Game Dev Story
is a small indie game for the iPod and Android; a PC version was released but only in Japan. In it, you are the president of a fledgling video game company just after the crash
and just before Intendro
is to release a new console. Your job is to make as much money as you can within 20 years, perhaps even releasing your own console.
Though released with little fanfare, the game has gone on to see critical and commercial success. As an affectionate parody and look back at the last 20 years of video games as well as poking fun at video game development, ironically, some of the most avid fans are game developers themselves.
Due to the success of the game, Kairosoft has announced they will be making a sequel. In addition, they have licensed out the game to another developer to make on Facebook. And lastly, to prove that they're not done poking fun at the video game industry, they released (in Japan only)
a sister game called Waiwai! The Game Dealer
in which you play the owner of a video game store who must sell video games to customers.
Subsequently, Kairosoft has gone on to make additional simulation games such as Hot Springs Story
and Grand Prix Story.
You may notice a pattern here.
This videogame provides examples of:
- Alternate History: Although the various consoles follow historic trends, it is possible to change the course of history through successful products. You can even develop your own game console, given the right skills.
- Arab Oil Sheikh: King Ackbar, an unlockable character who got hooked on games and ran away from his kingdom to become a game director.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can only fit 4 employees in your office at first, expandable to 6 and then 8. But it looks like you could cram in at least a couple more desks. And there's no real reason you wouldn't/couldn't expand further beyond the fact that they didn't include the option.
- Maximum count of employees+you=9. Kairosoft typically has had an average of nine employees. Hmmmmm...
- Beary Friendly: Grizzly Bearington, an unlockable character. He is initially introduced as a menace, but he loves producing video games.
- Bland-Name Product: Almost all of the consoles, companies, and games in the game are based on real life versions. For consoles, this includes their historical success, failures, and market. There is even a replacement for E3 and various game awards.
- Captain Ersatz: Many of the developers are based on real life developers or notable individuals.
- Caustic Critic: In the beginning, you will hate those critics. Their love and respect can be earned, but it will take years of hard work.
- Creator Cameo: In the game awards ceremony, games by Kairosoft are often nominated.
- Critical Dissonance: In-universe. Just because your game is a critical flop doesn't mean people won't buy it anyway. And conversely, a game can be very good critically but due to various factors, people just won't buy many copies (or you spent too much money on it and it doesn't break even).
- Cruelty Is the Only Option: There are diminishing returns to training employees. To get ahead, you eventually need to fire mediocre employees to make room for better ones.
- 8.8: In-universe. Averted if you don't put enough effort into a game.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Chipman Z Force, an unlockable character.
- Executive Meddling: The game! The only thing your developers do on their own (other than work) is ask your permission to try something on the current game in development. Everything else, you have total control. What game to make. How to make the game. What job they'll do. Even where they sit. Want to churn out sequel after sequel? Work your staff overtime and burn them out creatively? Go for it.
- Guide Dang It: Have fun trying to figure out how to get a Hardware Engineer without some help from the Internet. Or how some of the more advanced mechanics work.
- Guilt-Based Gaming: Some of the comments people make when you fire them (or even consider firing them) are meant to make you feel guilty.
- Masked Luchador: Mr. X, an unlockable character shrouded in mystery.
- New Game+: Starting a new game after playing through 20 years lets you keep the genres and types you've unlocked along with their levels. You still need to get them by having appropriate people but you don't need to train them.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The genre options that the game lets you mix-and-match (along with the consoles you can make them for) can result in some pretty...bizarre games. Unfortunately, the Ninja, Pirate and Robot genres are mutually exclusive.
- Non-Idle Rich: Inverted; you, as the president of the company, are extremely idle. During the course of the game, you walk to your desk and... that's it. You remain there for the rest of the game.
- Refuge in Audacity: It can turn out this way.
- You can have Lady Gaga, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, and Shigeru Miyamoto, Maria Sharapova, a monkey, and a robot working on an Architectural First Person Shooter for the Dreamcast.
- Even better: You can do it on a console with a potato chip that uses punch cards instead of cartridges/discs.
- Did somebody say, "Ninja Formula One Racer for the Wii/Whoops"?
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Once you have some money under your belt, it can be easy to throw money around without really bothering to watch the bottom line.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: Kairobot, an unlockable character and the mascot of Kairosoft. He can also be hired to appear at the game's equivalent of E3.
- Take That: The imitator to the Wii in-game is named the "Whoops".
- Undying Loyalty: Your employees will never quit of their own accord, they only leave if you fire them.
- Viewers Are Goldfish: Averted. If you release too many similar games or too many sequels, your fanbase will notice and stop buying your games.
- World of Pun: Developers that aren't Captain Ersatzes tend to be this, such as Holly Cow and Callie Fornia.