The gaming industry is a very difficult field for a single person to succeed, especially if they lived and tried to make it in the early 80s. Mad Games Tycoon by EggCodeGames is a management, strategy simulation that puts you in that persons shoes, letting you manage every aspect of game development and hopefully create the next big hit in the gaming world.
If you played Game Dev Tycoon, then you already have an idea about what this game is in it’s essence, but Mad Games Tycoon offers way much more depth in the whole gameplay experience. You start the game in the early 80s by naming your character, choosing the company logo and the country you are based in. The country choice is not for show, since you get some bonuses depending on where you are based. For example Japan offers 5% sales bonus to all the Fighting games you make while United Kingdom offers the same bonus to Sports games.
The choices continue during the character creation, where you need to decide where to spent your skill points. Are you a good game designer? Do you have a high speed when performing tasks? Also, are you good at creating Rpgs or First Person Shooters? Finally, are you experienced in Pre Rendered Graphics or 8 Bit Sound? The options are many in the first two screens of the game and you’ll need to think strategically, figure what games you like to create in the beginning of your journey, which technologies are already researched in the early 80s, and be proficient at that.
Of course you begin your journey alone, in your garage with your trusty computer, coding your first arcade game. You choose the genre and the theme, type the name (we all know it’s called Space Invaders). You choose the consoles you want your game to be released on and then you choose the game concept, meaning where to pay more attention. Story over game length or the eternal question : graphics over gameplay? Finally comes the part where you need to prioritize your work. Should you give more time to technology or sounds? Your choice, but if you want to have a successfull game in your hands, you need to think about what’s important for each genre.
The development process doesn’t last long, since there are not many features in your game. While working, you slowly learn more stuff and you become better during the process. You gain the experience you need to make something better next time. When your game is ready, you choose from the available publishers who showed interest in your game and you release it to the world. The reviews come in and are an indication of your game’s success. The higher the review scores, the more it will sell and it will help you as a developer to expand your company.
Besides the development process which I briefly described, there is a whole other world that reminds me personally of The Sims house building. As you become successfull, you can expand your business to bigger offices, hire people and build rooms to house research facilities, production facilities, graphic and music studios, etc. You choose where to set up every room, what to add inside it, where to place anything. Everything has a reason to be there, plants make the people who work for you happier, the heaters provide them with warmth, trash cans keep the place clean. If you don’t pay attention to what your staff needs, then they work slower and that will definitely affect the deadlines you might have for a game or for a third party development deal.
The fact is that Mad Games Tycoon is a deep game with many features that in order for me to describe anything, it will take me a lot of time and a whole lot of pages. The progression is very enjoyable and makes you feel like you accomplished something. Your first games will not be successfull, you will struggle during development and you’ll have to take a loan from the bank. But when you get the hang of the game and you figure out that creating your own engine and sell it to other developers is the way out of the gutter, then you will have a smooth sailing.
And it’s actually a pretty accurate representation of game development. You will have to oversee everything, from which engine to use to which features you need to research. A typical gameplay has you juggling marketing duties while you instruct your development team to work on the next Rpg on Poni Gamestation 2 and at the same time you are trying to research the next generation graphics in order to add them in your updated game engine. And that is not all. When you are well off and you feel comfortable, you can begin publishing and selling your own games, choosing the price and what goodies the box will contain. Finally, when the years pass and you are in the 21st century, with millions of dollars in your account, you can invest them to develop your own console or your own MMO.
All of the above that I described are just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot of micromanagement in the game, a lot of moving pieces that you will have to pay attention. The good thing though is that the gameplay doesn’t get tiring or tedious at any time. You will feel drawn in the game, trying to figure the best settings for each genre, trying to hire more and better staff that will help you finish more third party deals, trying to research newer features faster than the competitive developers. You will feel that progression each time, and every time you make a mistake that will bring you in the red of your account, you will have gained experience for your next playthrough.
I had two playthroughs with the game. The first one ended with me owing a whole lot of money to the bank, so much that I could not finish a development project so I can sell my game. On my second playthrough, I went the other way and instead of developing my favorite childhood games and have them score lower than the temperature in the Antarctic, I developed and sold engines. That, in time, gave me a nice income to upgrade my office and work without much stress. It is a very nice feeling when, after some failed releases, the experience my staff gained helped with developing a very good game that people loved.
As far as negatives go, there is not a huge variation in the characters you find to be your staff. I believe I have four people that look exactly the same in my office. Another thing is that, when you have many rooms that work on something, the workflow bar that lets you know at which percentage the work is at, shows in the middle. Those bars take a big part of the screen and at some point I couldn’t even look at my staff, I was watching bar percentages. Also, the first time I run the game I experienced a crash to the desktop but after that, everything was fine. That crash occured was when I was playing the Early Access of the game and since then Mad Games Tycoon has properly released and updated, so take that negative with a grain of salt. Finally, the graphics are not that great, you need to zoom in to see some detail but that doesn’t help because by zooming in you miss all the important information about your projects.
You can begin your game development journey by buying Mad Games Tycoon on Steam for 14,99€.
The fact is that Mad Games Tycoon by EggCodeGames is a deep managemet simulation about game development that will make players who enjoy this genre go mad about it. All puns aside, if you are looking for an even better alternative to Game Dev Tycoon, this is the game for you. If you are looking for a great management simulation, this is the game for you. If you want to have projects with crazy titles like I Eat M e m e s for Breakfast, being praised by reviewers, becoming Game of the Year and making you millions of dollars, then this is the game for you.
+Many game options
+So many things to do
+The steady progression keeps you glued in the game
–Not a lot of staff graphical options
–Progression bars fill the screen
–Graphics are not that great
Score : 8,7/10
Dimitris “Dimi Kaye” Kalyvas