Have you ever wondered what it would be like to create and run your own business? Big Biz Tycoon tries to answer that question. Developed by Activision, the game took a bold new approach to management strategy gaming by mixing in features that would later become famous through the release of The Sims by Electronic Arts.
When you first start out as a fresh entrepreneur, you’re given a set of different scenarios to work with, or you can customize your own. Most involve making money, like raising your company’s market stocks, reach a desired annual revenue, or earn enough income to offset loan interests. Your mission is to become a financial success through market investments, company development and product distribution. Operating out of your office, you’ll have to oversee production and shipments while always keeping up with market demands. Being in charge of your own business also means you have to deal with brand marketing through shrewd advertising, a task that will quickly prove to be overwhelming unless you hire a qualified staff. Having an ambitious staff of employees will free you from the general day-to-day tasks, but requires you to pay out salaries and Christmas bonuses. You’ll need to keep an eye on productivity levels and the wellness of your workforce as well if you wish to make it in the harsh world of self-employment.
Each of your staff members comes with their own abilities that will directly determine the outcome of your business projects. For example, giving the task of developing a new product that requires higher learning to your less than mentally gifted employees is likely to end up a financial disaster. The business ventures in Big Biz Tycoon all come with some minimum standards that are directly linked to your staff’s ability to handle said task. Investing in the stock market has to be done by employees that are qualified and certified, or you won’t be able to invest one penny. As long as the standards are met, you are free to assign any kind of number of staff to each financial project, but as your chances for success increases with each specialist added, so does your overall project expenses.
If you by some series of unfortunate events end up with a bunch of nitwits, there’s still a chance to turn things around, as each employee gradually improves in skill while being assigned to a venture. Keeping your staff happy and healthy is another way of improving company morale and performance. This can be done by handing out free accessories, including everything from expensive electronic devices to high purity gold bars. As the boss, it’s important that your workers are fit and up on par. They may be able to close down the latest real estate stock for massive profits, but they seem incapable of taking care of themselves in an everyday sense. As a result, you’ll soon find yourself scurrying off to the supermarket to bring them healthy vegetables, taking them out to a fancy restaurant, just to make sure they’re eating at all, and sponsor their gym membership. You can also put together company outings, taking your entire staff or individual members out for picknicks and a leisurely game of golf.
When it comes to your base of operations, you’re free to pimp it out as you prefer. As we all know, every successful CEO must have an outrageous office filled with shark tanks and Formula-1 chairs, or they’re not worthy of the name. The possibilities are virtually endless when decorating your financial tree house. You can either go classic Donald Trump and hang stuffed eagles and flags made out of gold on your wall, or you can just go all-out berserk and make your office look like something out of a Jetsons episode.
So, how good a game is Big Biz Tycoon, really? Unfortunately, the choice of combining financial investments with social interactions à la The Sims isn’t as good as one would expect. Keeping track of your employees becomes repetitive and mundane after a while, and the list of available activities wears thin real fast. How many times can you sneak off for an afternoon at the course in a week? If it were up to Big Biz Tycoon, the answer would be all day, every day, it seems. The fact that the game was hastily ported from its Korean original, Venture Tycoon, is glaringly obvious. Unintentionally hilarious dialogue is a frequent theme running through the gameplay. It’s not quite as bad as, “All your base are belong to us!”, but sometimes it comes pretty damn close. Activision would probably have done a better job, had they eliminated the virtual life part of the game altogether, because the business management side is actually pretty fun.
In the end, Big Biz Tycoon is another example of a well-intentioned product that is less than the sum of its parts. It can be worth a couple of hours of your time, but only because it’s kind of cool to play a financial mogul. The attempt to incorporate character development falls flat on its face and will ultimately create a sense of distaste towards your virtual employees. We often found ourselves cursing our needy staff, wishing that there was some option to dispose of them in various imaginative ways.
That’s NOT how you run a successful business, Activision!
In the early 90’s, there was one game that dominated all the arcades: Street Fighter II. Gamers spent millions upon millions of quarters trying to beat the world’s eight top fighters in their quest to reach the finals where they would go head to head against a clawed Spaniard, a towering Muay Thai fighter with legs longer than you, and a military dictator with a disrespect for both gravity and fair play. Capcom’s ass-kicking flagship, also released on home consoles, became the landmark in the fighting genre, and the game for competing developers to beat. Many tried, and there were plenty of less successful attempts – some so similar that they ended up in court for ripping off the original concept. None came even close. That is, until Midway Games hired game designers Ed Boon and John Tobias to develop a game that would finally knock Street Fighter off its throne.
