Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
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Remember the first time you sat down with The Sims oh so long ago? Assuming you liked it, you probably sat in front of your computer for far longer than you ever meant to. Between having secret relationships with all of the neighbors to trying to advance in your career, there was just no way to call it quits.
Unfortunately, the same exact thing happened to me when I started playing Game Dev Story around 11 AM. I figured that I'd cozy up with the game and a cup of coffee and enjoy my morning. What a mistake that was.
Game Dev Story is a game that simulates running a game develpment house, from building the staff to producing the games. As the owner, it is up to you to make all the important decisions, but with none of the technical know how. You hire people, fire people, determine exactly what your workers should do, but never do you have to really do anything. There aren't any silly mini games or puzzles, Game Dev Story is just straight sim.
The thing that Game Dev Story does ever so well is that it gives you a ton of options throughout but it doesn't bog you down too much with micromanaging. Take making a game for instance. Instead of just brushing over details, it is up to you to pay for licensing fees of new systems (new systems come out every once in a while in the game, all with close to life names, such as the Playstatus and the Game Kid), determine genres and subgenres, make sure that the right employees are handling the right tasks (based on their skill ratings), pay for different ad schemes, attend trade shows, and of course make sure that your company has enough money to pay for all the employees. There are a ton of things to do, but like the Sims, there is no feeling that you are being rushed. Your employees all work on their own, you just have to make the big decisions.
While the game itself seems like some form of digital crack, the exterior finish isn't quite as spiffy. Instead of resembling a nice, Sims like game, the graphics (and especially the sound) look and feel more like they belong on a Super Nintendo -- or maybe even a Game Boy. What's worse, though, is that the game only takes up about 3/4 of the screen, giving you black bars on the top and the bottom. The playing area never feels cramped or difficult, but there has to be something that can be done with the wasted screen space.
At the end of the day though, even with the lack of killer graphics, I can safely say that I spent more time with Game Dev Story in one sitting than any other game I've played this year. I feel like garbage now knowing that I probably could've learned how to make an actual video game in the time that I spent playing Game Dev Story, but in the eyes of many, that's the pinnacle of gaming success. If you like time-draining sim games, I really don't think you can find a better option in the App Store.