Publisher: Greenheart Games
Year Made: 2012
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Price: $9.99 (there is also a free demo)
Content Areas: Math, Technology, Job Skills
Suggested Age Level: Middle School, High School
Play Length: 7 hours
Number of Players: Single Player
Difficulty Rating: Easy
At the start of the year, I asked my students what their goals were and what they wanted to do after high school. The most popular industry choice involved video games. Students wanted to design video games, review video games, play video games, and write video games. In Greenheart Games’ Game Dev Tycoon, players get their wish as they build their own company and lead it through the evolution of video games and growth of the industry. Players create games, research technology, and manage their company as it grows into a multimillion and even billion dollar company over the course of 35 years of gaming history.
Time can be a challenge for using Game Dev Tycoon in a classroom. To complete the entire game takes roughly seven hours, which not every class has the time for. However, if you only want to play through a portion of the game for a shorter lesson, students can play through the stage where their company is in the garage in a little under two hours. The game is best played over the course of several days or letting students play at home if possible.
Game Dev Tycoon requires players to run a successful business, which means evaluating risk, constantly performing cost vs. benefit analysis, ensuring they make more than they spend, and investing in new systems and technologies at just the right time to make the most profit. All of these tasks require an analytic mind and skills that are best covered in a math class. Math teachers could use Game Dev Tycoon as a project or assessment of students’ skills or they could have students keep records of their expenses and income and report to the class on their ultimate success or failure as a business. Players also follow the progression of the gaming industry and have the opportunity to learn the design differences in various genres and see how vastly different the industry is in just 35 years. For a technology class, it is not only a fun dip into an industry that students love, but one whose job market and impact increases every year. Finally, in managing employees, deciding on the best direction for their company, and even facing ethical dilemmas, Game Dev Tycoon can teach students job skills and honest business practices as they run their game company.
With so many students excited about the future of gaming and dreaming of careers as designers or writers or reviewers, Game Dev Tycoon is an excellent game for giving them insight into the industry and its history while proving that running a business really can be all fun and games.
Educational Rating: 6/8
(Classroom Tech Friendly, Motivation, Concrete Learning, Additional Skills, Feedback, Difficulty, Accessibility, Extension)
Overall Rating: 5/8
(Immersion, Environment, Storyline, Replayability, Entertainment, Gameplay, Originality, User Control)