Thursday, October 21, 2010
Game Dev Story mini-review
Game Dev Story is an iPhone sim game where you run your own game development studios. It costs $3.99.
Why is it important?
From my own experience and this thread on NeoGaf, it appears Game Dev Story has succeeded in getting players to form and share narrative within a fairly simple sim game context. I’ve seen similar stories shared on Facebook and Twitter.
Users commonly share stories about games they have released, how many sales they received, whether or not they received an high review scores, and whether they received any awards. This sharing occurs outside of the game (which is a positive indication for how much players want to share).
Key to achieving this high degree of sharing is simple personalization options. Players can name their studios, and name their games. It’s much more interesting to share that “Barry Soft” released “Golf Town” than a nameless studio releasing a nameless game.
Game Dev Story also mixes in innumerable humorous references to the computer and gaming industry and popular culture. You can hire employees like Donny Jepp, Stephen Jobson, Walt Sidney. Console to develop for include Game Kid by Intendro, and Senga Play Gear. These add additional narrative details you can easily incorporate into your story – “Stephen Jobson did my proposal, and Walt Sidney did the graphics!”
Game Dev Story is a great example of how in a restricted environment players can leverage their own imagination to tell complex stories.
It’s also addictive
Game Dev Story has succeeded in achieving that “just 1 more turn” feeling where players feel like something exciting is always on the horizon.
Managing your game studio’s needs, a complex web of hiring employees, advertising your studio and upcoming games to increase sales, training employees, funding new games, executing contracts for other companies and earning money by shipping games all pipes through an easy to understand cash mechanic.
Since many of these systems are time based, where you spend money to receive a benefit in the future, it all feeds into the feeling that if you play “just one more turn” something amazing will happen, you’ll get rich, and your games will sell millions.