Getting mad, ugly and dirty with M.U.D. TV


You know, as of late, there really has not been many so called “economy simulators”. You know, those from the late Nineties and early 2000s that challenged players to work the economic system for a digital financial gain. Loosely based on social simulators like the Tropico series, I'm talking all those Tycoon games or any game that forced players to make lots and lots of money.

It seems like the social simulators might make a solid comeback much like the recent release of Tropico 3 by Kalypso, and it looks like Kalypso hopes to bring economic simulators back with their newest title, M.U.D. TV. Based on running a TV station, M.U.D. TV challenges PC gamers to not only create unique content, market it to the right target audiences and sabotage all competing studios, but they'll need to be really successful at it as well. If that sounds like a dream of yours, hit the jump for my impressions.

M.U.D. TV (PC)
Developer: Realmforge Studios/Kalypso Media
Publisher: Kalypso Media
To be released: March 2010

Standing for Mad Ugly Dirty Television, M.U.D. TV is obviously a game that looks at the world of television through a slightly skewered lens. Those expecting a mildly realistic take on the genre like Kalypso's last Tropico 3 will be disappointed, as M.U.D. TV is all about having wacky shenanigans. Fans of tongue-in-cheek humor will hopefully get a big kick out of M.U.D. TV.

Working as an executive of a TV studio, there are a lot of things you have to juggle. For example, the studios take place on flights of a building, with limited space. Studios, writing rooms, archives, all that are necessary to run a studio take space, never mind the fact that employees need space to work. A good player is going to balance how much space and create a good work environment.

Adding rooms to the studio is only one part of the job. You'll be running up and down the building, competing with other CPU-controlled studios in buying up the best in TV show concepts. Each concept for a show appeals to different targeted audience, and the final goal in the game is to appeal to those target audiences. Certain shows, movies, and series, as well as different actors, directors, writers, and other television types will appeal to different target audiences. Finally, different ads and companies will be attractive to each of those groups, so the agenda is to really make sure everything lines up. If it doesn't you'll fall apart.

Research is an important element of the game as well. Certain additions to your TV studio, such as a news room for a news show, can only be made with some financial investment in R&D. Research also offers the opportunity to gain skills for sabotage. While not the most important thing in the 10 stage single player campaign, sabotage skills are important when dealing with rival studios in multiplayer. Dropping ghetto blasters in the writing rooms, setting off fire alarms, doing all sorts of dick moves against opponents can be really change who wins in a race to success.

I didn't get a chance to see the multiplayer too much, but it looks like it will offer much of the single player options, just be in competition against up to 7 human and CPU opponents. Pretty simple, actually. Hopefully there will be enough to differentiate it from the single player to make it worth while, but the sabotage options seem all sorts of fun.

Many gamers are going to find the creativity elements the most exciting. Players will have the options of writing up and casting their own shows. While the animations for the production of the shows, as well as the short vignettes of your creations, are pre-packaged by the developers depending on the genre, the plot elements and actors can be chosen by the player. Also, Kalypso hopes to include an option to let players design their own ad logos.

Finally, I was struck by the art direction taken with the game. It's a stylized, almost cutesy direction with the game. The studios themselves look bright and bold. Honestly, I feel the little actors and directors, the people that live in the game, they are a little...ugly. However, they get the job done, and I am sure many people will find them charming. One thing for sure is that M.U.D. TV doesn't look to be a taxing game on anyone's hardware.

Disappointingly, some of my favorite features in the game look like they won't be making the final cut. All the advertisers are currently based on real-life companies, so snide little puns like “Electronic Farts” reside next to the not-so-mean Lego-esqu “ego”. Also probably being cut is some of the film content. While currently there is an “erotic” film option to create (with an oddly graphic sex scene involving the cartoon actors), don't expect it to make the German version, much less the American. Oh well!

M.U.D. TV is really a game geared toward people who feed off of these economic simulators. While it's fairly hands-on in game, running around your avatar to make sure things are completed, everything boils down to numbers. Fans of those games should certainly pay attention.

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Ben Perlee
Ben Perlee   gamer profile

So, yeah. Sup. How you be? I be good. I like the videogames. They are pretty cool. You played the Rock Band? I like the Rock Band. I sing "Don't Look Back in Anger" by Oasis on expert. It's prett... more + disclosures



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