Being a journalist involves a lot of waiting around for people to get back to you and a lot of time spent at the computer, which is why when Rocks Off was whiling away the week waiting for our interview questions to be answered we got rather addicted to a game called Recordshop Tycoon over at Armor Games.
Most of us probably got hooked on Lemonade Inc. back in 2002. Well, Recordshop Tycoon is the latest in a long line of games from that same genre. Gifted with a little money, you start out in a poor part of town selling pop, urban, dance, classic and indie music to slowly build your popularity and improve first your store, then your location. For those of us who've spent hours admiring Quinn Bishop and his life running Cactus Music, it's a wonderful chance to spend a couple of hours indulging in entrepreneurial fantasy without that pesky risk of starving to death hanging over our heads.
The game is somewhat simple, being the first effort by designer Twan van de Waerdt. A musician himself since age six, van de Waerdt decided that owning a record store would be the perfect setting for his initial foray into tycoon-style gaming. In addition to more racks to hold your wares, you can pick up a nice stereo to calm customers in line, a neon sign to bring them in, and sponsor a festival to market yourself.
"There was a whole lot I wanted to include, but decided not to in the end," says van de Waerdt. "A whole lot! Like having more stores, more objects to buy, daily costs (like hiring costs and rental costs), personnel, random events to make things a little more interesting (like having your store robbed), the list goes on.
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"In the end, I had to cut down on a lot of stuff because it simply wasn't worth it anymore money-wise, and the entire project was already getting too big for me alone to handle," he adds.
One of the things Rocks Off would personally have liked to see was the option of booking bands for in-store performances, something that has done a great deal to make Cactus one of Houston's music centers. Unfortunately that wasn't in the cards, and players will have to make do with a DJ booth that does wonders for your customers' attitudes.
Van de Waerdt has no plans at this time for an update or a sequel, citing the exhaustive creation process, but in the meantime the game is a totally free and totally awesome waste of time.
Now if you'll excuse us, we're going to go back to pretending we're getting ready for Rex Manning Day at Empire Records. Open till midnight!