash browns, eggs and BACON!
“Mmmm”, said Boomer to his now young, blond, shapely dream wife, serving him
breakfast in her bikini! “You cooked the bacon JUST the way I like my RCT
website…. extra Crispy”, said Boomer, but even in his dreams he cringed as
the bikini clad image of his dream blond faded menacingly into the familiar
shape of his REAL wife! Then the familiar whoosh of the frying pan, In
dream like slow motion, Crispy bacon and all, came swiftly down upon his
head and all faded to black!