Where are the business games?

Entrepreneur image
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Back in the 8-bit days there used to be a few business simulation type games about. These were mostly text games; I remember one was a multiplayer game about making and selling televisions; you had to make decisions about how many lines to run in your Factory, how much to spend on marketing, R & D etc. and then each turn the program would determine how many TVs you had sold and whether you made a profit or loss.

The only modern equivalents seems to be games like “Pizza Tycoon” and of course the web/mobile game FarmVille (which has just shut down!) . There are others e.g. Airport Tycoon etc. But the simpler games don’t seem to exist any more.

The type of game I was thinking about were more like business simulations. Back before home computers were popular in the late 1970s, I worked one summer on a farm owned by a bloke who created business games for companies for use as training aids.

One such game I played ran in a games ‘Zine back in the late 70s. The person running the game must have had a computer because each turn I’d receive a complicated printout with all sorts of accounting information on it. Things like Cost of Sales, depreciation of value of stock, cost of storing stock and so on as well as P & L and Balance Sheet. It had to have been written by an accountant!

At the very simplest there are games like Hammurabi where you have to survive multiple years by selling land, planting and harvesting wheat to feed your population. This page on Wikipedia lists nearly 200 commercial and web games. It doesn’t however mention the likes of Dope Wars or even torn.com. Possibly those are perceived more like rpg/mmorpg rather than say pure business simulations.

For the simpler type of games like the ones I was describing, C is not a bad language to implement them in.