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An Entrepreneur Is You

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Which car is the best business expense?

"Capitalism, ho!"
Recette Lemongrass, Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale

What's more fun than business? Spreadsheets, paperwork, receipts- what else would you do in your spare time? Still, money is fun, and any way of at least virtually getting it can be fun by extension. Which is why some video games revolve around, or have segments of, running your own business. This could be a buy/sell table, price setting, or picking items to put up for sale. It just can't only exist in Cut Scenes or Back Story.

Makes you feel like you're doing something useful, right?

This can also apply to board games.

Defiances of this trope are represented by Karl Marx Hates Your Guts and Adam Smith Hates Your Guts.

A Sister Trope to An Economy Is You, Player-Generated Economy (the metagame version of the trope).

Compare An Interior Designer Is You.


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    Action Adventure 
  • The 1993 computer game by Interplay, Rags to Riches - The Financial Market Simulation, is a first-person adventure game that simulates making a fortune on the stock market with very little capital.
  • In the freeware game The Wager, the goal is to make money by exploring uncharted islands and selling them to prospective colonists.

    Action Game 
  • The Multi-Platform Video Game Ghostbusters (1984) involved elements of this. It's actually considered a pioneer of this form of gameplay (even if the rest of the game was found lacking).
    • The page picture is from it. Even when you've got the money, don't buy the sports car unless you can also afford the portable containment system (which is as expensive as the car itself), as it's too small for a comfortable trap supply.
    • The hearse (the car used in the movie) has enough item space for a reasonable amount of traps and other equipment, and will see you through the game the first time. This was almost certainly intentional. It takes repeated playthroughs to earn enough capital to effectively use the more expensive options and still make back what you spent.

    Edutainment Game 
  • Go Venture Entrepeneur. You have to start a business as a restaurant, clothing store, or sporting goods store and keep it running.


  • In Dealt in Lead players can run saloons. Eventually banks, general stores, drugstores, etc, will be added.
  • In eRepublik there is usually a minister/secretary of finance for each country who's job it is to deal with inflation, taxes, economic stimulus, etc. So in many ways A Central Banker Is You too.
  • Europe 1400 has you establishing a mercantile dynasty in 15th century Europe, there's also a bit of medieval politics involved.
  • In EVE Online the player is a ridiculously wealthy immortal starship pilot who can do anything from trade to manufacturing to piracy. Practically the entire economy is player-run.
  • Swords and Potions on Kongregate is all about owning your own shop in a fantasy universe.

    Puzzle Game 
  • In some of the Diner Dash games, Flo owns the diner.

    Real Time Strategy 

    Role Playing Game 
  • Certain games in the Atelier Series make you the owner of your shop of wonders. In Atelier Violet: The Alchemist of Gramnad 2, alchemy is the means of revitalizing the economy of your backwater village.
  • The Breath of Fire games starting with the second one allowed you to build and manage a full Town. In II, you can bring NPCs to populate the place. There are some very specific characters that will help your party in various ways, two of which will turn the town into a Township, which in turn is essential for the Golden Ending. In the next games, Breath of Fire III, IV and Dragon Quarter, it's a fairy village. You now assign fairies (or worker ants in the last one) specific jobs from landscaping (at least until the whole village is clear), architecturenote  (until all buildings are done), and hunting (for food stocks which would increase the village's population and maintain their numbers, III and IV only), before giving them jobs that would again help the party in various ways.
  • Caravaneer, despite being an Flash game, simulates an entire economy, with working supply and demand. Towns can go bankrupt from you selling too much goods to them.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind:
    • Beyond the standard treasure hunting business of a freelance adventurer, you can put your item crafting skills into great use by making items to sell. Potions and enchantments are two highly profitable ventures. Additionally, many merchants sell damaged weapons and pieces of armor for for less than the items are worth in pristine condition. Buying them, fixing them up via the Armorer skill, and re-selling them can be very profitable.
    • The Bloodmoon expansion brings the East Empire Company questline of building up the ebony mining colony of Raven Rock. You get to choose the types of services available and get to pick where to build your own "Factor's Estate" mansion.
    • Also from Bloodmoon, after completing a few side quests, you get the opportunity to run the Thirsk mead hall. You can return every few days to collect your share of the profits.
  • Elona allows you to run a shop, a farm, a museum, and a ranch, and also lets you trade goods across towns.
  • In Fable III despite being the monarch you can directly own property and can make money by renting it out to the populace. You can use trophies from your adventures and buy furniture to make the property more desirable. You also decide how much rent is charged, though it's advisable to charge something as you will need money to get a decent ending to the game.
  • A Geek's Guide: DeathWorld Earth has an optional stock market and business management system.
  • Lemuore no Renkinjutsushi focuses on an alchemist running a shop to pay off her own debts. She too gets heroes to go through dungeons to find loot to sell.
  • In Moonlighter the player must manage the shelved stock, set prices and gauge customer reactions. A fair amount of work can be put in to make your shop successful.
  • Mount & Blade, much like a space sim, allows you to trade goods between cities. This is one of the most efficient ways of making money, and often necessary considering how much money a well-trained army costs.
    • Then there is the new industry system which can have you invest in personal enterprises. Some financial knowledge required
  • The latter half of Neverwinter Nights 2 follows this trope in spirit. Rather than a business, you must oversee the economic and military planning of one of Neverwinter's subject territories.
    • The expansion pack Storm of Zehir is even more faithful to this trope, featuring a caravan system, income, expenses, balance sheet, etc.
  • Pokémon
    • Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 have Join Avenue, which the player is assigned to manage since the owner is busy. As manager, the player can invite NPCs or acquaintances from Wi-Fi to open shops there, and recommend shops for visitors to improve business, as well as shop there themselves. The better a store's popularity, the better its stock.
    • The Festival Plaza in Pokémon Sun and Moon and Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon is customizable in what type of facilities you can hold there, and after certain points in the game you can even redesign the entire look.
  • Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale focuses on the main character being forced to run an RPG Item shop to pay off her father's debts while getting heroes to go through dungeons to find loot to sell.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time has inventing, which allows you to patent the items you create and sell them in shops. While it's technically the Craftsman's Guild that's responsible for mass-producing and selling these items, you still receive all the revenues from them on a real-time salary basis, and can even hire other inventors to make more items for you in exchange for a nominal fee.
  • In Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Ichiban becomes the president of a failing confectionery store and is tasked with making it the number one business of Ijincho. In practice, he essentially engages in venture capitalism since this involves buying and selling other businesses, hiring employees to properly manage them and dealing with shareholders in order to climb the share rankings.

