Game Dev Tycoon
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Game Dev Tycoon is a 2012 video game by Greenheart Games that is not about slaying dragons, rescuing damsels, or eating dots, but about — well, about writing video games. It is a game that only a video-game writer could love. The fact that several video-game players love it too only proves that the world is full of wannabes.
Critics say that a video game by Kairosoft called Game Dev Story was a "creative influence" on Game Dev Tycoon. That would be those too polite to call Game Dev Tycoon an overt rip-off.
Game Dev Tycoon has had a major influence on software development in Silicon Valley.
The game starts in the 1980s in a garage, during the Golden Age of video games. The player has a video terminal connected to CompuServe and must invent an engaging video game about faster-than-light space travel, using nothing but ASCII characters, as he cannot assume the game-buyer owns a graphics card. The player also has some used office furniture. And the garage is where Dad keeps his supply of Schlitz.
edit Advanced stages
As the player gains commercial success, Game Dev Tycoon gives him more advanced challenges. Atari, Sony, and Microsoft bring out new consoles and the player has to "port" his game onto them, even though all the buttons are different, and even though Microsoft has stolen all the features from the previous round and made them standard features of Windows.
If the player is successful at this stage — defined as making $1,000,000, and don't you wish you didn't work at McDonald's in real life? — he will be given a real office in a high-rise "incubator" complex, and will never have to think about whether what he is doing is useful enough to keep paying the rent.
For further successes in the game, the player is given a sexy secretary whose bottom jiggles nicely when you tell her to sharpen all those pencils you are never going to use. And she doesn't mind doing it, because this is a fantasy game.
edit Corporate intrigue
After stealing your ideas and changing Windows so your game no longer runs smoothly, the successful player finds Microsoft waving an absurd amount of money in his face, to buy out the new game company completely. The player is merely asked to stay on as a "consultant."
Gaming blogs say this gambit is a trap. Firstly, the player will not even be able to glance at the bottom of a female fellow employee without risking a trip to Personnel. And he will not be able to develop any new games in the short span of time between off-site coursework on Sensitivity Training. If the player does get a new idea, Management will cancel it when the new game is about 80% done.
edit Winning the game
A gamer who succeeds at all the stages of the game gets to advance to the final stage, where he has a chance to do all of the following:
- Wear a scratchy wool suit.
- Be served the papers for sexual harassment lawsuits, rather than simply risk causing them.
- Receive a meaningless executive title, along with twenty slackers, though it will look good on your business card.
- Testify before the state legislature on risks to the video game industry, such as the mortal risk posed by uncertified inventors working in garages.
The authors of Game Dev Tycoon used a unique method of protecting their game against piracy: They uploaded a deliberately defective version to Torrent. Players pirating this game will be told they suck and will gradually lose money and then lose the game.
At that point, the desperate pirate will run out and pay real money for a clean version, which he will not simply put back on Torrent, least of all with blog posts everywhere about which is the real version and which is the fake.
Although this method was unique when first used, Microsoft has stolen it as well: Every other version of Windows is buggy, crashes frequently, and has gratuitous changes to the user interface (referred to as Genuine Advantage). These customers do not become disgruntled either, but line up to pay again when the good version comes out two years later.