Simulation Review of Game Dev Tycoon

For my Simulation and Serious Game Design course we were posed to review a serious simulation. I chose to review Game Dev Tycoon by Greenheart Games. It was self published by Greenheart Games in 2012 with a later release in 2013 on steam with Valve Corporation publishing it as well. There appears to be no ESRB rating for the game on PC. It would fall specifically into the Business Simulation category.

I think the game has some pluses and minuses in regard to it being a good learning platform. You learn about the financial inter-workings of game development which is quite important. You also learn about how large the scope of games can be, the different categories, different platforms, different aspects that go into games from game world, game play, sound, art style, etc etc..I didn't learn anything new from playing the game, but it put a lot of these aspects into concrete terms for me. Previously they had been more abstract.

I had fun playing the game. A few hours flew by while playing the game and I barely even noticed. I also tended to be like, just one more release. One more this or that and I didn't want to put it away.

The game was very easy to get into, in the beginning it is really hard to mess things up to the point you would go bankrupt. However you can run into a point where you're having to borrow money from the bank because you spent too much money developing something too big yet.

The controls were very simple. Click on a person to get a menu for that person. Click on an empty area to get something for the whole company. They could have done a different menu system, one that is part of the UI however this method gives the player the ability to see more, more of the time.

I think I would have changed some of the things I feel are a negative. First off, not everyone does everything in the business. Art, animation, design, programming. There was some categorization for each employee in the game but it wasn't broken down like that but rather in other terms. Another is that for the game engine, you have to pay for the whole thing over again even if you're just adding a single new system to it. I would have made it so you could just pay for the new piece to be added without paying for the whole thing over again. Another factor was time. The salaries were quite a bit off in my opinion. I think on my play through I could have hired someone at the cost of 20,000 per month in the 80's. Maybe that is really what it cost then to hire a programmer but the costs per month were insanely staggering very quickly it felt like. Also it was interesting to see for example 100k in units sold with only like 200k in sales generated. When I saw that I was like, the game only sold for $2 each?

I would recommend the game to players because it is fun while being educational to some degree. Although it may not be the most accurate simulation it is a good way for players at large to get a little taste of what it is like to be in the game development business and understand the financial costs that game developers incur.

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