Their idea was as simple as it was brilliant: take the common theme and flip it on its head. A photo-realistic fighting game with the most absurd, cartoonish violence that had ever been witnessed. The result was Mortal Kombat, released in 1992. The foundation was nothing new; an evil sorcerer named Shang Tsung has organized a tournament to which only the greatest fighters in the world have been invited. So far, it followed the same old standards that had been applied hundreds of times before. But by using digitally rendered models of live actors for their characters, combined with a gruesome arsenal of blood-letting combos, Mortal Kombat managed an unprecedented feat amongst 1v1 fighting games. Blood and gore were spraying across the arena with every kick or punch thrown, and with the introduction of fatality moves – getting your opponents life meter down to zero and performing some of the most disgustingly creative death blows in the history of gaming – the bar had been raised through the roof.
Some memorable “finish him!” moments included one-eyed thug and mercenary Kano punching through his defeated opponent’s chest, ripping the heart out and then proudly display his still beating trophy with the fresh blood running through his fingers. Or how about foxy U.S. Army officer Sonya Blade burning her foe down to the bones with a fiery kiss? Our personal favourite has to be icy ninja Sub-Zero grabbing his victim by the hair and with one clean swipe ripping the head clean, with the spine still attached to it. To add insult to injury, if you were able to defeat your opponent without losing a single drop of your own bodily fluids, you’d also get the “flawless victory” award, i.e. “total humiliation”.
The R-rated gore factor caused much controversy with outraged parents and was probably why Mortal Kombat became such a huge success in the first place. Kids simply couldn’t wait to sneak off for some digitized murder and mayhem, and the great number of sales sparked a series of sequels that are still in full effect.
While we generally consider Street Fighter II to be the superior game, when it comes to bloody satisfaction and sadism amongst friends, you still can’t go wrong with a few rounds of Mortal Kombat.
Are you one of those people who happen to be sitting on a big heap of old video game cartridges that you’ve been collecting over the years for, well, just the fun of it?
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself sitting on a financial fortune of virtual pleasure.
We’ve already written an article about how survival gamers have begun investing in gold bars for sale as a means to prep themselves for the imminent ending of the world, but there’s plenty of money to be made within the gaming niche even if you don’t adhere to the dystopian-inclined persuasion.
With the gaming industry booming over the last decade, and with loads of gamers discovering the joys of retro games and systems, the price of old games being sold online has risen to values comparable to the most coveted antiques and objets d’art. An original cartridge in mint condition could easily fetch you between 15-20,000 dollars on open auction. If the game only had a limited release run, the price will soar even higher.
What determines the value of a retro cartridge for other collectors and game enthusiasts is primarily the condition – not just of the game itself, but also its package. There are a number of factors to consider when setting the right price:
Does the game come in its original box or casing? Does it still have the original instruction manual? Are all the different pieces in good condition, and if so, in what type of container have they been stored? A game that’s never been played, and one that also comes sealed in its original plastic wrap, is the market equivalent of pure gold for video game collectors and is likely to bring in some serious moolah when put up for sale. Cartridges from different regions also differentiate in price. For example, a limited edition from Japan might not be worth as much as the same edition released in North America.
Should you decide to put up your own collection for sale, it’s important to have a general idea of what’s considered to be a “fair price”. A lot of collectors mistakenly tag their cartridges based on their personal affection value. Remember, just because a certain game holds years of fond memories in your mind, doesn’t guarantee the next collector will feel the same way. While many games do sell for thousands of dollars, there are also plenty of examples where items been left on the table with no one bidding, simply because the owner was asking way too much.
A good way to find out a general price range for specific games is to go online. You can check out the current biddings on eBay or any other auction site, just to get a feel of what people are willing to shell out for various games on different systems and consoles. Another option is to visit one of the many retro gaming sites where self-proclaimed experts are helping each other out by putting a proper price tag on cartridge collections. RacketBoy is such a site. Here, you’ll find the most highly valued games on a number of different platforms. If your game isn’t amongst their listings, chances are you won’t get very much for it.
While it may be tempting to make a great deal of money from your old video games, you should also be aware of the ever-climbing vintage value. After all, if a cartridge is worth 20,000 today, just imagine how much it could be worth in another ten, or even twenty years. Collecting retro cartridges has evolved from a hobby to a full-on business model of investment opportunity.
Just something to think about, the next time you pull out your old copy of Stadium Events.
The year was 1986 and gamers were about to enter a whole new realm in the history of home gaming entertainment. A golden (yes, you read it right) cartridge was about to blow everybody’s mind right out the window.
The Legend of Zelda was something we haven’t seen before on the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was one of the first real attempts at serious world-building. Most adventure games would throw together a shoddy background story à la, “You are Gentrius, legendary bounty hunter. Defeat the hordes of intergalactic warlord Fooliznez and become the saviour of the universe…”, and that would be it – off you go, slaying pixelated minions of 3 to 5 different kinds.
