In the virtual reviews from the virtual critics that judge your virtual game company's output in Game Dev Tycoon, depth is never a point of concern. Well, it is here.
Everything in the eyes of Informed Gamer (and other fake media outlets) is good or bad. While this lack of critical insight is one of the largest flaws in Game Dev Tycoon, it speaks volumes about the title's design.
Game Dev Tycoon is an occasionally clever idea that offers some perspective on what it's like to work in the game industry, but it fails to dig deeper as a game, settling somewhere between a parody of studio culture and a cute history lesson.
Game Dev Tycoon (PC, Mac) Developer: Greenheart Games Publisher: Greenheart Games Released: April 28, 2013 MSRP: $7.99
Game Dev Tycoon covers our gaming history from garage PC development to the PlaySystem 4, but the title itself owes much of its design, and lack of thoroughness, to Facebook and mobile gaming. From title to concept, it's impossible for the game to escape comparison to Kairosoft's Game Dev Story. Even in execution, the differences between the two don't become clear until a couple hours into Tycoon. Thankfully, these differences work in the title's favor, providing elegant and smart solutions to problems presented in Game Dev Story.
As the title suggests, Game Dev Tycoon is a business simulation in the style of Microprose series like Railroad Tycoon and RollerCoaster Tycoon. The business you run is a game studio, so the scale is much smaller. Once you create an avatar, the game starts you off in a garage with a commercial PC in the '70s. Depending on the time frame you chose (which can go from 25 years to 35+), you will eventually end up developing games for next-gen consoles in a highrise if you found success throughout the years.
Game Dev Tycoon does a great job of introducing new elements that keep each era of development as memorable as the offbeat hardware that we so often forget -- the Game Gears, cancelled Nintendo add-ons of yesteryear. Yet, these elements don't come quickly enough, making for a rather dry and monotonous early game.
Game development is divided into several stages: funding/company management, development, and marketing. At the start, income will come primarily from contract work which will also net research points. Research can be invested in unlocking new game topics, technology, and leveling up staff's abilities. Development itself is divided into several stages.
Once you have decided a name, topic, genre, and console platform, the player is prompted with three screens of development factors. Each screen has a slider with three different elements, for example world design, sound, and graphics. You can equalize all elements or focus on one. Only through gaming savvy (e.g., invest heavily in dialogue for RPG and adventure games) and trial-and-error will success be found.
As the player goes from PC development to buying licenses to create games for Ninvento and Vega consoles, new challenges are introduced in the form of managing a staff, dedicating money to researching new technology, and following current market trends. The game even has its own E3 convention; the bigger your booth, the more hype you'll generate for your current project. Hype is an invaluable resource, even if the game doesn't do a good job of letting you know how much it will impact sales.
Game Dev Tycoon does a poor job of surfacing any feedback to the player. There are no focus groups or beta testers, and the fake reviews offer little to no insight. Everything is good or bad. Why did my $10.5 million comedy action-RPG fail? Who knows. Sure, it's common sense not to make a sports-adventure hybrid or use outdated tech on modern consoles, but isn't it also common sense that delivering a timely sequel after a review said "Can't wait for the sequel" should be met with success?
Though Game Dev Tycoon takes influence from our gaming history, its rules don't always follow our reality. This wouldn't be such a problem if it put any effort into conveying its special alternate reality. Instead, the player is left to stumble in the dark. Each of my successes felt like dumb luck or exploiting a known formula for success. Maybe I could run Ubisoft, after all?
The sound and visuals are low-rent, leaning on social gaming gimmickry, like bubbles that pop with the frequency of popcorn as you earn design and technology points for your game in development. It all works, in the way that a manipulative Facebook game has proven to work, but it's hardly as inspired or charming as Game Dev Story's pixel art and SNES-era soundtrack. The best thing I can say is that the production elements neither get in the way or make much of an impression.
