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Video Game: Game Dev Tycoon
Game Dev Tycoon is a business sim made by Daniel and Patrick Klug of Greenheart Games, two brothers from Australia with the goal of making a cheap, fun game that modeled itself after other Tycoon sims, and aimed to avoid certain business practices.

You start out in the 80's with little more than rudimentary technologies and your own ability; from there, gaming history will unfold, as strangely familiar companies step into the ring or fade into nothingness, while you advance from designing games alone in your garage to managing a big-name gaming giant of your own creation. Success is not easy to come by, however; your consumer base can be cruel, and gaming journalists even more so.

Available for Windows, Mac and Linux. The Windows and Mac versions were released on Steam (thanks to Greenlight) August 29, 2013 (a separate version for Windows 8 is also available through the Windows Store). They ran into difficulties with licensing of the libraries used by the game on the Linux platform, which not only delayed the release of the Linux version on Steam, but caused the existing pre-Steam versions of the game to get pulled as well (ironic considering that Linux is supposed to be the most liberal platform that they're coding for). The issue was settled in October 2, 2013 and the Linux version was finally released to Steam on the same day.

This game contains examples of:

  • 20% Cooler: Literally Invoked, but Averted in spirit. Your next game needs to be 20% better than your last 9.0 hit to score another 9.0+ review. Averted in that the game uses a complex 'quality rating' score that may seem vague and arbitrary, but isn't when you look under the hood.
  • Allegedly Free Game: Averted. Greenheart noted the trend among some of their competitors and purposefully steered clear of it.
  • And Your Reward Is Interior Decorating: A big part of advancing is improving your workspace, as you'll go from working out of your own garage to gradually larger and nicer studios.
  • April Fools' Day:
  • Bland-Name Product: Happens by the truckload in the game, to both the platforms (i.e. Ninvento, Vena, Vony and Micronoft). It had to be done to write around trademarks.
    • If you release a game without naming it, you release it as "Game #x". In response, reviews might say "The name says it all" or "As generic as the name."
  • Broad Strokes: How this game's timeline tends to skip over events in gaming history, despite reflecting most of it. The Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance are all essentially treated as the same console. In addition, a good part of Sega's history is pretty much skipped over with the Sega Saturn being completely non-existent.
    • It also lumps in Apple Computers as just another PC maker note , and completely skips over Atari. Also, Godovore goes bankrupt after the C64-expy when in real life Commodore did release another top-selling computer that stayed in market for about a decade before being driven to bankruptcy by an embargo on the CD 32 in the US.
  • Captain Ersatz: The game uses this as the equivalent of Bland-Name Product when it comes to staff names. Again, to avoid possible legal problems with the real deal.
  • Colon Cancer: Averted in both the game's title and the gameplay. The game gives you a fair amount of room for your game titles, but not enough to invoke this trope much for your own games.
  • Console Cameo: Oh so very much. Since the timeline of the game reflects the actual history of video games, we get to see parodies of the big four's systems, as well as a rather popular brand of mobile phone in the game's latter half.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: One possible event involves people pirating one of your games; you can choose to either sue them or simply give them a warning.
    • Actually utilized as a creative deterrent for real pirates. A version that was purportedly leaked (actually released to Pirate Bay by the developers themselves) would, halfway through the game, trigger an event where the pirates stealing from you in game cannot be stopped. They steal from you more and more, and essentially make the game impossible to win.
  • Disney Owns This Trope: You may get contacted by patent trolls claiming to own extremely basic concepts used in your latest game. They give you two possible options: either pay a certain amount of money to have them leave you alone or take the matter to court. However, you can also Take The Third Option and attempt rallying your fanbase, which, if successful, is not only free of charge but also makes your company more popular.
  • Double Unlock: Triple Unlock in this case. You must reach a certain skill level to unlock research for a game aspect. Then you have to spend time, money and research points to actually research it, THEN you have to build a brand new game engine and include the feature in it. Once you do all that, you can include that feature in your game. Luckily this sounds harder than it actually is.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: The Criteria used to judge your games is based on your last best 9.0 reviewed game. Innovate and improve TOO much and you will struggle to get good ratings with your future games. Where as if you improve yourself just a bit with each game, you can get back-to-back good reviews as your target score gradually climbs.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You
  • Fan Work: There is an in-game event where your lawyers say that a group of fans have produced a non-profit fan-game using assets from one of your older titles. You can either shut the fan game down or leave it alone. Can be seen as a Take That to companies who kill harmless fan games as leaving the fan game alone gives you more fans, who increase the sales of your games.
  • Game Mod: Version 1.4.5 onwards introduced the ability to mod the game (for adding new consoles and new genres among other things). However, the game still does not have Steam Workshop integration, and as such installing a mod can be a challenging task.
  • Guide Dang It: A common complaint as many of the calculations that determine your success or failure are done under the hood and hidden from the player, requireing a reference wiki if you want to fine-tune your play. That said, a guide is NOT required to make it through to the end using common-sense tactics and strategies.
    • The Steam release peeled back a large number of these requirements. Now, you have the ability to do a game report which, in addition to giving you research points, will also give you an idea of what works and what doesn't when it comes to the style of game you just created. So, for example, you can determine that Engine is extremely important for a Simulation game, or that Mature games sell well on PC. These hints are visible in subsequent games that you make, allowing you to tailor the development to a better game.