    Simulation Game 
  • American Truck Simulator and Euro Truck Simulator: You start out with just a rusty old garage and no truck, and you must work as a driver for hire while you gather enough money to buy your own truck. Then you need to gather a couple hundred thousand dollars/euros to expand your garage to accommodate three more trucks, buy another truck and hire a driver. Rinse and repeat until you have hundreds of drivers and one garage on each city.
  • In APICO, one of your main goals as a beekeeper is to gather and sell the honey made by the bees.
  • Capitalism II, where you're the CEO of a corporation, literally is this trope. Wikipedia claims Capitalism II is so realistic that business schools use it for their lessons.
  • Cart Life has you attempting to start and maintain a retail cart in the city. The game is notable for including a lot more plot and character development than is typical for the genre.
  • East India Company, where you get to build up the titular MegaCorp from the ground up.
  • In the Forza series, you can earn plenty of credits solely by selling liveries (Motorsport 2 onwards) and car setups (Motorsport 3/Motorsport 4) you have created. There's also the Auction House.
  • Harvest Moon, since the Player Character owns the farm in most games. Money is made by selling crops and animal products, with the profits intended to buy more farm equipement, extra seeds and extra animals.
  • The primary focus of House Flipper is on buying properties, fixing them up, and reselling them on auction for a profit. You can also haggle for a better price.
  • Idol Manager: The talent agency's rent and its personnel's salaries must be paid for with money from performances, singles, in-house shows and side-gigs such as photoshoots, advertizements, roles in tv series or talk-show appearances.
  • Career Mode in Kerbal Space Program has you managing a privately-operated space program that relies on accomplishing milestones and completing contracts to get funds you can reinvest into your rockets at the start.
  • Franchise mode in Madden NFL tasks you with running the business end of the team in between games.
  • No Umbrellas Allowed has you running Darcy's secondhand store by haggling with customers to buy items and then reselling them at a high price.
  • In the browser-based nation sim Politics And War players can produce and trade resources to other players.
  • Ports Of Call, in which you are a shipowner. Ironically, the most money isn't made by sending goods from port to port, but by brokering ships. Go figure.
  • Potionomics has the player run a fantasy potion shop where they must craft and sell various potions as well as haggling with customers in order to get the best price from them. In-between running the shop the protagonist must also find new ingredients through shopping and financing adventurers while also cultivating relationships to unlock further bonuses. The primary goal however is to develop her alchemy skills to be capable of winning a potion-brewing competition and using the prize money to pay off her debt.
  • In Shop Heroes, the object of the game is to run a shop catering to Dungeon Crawling heroes.
  • Sticky Business has you running your own online sticker shop, where you design stickers by assembling components, and then sell them by printing, packing, and shipping them.
  • The X-Universe series allows the player to build up massive trading empires, with dozens of trading vessels and hundreds of orbital factories.

