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The A.V. Club
Game Dev Story almost plays like an eye-opening cautionary tale intended for oblivious or callous game critics. It’s a business sim that lets you run your own game company for roughly two decades, from the heady days of PC gaming up through the console-dominated modern era, all in adorable tongue-in-cheek fashion. The end goal is to maximize profits, and although you know what happens to the thinly disguised systems after they launch (the Wii here is called the Whoops), you can also alter the future by creating your own system. It all depends how cutthroat and/or experimental you want to be with your staffing and output, thanks to a wide variety of jobs, title types, and genres.
I spent the pittance that it costs to download Game Dev Story from the AppStore several weeks back, but I didn’t find time to start playing it until a few days ago. Since then, I’ve allowed the unassuming little title to suck up more than 20 hours of my life and I don’t even resent it for doing so. I’ve played through the campaign twice (because some stats carry over each time around and make new accomplishments possible) and now I am working through it a third time. I’ll probably never actually develop a real game myself, but I’ve developed more than 100 of them in Game Dev Story. I suggest that you do the same.
Slide to Play
We spend a lot of time immersed in video game culture and business, so Game Dev Story is incredibly absorbing to us. If you're not quite as obsessed with games, Game Dev Story might be too meta for you, but we found it to be a heartfelt love letter to everyone involved in the business of having fun: developers, players, and even reviewers. If you grew up with games, Game Dev Story tells the story of your life. It's a true gamer's game.
Game Dev Story won't impress you with stellar visuals or an iPhone specific feature set, but it is a well thought out and thoroughly enjoyable time sink, and is even more intriguing if you're familiar with the last few decades of video game history. It took me roughly five hours to play through the 20 year career of my company, and at the end of that time your highest selling game and biggest profits serve as the final score, though you can keep playing beyond that time period indefinitely if you choose. There really is just something about this game that keeps me coming back for more over and over again.
If you’re a fan of simulations such as Theme Park and Theme Hospital, and appreciate the history and vibrancy of the video game industry, then you really should download Game Dev Story at the earliest possible convenience. It’s quite possible that this could end up being the best iPhone release of 2010.
If someone could point me to further iPhone games of depth, maturity, and charm as Game Dev Story, I might be inclined to change my opinion of this thing I carry around in my pocket every day. There's so much to say about Game Dev Story, I amazed at how much I'm playing it even after a full week.
Retro Spirit Games
At a truly bargainous price of 'next to nothing', you owe it to yourself to get this game. If you don't have a smart phone, then this is the best reason to get one. Fuck the 15 mega-pixel camera, or the ability to use Facebook on the train. This game is the best reason yet to own the most irritating piece of technology devised by man! Get it now, but kiss your social life goodbye.
Calm Down Tom
If you can make a game about cooking without having anything to eat at the end, and a game about relationships where you don’t get a real hug, can you have a game about development without having a game to play at the end? The answer, apparently, is yes.
For a game that relies on stats, Game Dev Story oozes charm and character. You will care about your company and its hard working employees, even when they fail you. It’s this winning formula that will see you playing in to the small hours and possibly even laying awake at night, wondering just how you can make that one special game every developer dreams about.
When they're done well enough, management sims can give insight into the decisions and pressures of the guys in charge. And with the amount of relatively legitimate development-isms that pop up over the lifespan of your game studio, you can't help but feel a slight pang of empathy for the guys making the real things. But don't worry, that wears off. Soon all you'll care about is getting Game of the Year over those damned Circle Enix guys and spending five consecutive hours trying to get a decent score.
Granted, Game Dev Story’s not the sort of game that most people will play for the iPhone. There’s more to it than a revolutionary tap-to-jump mechanic and there’s nothing accessible about it. If there were ever a game that validated the platform - this isn’t it. The fact that Game Dev Story isn’t the top-selling Simulation title in the App Store, and hasn’t been since it was released for the glorified Smartphone, is telling of the iPhone’s worth as a gaming platform. The vast majority of iPhone fans probably won’t get it. People who care about the gaming industry, however, definitely will.
There's a lot to manage in Game Dev Story, and I'm not going to spoil some of the other surprises that the game has in store, so just do yourself a favor and go download it from the App Store for the modest price of $3.99. Its touch controls are excruciatingly easy and once you pick up Game Dev Story and invest an hour of your time, none of your friends or family will see you again for a very, very long time.
At the end of the day though, even with the lack of killer graphics, I can safely say that I spent more time with Game Dev Story in one sitting than any other game I’ve played this year. I feel like garbage now knowing that I probably could’ve learned how to make an actual video game in the time that I spent playing Game Dev Story, but in the eyes of many, that’s the pinnacle of gaming success. If you like time-draining sim games, I really don’t think you can find a better option in the App Store.
Game Dev Story is easily the best thing I've ever played on the iPhone. Unlike most addictive mobile games, which make you hate yourself a little for wasting so much time, it feels like you're investing in something. There's no other game that offers this much depth for £2.39, and it's so adorably packaged that it's impossible to resent it even when it dominates your entire Sunday. I'll get that 10/10 yet.
Was für eine Überraschung! Ich habe trotz des schleichenden Hypes sehr wenig erwartet, nachdem ich die ersten Bilder und Videos gesehen hatte. Aber Game Dev Story entpuppt sich sehr schnell als ein unheimlich süchtig machender Geheimtipp - nicht nur für Aufbaufans alter oder neuer Schule, sondern für alle Leute, die der Spielewelt nahe stehen, sie selber leidenschaftlich beobachten oder in ihr arbeiten. Ja, es gibt kleine statistische Fehler und irgendwann gewinnt man Preise und Charts zu leicht, weil man im letzten Drittel im Geld schwimmt und eine KI-Konkurrenz vermisst. Aber die Zeit verfliegt im Nu, weil man einfach nicht von seinem Team lassen kann und nur noch diese eine Kombination ausprobieren will, um sein eigenes Diablo, Half-Life oder Shadow of the Colossus (oh, was bin ich gescheitert!) zu entwickeln.
Game Dev Story est avant tout un jeu accessible à tous, que l'on soit néophyte ou professionnel du jeu de gestion. Avec son gameplay plus technique que les premiers instants de jeu le laissent paraître, et son faible prix, le titre de Kairosoft est une des pépites de l'App Store, dans la mesure où l'absence de version française n'est pas rédhibitoire.
For video game critics Game Dev Story may also be a lesson in empathy. You cannot make a sequel to a game unless it enters the Hall of Fame, and only critics can deem a game worthy. Critics mainly rate based upon your games stats, and high stats for a game can be difficult to attain. You could work hard to get a good staff, spend a few game development cycles levelling staff and game genres, spend money on expensive licenses, prepare research points, buy items, and after six years one critic’s ho-hum could eradicate hours of work. Shame on us. Perhaps this addictive game is Kairosoft Co.,Ltd‘s revenge on us all. God bless them.
Pocket Gamer UK
Still, its target audience is the kind of knowledgeable group of gamers who will pick up on most of the early challenges without too much fuss, and will get many hours of entertainment out of the game before its appeal wanes. That this game about games can inspire such devotion is a testament to its brilliance.