I started playing Game Developer’s Story on cookiemonger’s tablet on … Friday, I think, and I hit the twenty-year mark with my (first, and probably only) studio, “Broken Records,” Sunday evening. I enjoyed my playthrough of the game, though there were some annoying bugs and/or features that I wish could be addressed. Mostly interface bugs, which made at least one stat page useless.

I was hooked on this game when I watched CM play it. It reminded me a lot of classic sim games, like SimCity 2000, SimEarth, and SimAnt. It overcame one of the classic problems with the sim games, which is a world that doesn’t really seem to change much. If you start in the 1950s in SimCity, you can see technology advance, but it doesn’t have the same impact the console wars have on game development.

A couple minor tweaks could really help Game Developer’s Story. Once a year, you have an award ceremony that hands out trophies for best design, best music, and so forth. Curiously enough, most of the “competing” games show up in both the “Worst Game” and “Grand Prize” categories, sometimes winning one and then the other. A larger table of game titles, or a name generator would help immersion tremendously.

While I do appreciate the variety, I think it would behoove the designers to insert an option to disable the “disasters” your company can face, such as the blackouts, competing game releases, bad fan letters, bad reviews, and the aging fan base. While it adds a degree of difficulty to the game, their random- to semi-random nature is frustrating when the player is already enjoying the challenge of balancing finances.

It’s really of no consequence, but I think the game would benefit from including the optional complexity of working with publishers: being forced to pitch games to a board of directors, managing rights to a lucrative intellectual property, getting roped into multi-game deals, or being commissioned to produce a tie-in game for a movie, toy line, or some other property. Not that the core game needs more complexity.

I don’t really see myself playing the game again any time soon, I saw enough of it over the weekend to satisfy my gaming compulsion, but I would recommend it to others who enjoy games in the sim genre. It’s light and fun, without too much complexity. You might have a couple companies go belly-up, but I didn’t really see what happens when you run out of money. I stumbled through it just fine.