I’m pretty sure we’ve all had those thoughts in the past growing up “I would like to make video games”, “I wonder what it’s like making video games”, “I bet it’s easy working in the video game industry”. Something a log those lines anyway and if you’ve ever had thoughts like that, well, you’ve got a lot of learning to do.
Game Developer Tycoon is an indie game developed by Green Heart Games based around, well, game development. Like all other tycoon games you begin and progress through the world making video games, selling them and earning money to make better games and earn more money and so on.
You start off travelling back thirty years in time when the video game industry was first born. You’re brought into a character creation screen to name your company (Moustache) and yourself. Although there aren’t many options aside from a few pre-set haircuts and shirts character creation isn’t that much of a big deal as you’ll be seeing the back of your character for most of the game, staring at a computer screen.
The tutorial is very helpful and informative at the beginning of the game. Also creating a game is quite simple and easy. You merely click anywhere of your garage, coincidentally holding a Delorian, and select “Develop Game” at this point you can select it’s genre, the console it will be released on and it’s topic. Once development has begun you get to choose the focus of the game throughout the process, will you go for the engine or throw in some good gameplay but ignore the quests/storyline? To be fair there are three sections of the development process so that is not your only worry; however, with a bit of time you’ll know what you’re doing.
Once the game has finished you’ll be granted experience points towards Technology and Design these will accumulate towards what you focus on more in the games you make (Graphics for design, Gameplay for both, Story/Quests for Technology to name a few) as well as experience towards yourself, the more you level up the better you will be at making games. After the game is made and experience points have been accumulated there comes the most horrific thing every game developer fears, the reviews. I know the sheer irony of this review but this is just how truthful Game Developer Tycoon is. Reviews are what make or break your game, anything below a “5” and you lose fans and make so little money, 6 or 7 and you’re pretty decent, 8 and above you’re rolling in money.
This is also the difficulty of the game it’s never made clear what you can do to please the reviewers other than repeating yourself or developing new ideas and concepts for games, but every now and again you will seem to pull out something spectacular which is normally when you’re backed against the wall and nearing bankruptcy, what I like to call a “Hironobu” as I make a fantasy RPG titled “Last Hope”, and this normally gives you the boost you need to expand your company to the next level.
Aside from creating games you can also earn “Research Points” through developing games and contract work. Research points are used to develop new options into your games like topics or a game engine, which you can name yourself, as well as new features that can be put inside your new game engine. Although this may seem as a bit of a boost you need to be careful what you spend these points on as researching takes up time and money, so you need to plan ahead.
Overall, this game is truly addictive and gives a clear insight what it takes to become a games developer and the hardships that come along; although, I’ve never made it past the second stage I always have so much fun playing it and try to make games that always score high, which I fail to do. I cannot recommend this game enough to people if they wish to play something new and different.