Half of the fun, however, is in seeing the game's reinterpretation of popular game consoles and posters in the office reflecting the blockbuster games of the time. I only wish there was more of this type of stuff and opportunities to interact and customize your work space.
When Game Dev Story introduced the idea of a game development sim to Japan in '97 and then the West in 2010, it was a novel concept that made overlooking its flaws easier. While Game Dev Tycoon is a superior experience with a better interface for its platform, it still suffers from the same pitfalls of monotony and lack of player feedback that Game Dev Story suffered from.
While I appreciate the perspective Game Dev Tycoon has given me on game development, from indie studios in debt to huge studios juggling multiple projects, it was never the game's sim elements that had me returning. It offers a pleasant walk down memory lane of past consoles and technology, but that's about it.
Average - Like a meal of lukewarm water with white bread. It filled my time and my belly, but lacks any discernible flavor or nutritional value. A game that left me no different than it found me. Just passing through.
This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.
Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.
Daniel Lingen #PAX2015Agent9 gonna help my mom move and pack some things. what it means is I'm gonna sit and get yelled at whether I do or do not do something. I can't be the only one with a picky parent that expects nothing less than clairvoyance (-_-)WryGuy If some weren't aware, Phil/Mike Martin needs some help right now but can't access traditional donation avenues like Paypal on his own. I'm offering to be a middle man. I'm also offering to match 50% moving forward right now. [email protected]OverlordZetta At first I thought it would be fun. Then more ideas came, so I kept adding. More! More! But soon it just became stubbornness. Now, as I stare at 10000 words of meandering loon about a subject I'd almost rather be porn, I must question all my life choices.Fenriff Someone on Gamefaqs asking the real questions. How mad would you be if halfway through the Mad Max game he stumbles upon a tribe of kids and the rest of the game is a lighthearted romp?MeanderBot I think, for my first try, I drew a pretty damn good Ryu, if I do say so myself
[img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/edB8UKLdSZep8ZSOYF8u[/img]RexterNathan Really sad that Wes Craven has passed away. He made really fun films.CJ Andriessen R.I.P. Wes Craven. I'll always remember you for A Nightmare On Elm Street, Scream and Red Eye. I'll try not to remember you for Music of the Heart.OverlordZetta So apparently Nintendo is taking down Mario Maker Let's Plays as fast as they can. Good job!Snaveage Phantom Pain is fucking glorious.IDrawOnTape Anyone remember the cartoon "Freakazoid"? I'm doing artwork for a box for work to hold my supplies, but I cant remember some of the better characters. Freakazoid, Steph, Cosgrove, Candlejack, the Lobe, Caveguy... but who else?TheAngriestCarp Gotta love all those Dtoid community members that magically appear whenever there's a giveaway.DSBrad Newest Madden may be one of my favorites. Been taking all my time up. TheDefenestrator TWITCHTOID! I'll be playing some more PS4 Zombi and then some Until Dawn if'n I want to change things up. Link: [url=http://www.twitch.tv/thedefenestrator]Twitch.tv: TheDefenestrator[/url]Fenriff Bless Wasteland 2's custom portraits [img]http://i.imgur.com/JuWaB1W.png?1[/img]James Internet Ego Sorting out a bunch of university stuff and going through a bit of writers block. I'm also holding some of my best stuff back for freelancing purposes (uni ain't cheap!), so sorry if my blogs have been a bit lackluster lately. And will be for 4-ish weeks.gajknight Been looking for a car to buy today. I swear, I am so sick of my mums voice. "It's too expensive!" "Don't you think it's a little big..." "INSURANCE!" Goddamn woman, chill your beans.ChillyBilly Hey look! I bought some toys and stuff and junk and what-not.
[IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b321/Felth/Mobile%20Uploads/2015-08/IMAG0656.jpg~original[/IMG]CJ Andriessen Yes, it's essentially a trace job, but this is my first piece of pixel art: [img]http://i.imgur.com/N0zmHiL.png[/img]CJ Andriessen Oh for fuck's sake, why is there no Netflix app for my PSTV?