  • Indie Game: Greenheart Games is a small start-up comprised of only two brothers, so this definitely qualifies. You start out making games this way yourself in the early stages of the game.
  • Ironic Hell: See the second bullet Digital Piracy Is Evil above.
  • Isometric Projection
  • Just One More Turn: Can definitely have this effect. The game allows you to play beyond the 'end' (when your score is tallied), though no further story developments happen past that point.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The player character starts off with really good stats in speed, design, and tech. Your second-in-command (if you hire one) can grow into this, as your company matures.
  • Macrogame: Partial example. As you make games and develop game reports, you'll gather more information about how genres, audiences, platforms, and other factors interact—for example, you may learn that Sci-Fi/RPG is a good combination. This information will appear when you create further games, and in subsequent playthroughs (unless you choose the option to turn this off, so as not to have an unfair advantage). So you won't start off a new game with buckets of money, talent, or a shiny new office, but you can start with a load of valuable information about how to tailor your games that a "clean" new game wouldn't have.
  • Rated M for Money: Played with In-Universe. You can designate your games for young players, everyone or mature players. Making Mature games will give you a bonus to sales on some platforms, but a big penalty to sales on others. Invoked in that your very first mature game will get a little bonus hype simply because it is a mature game.
  • Recursive Reality: You get an achievement for making a game titled Game Dev Tycoon with a matching genre and subject, as well as another one for calling your company Greenheart Games.
  • Reviews Are The Gospel: invoked In-game example. Magazines review your games upon release, and can heavily sway its sales for better or worse. Once you've built up a large fanbase and have a strong production team, average scores don't hurt so much - but truly awful scores will always tank profits. However, when starting out, all your games will be considered mediocre, but that doesn't scare away gamers from your first attempt at a game.
  • Schmuck Bait: The TES (The Expy for the NES) comes out early in the game and grabs a superior market share, allowing the player to develop games for it. The bait part? Only Young-focused casual games do well on it, and it comes out before the player is able to research the abilities to make their games for young players and to make casual games.
    • The Nigerian Scam event qualifies as one as well.
    • Some of the publishing deals offered are this. The deal may call for a game that will not sell well on the platform, not go well with the target audience group, or overall a weird topic/genre combo that wouldn't fly, but people will fall for it because the required rating may appear low and/or the promised return in cash sounds good, and thus they lose cash when fined by the publisher because the game doesn't meet the required ratings for obvious reasons.
  • Sequelphobic: In-universe. No matter how upgraded and researched your hardware is, releasing a sequel to a low-rated game nets the sequel similar ratings (read: crap). Semi averted in that there's nothing stopping you from creating a new game (as opposed to using the Create Sequel option) and name it as a sequel.
  • Simulation Game: Of the business management variety.
  • Shout-Out: So, so many. But the standout example is this, made even better by how it is something he would actually say:
    Dave Johnson here, CEO of Departure Science. Some of our test subjects were recently exposed to some of your games and, surprisingly, they didn't go totally insane.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: In-game example. You may choose to name your games like this.
  • Take That: Several towards piracy, as mentioned above. Also, several are taken towards EA even outside of the April Fools' post; for instance, if you lose, you might be told that you were bought out by an EA Expy and have been going downhill ever since.
    • The 2014 April Fools joke is one huge Take That against Allegedly Free Games on the mobile platform.
    • Another possible company that can buy you out if you lose is a fictional counterpart of Zynga.
    • It's subtle, but the game seems to aim a few at Sony... sorry, Vony, as well- The blame for the split with Nintendo is laid at their feet, as is the blame for causing the death of the Dreamcast, much is made of the controversial launch of the PS3, and the announcement of the PSP is implied to be timed to try to sabotage the success of the Nintendo DS.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: Getting a string of hit games can leave the player with enough cash that bankruptcy is very unlikely. There are still things in the later game that can bankrupt a previously cash-rich player if they are careless, but a frugal player can keep their funds high.
  • Unwinnable by Design: For players using pirated copies. See Digital Piracy Is Evil above.
  • Video Game Genres: There is a large selection to choose from when deciding on what kind of game you want to make. You start out with only a handful, but quickly gain more as your research progresses. Some combinations will make critics hate your game, however.
  • Violation of Common Sense: There are a couple Topic/Genre combos that the game treats as 'Bad', Such as Time Travel + RPG, that otherwise have RL examples of why that combo would actually be good.
    • The game also has some outright bizarre combinations that it considers good, such as Prison + Adventure, Martial Arts + Casual and Music + Action. It's also worth noting that according the game, alternate history is a good topic for action games and rpgs but history is only good for simulation and strategy.
    • Porting a game from one console to another gets you bad ratings for being formulaic, despite RL examples like LucasArts doing so very successfully.note 
    • Releasing games of the same topic/genre combo back to back is considered bad (unless said topic happens to be popular at the time), never mind that some companies actually make a living churning out games of the same topic/genre continuously, and are actually successful at doing so. The game places enormous emphasis on innovation.
    • No matter how improved a sequel is, if the original game got terrible reviews, the next will be poorly reviewed, too. Unless you make a sequel In Name Only.
    • Thankfully, Green Heart games have managed to make much more sensible topic/genre combos through updates.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: It takes about an in-game decade before you are able to research the concept of sequels.


Game Dev StorySimulation GameGhost Master
Galactic CivilizationsSteamGarry's Mod

alternative title(s): Game Dev Tycoon
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