My Latest Addiction: ‘Game Dev Story’

Not since ‘Plants vs. Zombies’ have I been hooked on a videogame this badly. ‘Game Dev Story’ won me over and I just can’t stop.

When’s the last time you’ve been so stuck on a game that you just can’t bring yourself to stop playing? That’s happened to me several times for games like ‘Plants vs. Zombies’, ‘World of Warcraft’, ‘Daggerfall’, ‘Borderlands’, and of course ‘Tetris’.

These are games that make you say “Just one more turn” or “As soon as I level, I’ll stop.” You rarely do, of course. You want to keep going, to see what’s next, to complete just one more challenge or to make your character just a little bit better.

My current addiction is called ‘Game Dev Story’. This is the first time I’ve been hooked on a phone game, unless ‘Tetris’ counts. And here’s the kicker – it’s not even on my phone. As I type this, I have the game running next to me on my roommate’s Android phone, borrowed with the promise that I won’t answer any calls or texts.

Despite my innate desire to snoop, I wouldn’t even think about answering a call. That would take me out of the game.

‘Game Dev Story’ is a simulation game for Apple and Android phones that lets you run a game studio. You hire the staff, pick the console you’ll develop for, and choose the game genre and type. It’s just about what you’d expect from what amounts to being a work simulator.

Once you’ve created and dubugged your game, it gets reviewed by four members of the press that give it a rating between 1 and 10. After that your game ships out, sales come in and you’re off to develop your next game.

That’s a simplified version of the gameplay, but that’s the gist of it. As the owner, you also get to manage and level up your staff, use boosts to ensure a great game, and change jobs around so your employees can develop to the fullest. When you get really good, you can even create your own console.

Everything that happens in the game in terms of console releases echoes what happened in reality, but with a slight variation to avoid copyrights. Intendo releases the Super IES, while Saga unveils the Exodus to the world.

There are plenty of little gags like that, including the games of your competitors and the names of your employees. My current staff list includes the names Walt Sidney and Stephen Jobson, but I just fired Gilly Bates.

I currently have several Hall of Fame games with tremendous sales, but haven’t yet won a game of the year award, despite one Online Cowboy RPG named ‘CowboyCraft’ with a 38/40 from the critics. There’s some tough competition out there.

If you’ve got a passion for videogames and you don’t mind getting ridiculously hooked on one for your phone, you can pick up ‘Game Dev Story’ for $3.99 on iTunes or for the very weird price of $2.52 on the Android Market.


  1. I am sure it is a fun game… but there are so many free games that I have no desire to pay for one… send me his phone and ill test it out then I might get it! hahahahahahaha! 🙂

  2. It’s funny, I discovered this game last week and couldn’t put it down for several days. I haven’t played a game on my iPhone for such a length of time as I did this one. Usually I prefer shorter gameplay experiences on this platform.

    What about some of my favorite game titles that I cam up with were: “Make-Out Hero” (a dating sim), the wildly successful follow-up, “Make-Out Hero 2,” and who could forget “Dice of War,” a board game RPG….that didn’t do too well.

    As always, great work.

  3. Yeah, I bought this based on your post a couple of weeks ago. I was up to year 40 when I had to reset my phone and reload everything (that happened Monday). I am now up to year 9, and this time around, I know the tricks. I think half my staff now is hackers – before I had Dee Coder, Amy Less, Gilly Bates, and Lady Googoo, but Walt Sydney and his hacker friends have led me to fire all my staff. And it works SO much better that way, with a staff of hackers. My games are now hitting over 200 fun, over 150 creativity, and I just hit 170 graphics and sound for the first time. My games are now easily making $30-$40 million a game. I am scoring 10s, but not straight 10s, which baffles me. Don’t know how I haven’t won game of the year. I also have nto figured out how to do consoles.

    What annoys me is that there seems to be a place where training doesn’t do anything for your employees. Also, I hope they fix the math bug. So hard to know how much to set aside to pay my staff if the game says that you owe your staff 4 million and only 400,000 comes out, or something like that. I also don’t understand how I only have a thousand fans if I am selling 30 million copies of a game.

    • Woot! Just swept at the game awards, including the Game of the Year! My team are turning out games so fast (thanks to my four hackers on team) that I decided to start trying to develope at least one game for every console! I just created a hit for the Virtual Kid, and am producing a game for the GameBox now! Want to turn out at least one for the Uranus! Too bad I did not have the funds to develope for the NeonGeon before it went off the market, or the PlayGear or whatever its called, but its kind of nice that a single game sale can recoup my licensing and development costs now! And I am STILL leveling up my players! Just wonder what will happen when they are all maxed out!