Mobile phone games.
That label alone is enough to make most veteran gamers roll their eyes and think of Angry Bird copycat games.
Indeed, I must admit that until recently, I did not think there was really much in the way of games for phones that could capture my attention for any serious amount of time, excluding the ubiquitous Scrabble clones.
Enter “Game Dev Story” by Kairosoft.
This game had me spending more than one evening on the couch, trying to run a successful game development LEGO Light Kit company and leaving my consoles and PC sitting untouched and unloved.
The premise of the game is, as implied by the name, to run a game developer company.
You get to choose a name for your company and you start off in small office, ready to begin hiring staff members and make some games!
The game gives you a choice on the theme of the game and the genre. This can lead to many classic combinations, such as a historical golf game, pirate racing games or a anime puzzle game (though I guess anime really works with everything, eh?).
Of course you can also do more sensible combinations like a robot action game or a historical strategy game.
The combination is important because some combos go over better with the gaming public than others.
At the same time you will be leveling up your expertise in making these games, so your company becomes better at making these types of games.
Of course you’ll also need to decide on what platform your pirate racing game is going to come out on.
The different platforms all have different costs associated with them, and before you can develop a game for a console you’ll have to lay down some greens for a one time license fee.
When development starts, you get to choose who gets to work on different parts of the game like the script and the graphics.
You can either use your in-house staff members, or you can splash some cash on outsourcing the job (way to show confidence in your people, boss).
When the game development is complete, your team will start squashing any bugs in the software.
Here you can be a cynical greedy bastard and just go ahead and release the game with bugs still in it, or you can let your guys finish the job and polish it all up (So you can decide whether you are playing Obsidian or Blizzard).
When your game is released, it will be judged by reviewers (sadly there’s no option to bribe reviewers, so I guess it’s not that realistic a game) and then it’s time to see those sales numbers start stacking up.
You can also help the process along by spending some of your money on advertising campaigns, which can be anything from radio ads to advertising on the moon, depending on the size of your wallet (and the severity of your megalomania).
Games that receive great critical acclaim end up in the hall of fame, and you will be able to make sequels to them.
But if the sequels do not also make it into the hall of fame, then you can no longer continue that series.
So better make Super Pirate Racing 2 live up to the high standards set by the original!
There are lots of other neat touches, like training your staff or attending an E3 like gaming convention.