I’ve recently been playing a little game called Game Dev Story. It’s one out of a few titles from a company called Kairosoft, all of the titles in the series are tycoon simulator style games and they all end with “story” in their name.
This particular title was actually released in October 2010, and I know, you’re probably thinking, “That’s ages ago!”. And you’re probably right. But, I’ve only started playing it recently and I quite enjoy it.
Basically, the game lets you take charge of a small, developing game developer and build it up into becoming one of the giants in the game industry.
You start off by developing you first game (obviously) and you do that by navigating a series of menus that let you choose everything from your platform to the type and genre of the game.
The platforms, incidentally, are all puns of actual consoles. They actually do serve as a good insight into the history of gaming, so long as you can decipher the names for yourself.
After you’ve decided on your type of game and platform, then you assign your staff to lead different stages of the development, i.e. Scenario writing, Graphics, etc.
Your staff also can be trained and this will allow you unlock new genres and game types. This will also improve their overall abilities.
The actual “game” you develop progresses over time and you can follow its progress with a simple percentage indicator on the screen. How good your game is is indicated by the use of points being assigned to Fun, Creativity, Graphics and Sound. These are added throughout the development of the game and are directly related to the skill levels of your staff.
The genre and type combinations you choose matter as well. It’s all a big experiment, really. You have to figure out which combinations work well and which don’t. Some combinations are obvious such as war-based shooters, others aren’t. And, even the best made “games” (those that gain large amounts of points for Fun, Creativity, Graphics and Sound), may still flop in the market because their genres and types just don’t match.
As you progress through the game, you will be offered chances to upgrade to bigger offices where you can hire more staff. More staff means more collective ability points and better games. Sort of like the real thing, no?
New consoles will also periodically enter the market and older ones will leave. It’s up to you to choose which consoles you want to buy licenses for and make games for. I believe this part is scripted somewhat as if you were to follow the respective histories of the actual consoles the game intends to replicate, you’d more often find that the consoles you don’t expect to do well, generally don’t last long. (I’m looking at you, Virtual Boy).
Overall, it’s an enjoyable experience. The fact that they add imaginary awards and game conventions just add to the overall fun of it. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and I wouldn’t call it anywhere near realistic. But, that being said, if you are interested in game development and video games, in general, you’d definitely have a couple of hours worth of fun with this.
Game Dev Story is available for iOS and Android. Currently, on sale for AU$4.49 in the App Store and AU$2.50 on Google Play. Don’t worry, there is a demo version available for free called Game Dev Story Lite. Try it out for yourself!