Game Dev Tycoon
In Game Dev Tycoon you replay the history of the gaming industry by starting your own video game development company in the 80s. Create best selling games. Research new technologies and invent new game types. Become the leader of the market and gain worldwide fans.
There is an “Inception”-like quality to a video game all about making video games.
Game Dev Tycoon puts you in the shoes of a budding game developer in the 80s looking to start their own company and spanning thirty-five years in their career. Starting in the garage, you create new games from the bottom up, picking a topic, genre, and console to release it on (age rating comes in around year three). Then you adjust sliders to determine how much time and effort goes into a certain area of the game, such as gameplay or story. A successful game will combine appropriate topics, genres, age ranges, and consoles while putting the right amount of effort into the areas the game requires most. For example, an action game would work best when engine is prioritized while a strong story is necessary for an adventure game. The game’s success and its hype (created by advertising through marketing or conventions) are what will most affect its sales. Unfortunately, most of what goes well with what isn’t made obvious; you may have to do a lot of trial and error to figure out good combinations (that or look up an online guide). The good news is that, after a game’s release, you can do a report on the game to find out what worked and didn’t work about the game. The game also remembers what you’ve learned and will give you hints, so you don’t have to worry about not remembering. The bad news is that the reports aren’t always helpful and might repeat information.
Once you make it big enough to move out of the garage and into an office (and here’s a hint to that; focus on tech-heavy genres like action and simulation so you can make your own custom engine), you then gain the option to hire employees. This is necessary if you want to make medium games or bigger (I’d recommend getting at least two employees to make one), but their salary is added to your monthly cost (more on that later). They also get tired/frustrated and will need vacations every now and then to keep happy, as their mood can affect the final product. You also have the option of training employees in order to increase their skills. Much later, when you’ve gotten your own building, you can have employees specialize in an area, which is necessary if you want to make large or AAA games.
Of course, you have monthly costs you need to keep up with or you’ll go bankrupt. Costs go up as you move to bigger locations and get employees, as well as employees leveling up and earning a raise. Training and research also cost money, as does adding stuff to games like multiplayer or open worlds. There were several points where I had to make the tough decision to cut something I wanted out of a game in order to keep from spending money I didn’t have. And that is probably game’s greatest strength; it is a business simulator at heart, after all. So it makes sense that it throws problems an actual business would face at the player.
While the game can be pretty frustrating at times, it’s still one I like play every now and then. I’ve learned a few things about how game development works, as well as business management and even some gaming history (the names are changed, but it’s easy to tell what companies Game Dev Tycoon is referring to. “Ninvento,” anyone?). The biggest drawback is if you don’t know what goes into a good game, you’ll have to learn through trial and error (or just look up a guide online). But if you know a thing or two about games (or don’t care too much about trying things out and seeing if they work), this will be a fun and even educational experience.
Get Game Dev Tycoon here!
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