It’s pretty obvious that my week-or-so long departure hasn’t been completely covered. I’ve covered about 2 days of it. The rest of the time…well that was devoted to Game Dev Story, an iPhone/iPad game that has completely eaten away at all of my free and non-free time. I can’t remember the last time I was this obsessive over a game. This is more than Fallout 3 or Final Fantasy XII(which I loved, so fuck off) this is like Pokemon Red (that was the one I bought) back on the Game Boy, not the game boy color mind you, this is old school obsession.
“Don’t you guys talk about music anymore?”
We’ll get there eventually. I should talk about music in games more, but when I finally finish Super Meat Boy we’ll talk about that.
It’s a very simple game, you’re starting a game company, you have to hire people to work for you, figure out what kind of game to make, and figure out what characteristics the game should have. That doesn’t sound simple at all, but think of the game Lemonade Stand, it’s a lot like that, or Drug Wars on the TI-83: an entrepreneurial simulation simplified. All of the real work is done for you, by the people that you hire. The games fun, creativity, graphics and music are the 4 main attributes of your game that are constantly being added to by your programmers, directors, musicians, producers, writers and all the rest of your staff.
For the most part your view never leaves your office, once a year there is an E3 esque convention and the last week of the year there is an award show for all of the fictional games that you have created and all of the other fictional games created in that year that you don’t really hear anything about. When your company grows large enough you will move to a bigger space and be able to hire a few more people.
After you choose what game to make, your employees start working hard to make the game, which goes through alpha, beta and debugging stages before the game is realized. Once your game is finished, you will be reviewed by 4 people giving you game a score between 1 and 10. At the start of the next week you will see your sales figures in “real time.” It’s one of the most incredibly rewarding experiences video gaming when your sales skyrocket, and devastating when your game fails.
I’m not the biggest iPhone/iPad gamer. I enjoy Civilization: Revolutions a lot, it ate my time up on more than twenty occasions, I liked Osmos but I found it difficult to play on a train bumping around a lot, Scrabble of course (but that has taken a back seat to GDS), Sam and Max doesn’t run as well as I was hoping it to, Angry Birds is fun and challenging but I just kind of hit a wall in the game. But nothing is close to GDS. It makes me feel like it’s high school and I’m playing a video game in the back of class (probably because of all my time spent with Drug Wars). You won’t believe how fast the time flies while you’re playing the game, not just the in game time, but I have put my head down to start playing, looked up thinking it was a few minutes later only to discover that I’ve missed my train stop (which is at least 40 min from the time I started playing). In fact… I’ve got some games to make.