Last month, it seemed like most of my twitter feed (especially the game developers in it!) was playing Game Dev Story, so I decided to give it a try last week.

And it’s certainly addictive; I spent more time playing it than I’d like to admit, and while I was getting a little bored with the game towards the end of my first run, there were also some goals I hadn’t managed to accomplish, so I ended up launching into a second playthrough immediately. Having said that, I haven’t had any desire to touch the game after the second run, so its addictive qualities seem to be fairly short-lived.

Straightforward enough gameplay, though admittedly well-matched to the iPhone. To me, the most interesting thing about the game was the strategies that it encouraged: the path to success that I found was to find the best people possible to do whatever work needed to be done, and not to worry about how much it cost as long as I could afford them at all. Hear that, game companies: find good people, and pay them lots of money! (Alas, in the real world developers don’t come with stats meters to let you figure out which ones are five or ten times more productive than others…)

Actually, the game seemed to reward spending money in general: if I could afford it, I threw double resources at games when developing them and never regretted it, and spending money on advertising seems to have paid off, too. Once you do that, you’ll have a well-oiled machine where it’s impossible to develop a game that doesn’t do fantastically well, and where you’ll be able to make sequel after sequel for games with no loss in quality. So: not so realistic, and a bit boring. But there were some nail-biting moments in my first playthrough, when I was trying to save up money for a new console license while manufacturers kept on releasing more and more expensive consoles.

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