    Stealth Based Game 
  • Assassin's Creed generally has this as a source of income through building/renovating businesses and will eventually break the economy in half.
    • Assassin's Creed II has this with the management of Monteriggioni; it's completely optional, but since it returns your investment several times over there's no good reason not to do it. Restoring the town also has the nice effect of the turning the local weather from dark and dreary overcast to bright and hopeful sunshine.
    • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood expands this to a city-wide scale, allowing you buy boarded-up storefronts in Rome and putting them back into business, as well as landmarks. You can also reopen stables that will always have horses available for use, but since you can whistle for a horse at any time, there's not much point. Money's still useless for the same reasons above, though reopening the tunnel network is the best fast-travel system in the game.
      • It's back again in Assassin's Creed: Revelations in Constantinople, and this time there's even less of an excuse to have it around than in Brotherhood since the fast travel tunnels are already available from the start.
      • At least it makes sense that a banker's son would be inclined to attempt economic warfare against the Templars; even if it has no in-game effects, the idea's a sound one and it can feel satisfying.
      • And it's back yet again in Assassin's Creed III, with your own village and crafting system, which lacks a tutorial and is hard to figure out by yourself. You can also send caravans of goods you crafted/hunted/found to shops, earning money.
    • Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag has you run your own pirate armada that you can send on trade routes or to sack enemy ships.
    • 'Assassin's Creed Rogue uses the Renovation system of the Ezio games, with the gist being that you're fixing up a war-torn New York City and some outposts along the North Atlantic coasts.
    • Assassin's Creed: Unity has you run an Assassin-operated Café that you upgrade through a mix of renovations, sidequests and unlocking Social Clubs throughout the city.
    • Assassin's Creed Syndicate has you taking over turf for your gang by completing missions that deal with the rivaling Blighters gang.

    Time Management 
  • PlateUp!: The player(s) "own" the restaurant and have to take care of all aspects of its operation, such as adding and upgrading equipment, incorporating new dishes, taking orders and serving food, and cleaning up dirty dishes and offal from meal prep.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • Gangsters. Legal and illegal. Illegal earn more, but you have to launder the money.
  • Monster Breeder has the player running a business which combines famous monsters and sells the hybrid off-spring to costumers.
  • Taipan!: One of the earliest. The player is a "Taipan" (merchant prince) in the Far East in the nineteenth century. Inspired loosely by the novel of that name.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Downplayed in Dragon Quest Builders 2. You can build an item shop, but there's no currency in the game so anything you sell is converted to Gratitude Points.
  • Endless Sky: There are various ways to make money with your new spaceship, from asteroid mining to hunting bounties on pirates, but the most basic (yet reliable and scalable) is to buy cargo where it's cheap and haul it to planets where it's worth more.
  • A staple of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, with almost every mainline entry since Grand Theft Auto: Vice City featuring a property management minigame.
  • The Godfather has the player expand the Corleone family's protection rackets around New York, contributing to an automatic weekly paycheck.
  • Minecraft has elements of this with villages. You can expand villages by building more beds and breeding more villagers. You can trade with villagers, and doing enough trading will level up villagers, unlocking access to more advanced trades.
  • SunDog: Frozen Legacy: The player starts with a battered ship (the titular SunDog), a small amount of money, and a contract requiring them to provide a colony with goods costing far more than the player's available cash. So you get to make your fortune by shipping cargo and/or other items between planets.
  • In the X-Universe series, the player starts out with nothing more than a puny scout ship or freighter and a handful of credits, and expands their possessions through combat, production through factories, and trading. All tasks can be done either personally or via automated ships. The expansion goes on forever; after a hundred hours, the player may own fleets of Space Truckers and Mile Long Ships, allowing them to directly counter the government entities.
  • In the Saints Row series, the more territory the player controls, the more cash they get in their "stash" back at their crib. Originally, this was only done when completing missions and activities, but in the third game, the player does this largely by purchasing property, which increases the amount of cash they get per in-game hour. Purchasing stores also gives the player a significant discount in said stores.
  • Yakuza 0 has business ventures that allow the player to accrue money quickly: Kiryu leads a real estate office, buying up and maintaining property while jockeying with other real estate agencies; while Majima manages a hostess club, training his female workers and tending to customers. The hostess club side quest returns in the remake of Yakuza 2, only this time Kiryu's running the club (the exact same one from 0 to be exact).

    Non-Video Game Examples 
  • Monopoly with the players as landlords acquiring properties in an effort to bankrupt each other.
  • Rogue Traders in the Warhammer 40K universe are Merchant Princes who ply the spacelanes without more regular trade routes, re-establish contact with Lost Colonies, and overall command the GDP of small planets.
  • In Traveller most player characters have a small cargo ship with a mortgage to pay off, resulting in a common criticism that it's an accounting simulator more than a Space Opera RPG.