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Patrick Curry’s Thoughts on Game Design-- It’s All Business

Game Idea #2: It’s All Business

Welcome to the second game idea of the year! Picking ideas that adhere to the rules is proving to be quite the challenge.

High Concept:

It’s All Business is a business simulation you can carry in your pocket. You play as a manager in an extremely large corporation, and your goal is to increase productivity while keeping costs low. Sounds simple, right?

Platform:

Mobile Phone

Why it needs to be made:

Ever since I moved to Chicago I’ve wanted to create a game that I could play at the city’s many bus stops and el-train stations. The ideal “train game” would be something I could play for five minutes a couple times a day, but play it every day with some level of persistence. It’s All Business was conceived to be that game, fun for me and everyone else who commutes to work and has some time to kill.

Description:

It’s all Business is a turn-based, text-based multiplayer game for cell phones designed to be played via WAP, SMS or simple HTML. The player assumes the role of an up-and-coming business person fresh out of school and starting a new job. The player is assigned a small staff and has to start work right away. Each day the player is allotted so many “turns” (think classic BBS door games) in which he can hire and fire staffers, suck up to his boss, mingle at the water-cooled, or actually “do some work.” Each action has an affect on the staff’s overall productivity and costs.

The more work the player’s staff does the sooner he’ll get a promotion, get a budget increase, and be able to hire more staff. At the end of each month the Employees of the Month are announced, highlighting the players with the highest scores. While it’s a multiplayer game, the players never interact directly in gameplay… they only compete against each other for promotions and total profitability.

Why it will be fun:

Playing as “the boss” is something that not everyone gets to (or has to) experience, and the rewarding parts can be focused-on in the game, while the gut-wrenching parts can be left out. This isn’t supposed to be a training game in any way shape or form. Instead it will combine the emotional rewards of being in a position of power with some dry humor about the corporate world.

Final thoughts:

There has been a rash of popular business-focused movies and TV shows lately (The OfficeThe ApprenticeOffice Space, etc), so I know people are ready to laugh at the absurdities of corporate culture. And a simple phone-based game without a ton of representational graphics will let the player superimpose his own job and work place onto his play experience.



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