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Video Game / Space Trader Merchant Marine

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Space Trader: Merchant Marine is an 2008 indie game for PC, developed by Hermitworks Entertainment on Quake III: Arena engine. The story involves a trader starting with minimal funds to eventually become the best trader in the solar system, even as humanity's highest authority, The Ministry of Accounts, takes an increasingly dim view of their profiteering.

This game provides examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The robots of one processing plant malfunction and require a rescue mission to recover the hostages. There's also a general robot rebellion being planned.
  • An Economy Is You: You're the only person that is buying and selling. While there's a few other travelling traders, they're technically sources of income as far as you're concerned.
  • Being Good Sucks: In the challenge missions, you get a pitiful bounty for turning in those offering criminal missions.
  • Bounty Hunter: You can identify bounties at the bar and track them down, or get assigned one as part of the primary mission. Not many bounties can be used as a source of income - you mostly get them from trading.
  • Computer Voice: Given to robots. A variation is given to malfunctioning robots (or ones that deal with illicit goods)
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  • Corrupt Bureaucrat: Some members of the Ministry of Accounts try bleeding the economy dry.
  • Gold Fever: A random event where a sudden discovery of gold affects prices. In this case, it reduces the price of gold, but increases the cost of manufactured goods. It's not exclusive to gold; there are related shortages concerning other commodities.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: In the combat missions, you get three lives (respawning similar to classic deathmatch). Losing them returns you to the previous area, and you get to retry once you return to the planet.
  • Fantastic Drug: Bananas are combined with Cannabis, with the named drug being a Bananabis.
  • Fantasy Metals: The Iron Ore description describes it as an iron-subtype that's more flexible and stronger, known as Yuedium. This is then chained into a Pun.
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  • Future Food Is Artificial: Water is heavily taxed and expensive. To get around it, there's forms of water taste-alikes.
  • Lethally Stupid: As part of research to make water tasty, you need to find either silver or gems to mix it into the artificial water.
  • Loan Shark: The person loaning you the ship drastically increases the fee. In the third mission, you must take her out and find a different sponsor.
  • Money for Nothing: Each place has stuff laying around. You can pick the stuff up to get some money for an early start.
  • No Bulk Discounts: Prices remain fixed until you head to another location.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: You get inspected for smuggling. You can pay off the inspectors to make them leave; if you refuse and they manage to capture you, you don't lose any contraband, and are just billed for the inspection.
  • Simpleton Voice: The mechanic.
  • Shout-Out: Most blatant is to xkcd.
  • Timed Mission: You are only provided a limited number of minutes, hours or days depending on the mission. The clock isn't realtime and only advances when you travel.
  • Tin-Can Robot: The robot model is simple and resembles a humanoid.
  • Water Source Tampering: One side mission requires tampering with the treatment plant - the result is that purified water becomes more expensive and you can make a large profit on the result.
  • We Buy Anything: You can sell all your collected commodities to merchants. The catch is that they only buy based on whether or not the item is legal, and thus you need two merchants.
  • Work Off the Debt: The second mission has you collect $1.5 million to cover the cost of the ship. The third mission increases this debt to $20 million via Loan Shark tactics.


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