Game Dev Tycoon (PC)

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I don’t know who you were before all this happened but that doesn’t matter now. The future is in shambles, brought upon by bad videogames. You’ve gone back in time using your trusty Delorian –you could use it to kill Hitler or something but… videogames, dude– to use the knowledge you have now to make a videogame development company that will stand the test of time.

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Who’s garage is this? WHO’S GARAGE DID YOU STEAL!?

 

History

Game Dev Tycoon was made by Greenheart Games, a team of five people. Patrick Klug directed the project, inspired by a game called Game Dev Story. He and his team wanted a game like Game Dev Story but one that was based more on player decision and less on chance.

The game is probably most well known for it’s response to piracy. Green Heart released a version of the game on the Pirate Bay after it’s release that had a fatal error in it. After the player made a few games pirates would start taking a majority of the game’s profits prompting players with the message “Boss, it seems that while many players play our new game, they steal it by downloading a cracked version rather than buying it legally. If players don’t buy the games they like, we will sooner or later go bankrupt.” Eventually making the player go bankrupt.

Game Dev Tycoon was released on December 10th, 2012– and re-released on Steam in 2013. It’s competition was Baldur’s Gate: The Enhanced Edition (PC and iOS), Knytt Underground (PS3), and Street Fighter X Megaman (PC).

Gameplay

The game is pretty simple. You start out in a garage working alone, developing for the Govadore 64 and the PC. Each game needs a topic and genre pair — not all combinations are created equal however– and then a console to release it on –once again, some consoles are suited to different topics and genres. You can unlock research to market games, cater to a type of audience, or release it on multiple platforms. As well as researching new topics, better sound, graphics, and other features. The game then goes through a cycle of development which is expressed by a series of sliders. The more focused on one the more neglected the others become so it’s important to spend your developer’s time wisely — i.e. an FPS game needs good AI and Level Design but it’s Story doesn’t necessarily have to be great.

Eventually you get out of the garage and move on to an office, at which point you can hire additional employees — who can even be real people from the industry if you scout at the right times. More people means making better games but spending more money so it’s all a big gamble — one that you can control by making good games by considering what decisions will make them good.

Things eventually get crazy when your company opens up a Research and Development section or a Hardware lab. Then you can start making consoles or a version of Steam itself called The Grid and all sorts of other high end things.

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I really like what a silly caricature this R&D lab is. My personal favorite is the guy in the purple scarf. It’s possible for him to end up in there alone if you cut the budget, spending his days talking to the open air.

Experiences

This game is like a pile of legos. It’s only limited by the player’s imagination and how many pieces they’ve got. I’ve known players to make silly challenges for themselves like trying to naming all of their games with dinosaur puns. I like to imagine what the game I’ve made would be like based on its title and such.

This game’s a surprisingly fun party game. Me and my friends have rules where one person is head director and every other person is on the board of trustees. They can make suggestions and instruct the director. They become the director if the game tanks and they offered the most helpful advice. So it, behooves them to offer bad info to make the game tank but enough good info to take over.

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I also like naming games obvious parodies of pre-existing titles.

The Gush

I really like how obviously spoofy all the consoles and companies are. Mirconoft and Ninvento will always tickle my funny bone. It’s also interesting to hear the retelling of gaming history and why certain events occurred as they did.

The game has a bunch of silly and interesting easter eggs. It certainly doesn’t take itself too seriously. With such events including a secret agent named Blowfish who can wreak havoc on competing companies or give you technical support. Or Dave Johnson asking if you can put some exploding red barrels into a game.

The Kvetch

The musak in this game is definitely musak. It might change from stage to stage but it sounds samey and it’s just not very catchy or good. I muted the music and played just about anything else in the background.

The Verdict

I really like this game. It offers a satisfying power fantasy with relevant and educational information about the history of the game’s industry. That being said, there’s not much game here. The fun I have is based on silly challenges and thinking about stuff that the game doesn’t show like what the game would actually look like or what it would be about. If the concept of an imagination fueled adventure through making silly or awesome games interests you then I suggest you give this game a shot. It’s also cheap to boot with a ten dollar price tag.

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