Perfect Waste of Time: Game Dev Story

Game Dev Story is not a new game. However, it is one that I find myself continually coming back to. It’s the one game I download first whenever I get a new Android or iOS device (since I own it on both). The reason being is because it is so easy to start up, do something, and close the screen when something comes up. Yet, this simple looking game is hiding a complex management system that can turn a casual player into an addicted power user easily.

Kairosoft has made quite a name for themselves in the mobile scene. You never really hear anything about them or their games. You can just see that their apps are downloaded a ton of times, always receive amazing reviews, and are normally found somewhere in the Top Paid lists.

I remember when Game Dev Story had been out for a while and the new Kairosoft game, Hot Springs Story, had released. No matter what your opinion on Hot Springs were, you were flocking towards the download button just because you wanted more Kairosoft gameplay. They don’t do out of their way to make ridiculous games, either. They build upon what they have done in the past in a moderate way and it just works. They’ll tweak and add a few things but you’ll never play one Kairosoft game and then play another thinking it’s a drastic difference. That’s a good thing.

The thing about Game Dev Story, however, is that it is the easiest to play, get into, and find yourself sucked into quickly. It’s the subtle ways that this game slowly gets you doing more and more until you finally realize that the beginning of the game is nothing like post-ending. Whereas you start with small, tiny budgeted games with a limited selection of genres and subjects, you eventually find yourself looking for power combos for better results, building consoles, worrying about job changes, and whether or not that one dev that has stuck with you since the beginning can cut it out anymore with the level 5 Hacker sitting right next to him. Sorry Newb Ownerton, you’re fired. Stephen Jobson is just too good. Is that a grizzly bear who wants to develop games? Oh hey look, a Middle Eastern leader has defected to join my game company. Sweet!

See how crazy that got? And yet when all those events pop up, you find yourself making decisions quicker and more efficient because you subtly learn what the game wants you to do. Kairosoft’s silent tutorials are barely noticable. It could be just one word at the bottom of the pop-up screen that gives you the answer to a combo or the research screen giving you a hint at what you’re best at. Perhaps it could be the calender in which you finally start remembering to time your releases just after GameDex (the game’s version of E3) so you can attract more buyers.

My most recent stint with Game Dev Story is still going on right now. A co-worker of mine saw me playing Game Dev Tycoon on my Microsoft Surface and when we found out that the “Lite” version only took us so far before stopping, we had to hunt down an alternative just to scratch the itch. I come in the next day and there he is playing Game Dev Story. I quickly reinstalled it. Luckily, I’m reviewing the Galaxy Note II right now for Samsung and playing anything on this monster (yet, beautifully refined) screen is nothing short of amazing.

Right now I’m approaching Year 40 with over 450 million in the bank, my second console out on the market, and my most recent release snagging over 30 million units sold. I’ve heard of way better numbers from others but for me, I just love watching the milestones fly by and 30 million units for one game release was pretty sweet. Still, the Grand Prize at the Global Game Awards alludes me. Soon…

If you haven’t played Kairosoft’s classic and you own any Android or iOS device, get on your respective app stores or markets and download this game right now. I am sorry for the waste of time you’ll be having. At least fun, satisfaction, and glory will all be had.

Since Game Dev Story and Hot Springs, Kairosoft has released a ton of games in this fashion. If Game Dev or Hot Springs don’t interest you, surely one of the follow will tickle your fancy. Demos are available for every game.

  • “Apparel Clothing Store” – clothing store sim
  • Cafeteria Nipponica – cafe sim
  • Dungeon Village – dungeon sim
  • Epic Astro Story – space colony sim
  • Game Dev Story – game development sim
  • Grand Prix Story – racing sim
  • Hot Springs Story – spring/sauna sim
  • Kairobotica – robot colony sim
  • Mega Mall Story – mall sim
  • Oh! Edo Towns – ancient town sim
  • Pocket Academy – school sim
  • Pocket League Story – soccer sim
  • Pocket Clothier – clothing sim
  • The Sushi Spinnery – sushi store sim
  • Venture Towns – city building sim
  • World Cruise Story – cruise sim
  • Beastie Bay – free, monster island sim

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