Counterfeited Simulation

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Christmas, 1989. 

I was 8 years old.  I remember opening a bulky rectangular package that contained something called a Game Boy. My aunts and uncles seemed more excited about it than I was. What was this grey brick-like device? What were Super Mario Land and Tetris? More importantly, why would I want to play these games on the go versus on the TV? I was a kid. I had no clue that I was holding the portable future of video games in my hands.

Today my iPod is a constant companion. When I’m not listening to music in the car, I find myself browsing the net or playing the latest iOS game on the Apple-made device.

Now, I’m a sucker for a good simulation game. I grew up with Theme Park, Sim City 2000, and Roller Coaster Tycoon. I love spending hours micro-managing and designing environments for my virtual denizens. Because of my love for this genre, I have been suckered into what can only be called mere imitations.

Simulations are not all created equal on the iOS. Some, most, are built around artificial time constraints and real life money transactions. Want to increase your build time? Buy a 1000 Tower Bucks for $5.99. These “games” are usually fun for the first few hours and then they slowly reveal their true selves. A digital gaming relationship of sorts gone down the drain. Like a spurned lover, the following is a list of such games that have suckered me  in only to drop kick me later on:

The above games–and there are many many more like them–boil down to a simple equation:

time constraints + breeding monsters/building cities/routing planes + virtual money = supporting video game heresy

Disguised as simulations, these games prey upon your time and offer what is ultimately a counterfeit experience versus something real such as Game Dev Story.

As a follower of Christ, I find myself constantly sifting, weighing, and comparing what I am being told daily versus what the Bible says. I don’t want to settle for the counterfeit and end up cheated out of my time and money. I want the truth. I want the real deal. Don’t settle. No matter how flashy the gameplay may be; no matter how deceptive the lie is that you’ll never find anyone to marry. Don’t settle. God always has a better way. There is always a better alternative than embracing and engaging the counterfeit.

Game Dev Story

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Press Start:

In my youth, I lost many an hour submerged in Bullfrog’s Theme Park. By high school, I had graduated to the Roller Coaster Tycoon series. In college, I even further immersed myself in the sim management genre with Lionhead Studios The Movies. Weeks, days, and hours were lost to these all consuming business simulators. So, imagine my surprise when I found another addicting sim, this time on the iDevice.

Game Dev Story, developed by KairoSoft, puts you in the seat of running your very own video game development studio. You get to make the day-to-day decisions regarding:

.: Development :.

  • Platform (PC, Microx 480, PlayStatus, Game-Box, etc.)
  • Genre (shooter, trivia, action rpg, etc.)
  • Type (dating, ninja, fantasy, etc.)
  • Direction (Do you want to develop the game at a normal pace, in a hurry, or on a budget?)

“You’re bored? Get to work!”

.: Staffing :.

  • Hiring (Keeping in mind that salaries will eventually have to be paid.)
  • Increasing Skill-sets
  • Promoting
  • Firing (Disney always used the term “separated”.)

.: Advertising/ Marketing :.

  • Increase your fan base and overall product awareness.

Your direction of the studio will either lead to its success or supreme failure.

Ideology/ Worldview:

Capitalism.

Menu

Interaction/ Gameplay:

Via touch screen, there is a drop down menu to input your commands.

In the End:

The first night I dove into Game Dev Story, I ended up playing for about two hours straight. The mixture of management decisions, marketing (advertising/ going to trade shows), and having to decide which console to develop for had me hooked. This game is perfect for those on the go and priced out (for a limited time) at $1.99. I can’t recommend this game enough!