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Have You Played… Software Inc?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

Game Dev Tycoon has given Nate happy memories of developing fictional games with perfectly plausible names (Wolf Strangler, Triumph of the Blood Lads). For me that joy was captured in Software Inc. In this tycoon game, you can spend a decade working on the most ambitious videogame ever conceived, only for it to become an astounding commercial failure.

It’s a familiar setup. You have to build an office, hire workers, and fiddle with menus and buttons to coerce your hunching employees into creating reasonably titled point ‘n’ clicks like “Tragic Bootcamp Adventure” or music games such as “Krumpstep Megastar”. I spent years producing a technical marvel called “Kimberly Funes Kills America”, a first-person shooter masterpiece and part of an established franchise. It sold two copies.

It’s a good thing your business is not limited to games, otherwise I would have been bankrupt after this disaster. No, Software Inc lets your programmer fingers penetrate all the business pies. You can start a hosting service, or make spreadsheet programs, or even have a go at making a new console. In business terms, I believe they call this diversificating your portfolio. I diversificated so darn much.

I made a digital games store called Gameswamp (a failure) and a console called the Hex Sphere (also a failure). Our fledgling Death Stopper OS did not manage to stop its own death. But if you puke enough money onto the soil of Silicon Valley, something will eventually grow. I shut down Gameswamp and used its massive server farm to host files for dodgy anti-virus companies. It made me rich. But the failure of Kimberly Funes is something will haunt me forever.

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