The Legend of Zelda, on the other hand, came with a rich lore and a whole history attached to its gameplay. The setting is Hyrule, a land of lush forests, desolate mountains, far-stretching oceans, ancient ruins and palaces, sinister grottos and vast deserts. Inhabited by a race of elvish-looking people, an incredible amount of fantasy creatures and magical advisaries, Hyrule was bigger, richer and more challenging than any world we’d previously encountered. As the young protagonist Link, your mission is to rescue the fair princess Zelda from the clutches of the evil wizard Ganon.
More unsavory than spam and Egg McMuffin combined, Ganon has not only kidnapped the heir to the throne, but also stolen the Triforce of Power, one of the three mystical artifacts that are said to keep the elements of the world in balance. While in possession of the Power Triforce, Ganon is more or less invincible. The only thing that could even hope to vanquish him is the Triforce of Wisdom, which supposedly would grant its bearer the knowledge required to defeat the evil wizard. Link sets out to find the Wisdom Triforce in order to rescue sweet Zelda.
But it won’t be easy, since Ganon (hardcore villain to the bone) has used his newly gained power to shatter the Triforce of Wisdom into eight pieces, and hidden them in eight different subterranean mazes. Guarding the pieces are his most feared and vicious servants. On top of that, Ganon has also occupied the land of Hyrule with his forces of despiccable monsters. Link most find all the broken pieces and defeat their guardians if he ever wants to have a glimmer of hope against Ganon and his evil armies.
All the poor boy has to his aid is a rusty sword and a wooden shield. Thankfully, as his journey progresses, the young hero can upgrade his arsenal to include bows and arrows, a boomerang, and even explosives. By using a map and a compass, he can figure out where the entrances to the underground caves and ruins are located. If he’s lucky, he can also come across resistance fighters amongst the local population. Some are eager to help in his quest, while others demands a hefty compensation for any services rendered.
Can Link reassemble the Triforce of Wisdom, evade being killed or captured by Ganon’s forces, rescue Zelda, defeat the wizard and bring back peace and prosperity to Hyrule? That’s up to you to find out.
What perhaps impressed us the most about The Legend of Zelda was the open world, ripe for exploring. Unlike most games that were released at this time, you didn’t have to follow any set order in which you approached the game’s major events. The map was constructed in a way that sort of guided you in a certain direction, but you always had the freedom to break out of the mold and choose your own path. We spent hours upon hours wandering the Overworld of Hyrule, only to have the game throw a magnificent curveball at us when first entering the enormous palace ruins of the Underworld.
Sporting an impressive inventory of weapons, tools and gadgets, a huge world full of imaginative creatures and places to visit, a compelling story and addictive gameplay, The Legend of Zelda will forever be a great milestone in the history of video games.
It’s a retro game that has stood the test of time better than most, and a real treat for any gamer worth his or her salt.
At the time of Oil Imperium’s release, there really wasn’t anything similar available on the market. Perhaps riding on the massive popularity of “Dallas” on television, developers at Rainbow Arts set out to deliver the ultimate oil tycoon experience for the home entertainment crowd.
Your objective may originally seem fairly straightforward; you’re an upcoming player in the oil investment business, and your aim is to dominate the industry by becoming virtual equivalent of the largest oil speculator and distributor on the planet. This, of course, means you’ll have to crush your competitors in the financial brawl of claiming prominent clients and company resources. If you so choose, you can approach your business from a traditional, fair-play angle. By lowering prices and offering better services, you’ll ride the wave of untethered capitalism, straight to the top. Obviously, this style of doing things isn’t as easy as taking the more common (and morally dubious) path, but it’s certainly a rewarding feeling to see your company as the big cheese, knowing that all your hard, honest work and labour payed off.
However, even if you start out as a genuine do-gooder, you’ll soon find out the harshness of investing in the oil business. Your competitors often have no problems at all when it comes to using shady practices and outright illegal methods to stop your rise to fame and fortune. We’re talking industrial espionage, sabotaging pipelines and stealing drilling equipment, just to name a few. Oil is money, and money means greed, which can turn the most delicate flower into a Trumpesque goblin. It’s certainly more fun to do business this way, and it also comes with greater earning opportunities. You just need to exercise some caution, because if they catch you, you’ll have to pay the price in the form of hefty fines, or even jail time.
Oil Imperium spans over several decades, with each major move taking up one month of the year, and smaller actions counted as days or weeks. This simple, yet slightly brilliant setup adds an epic feel to the game. Once you decide to finally retire from the oil business (if you get that far), you can look back at all your past achievements with pride, and also take a quick dip in your massive heap of money.
If you choose the single-player campaign, you’ll be competing with 3 computer-controlled rivals. But, as always, the real fun begins by grabbing a couple of pals to play with. That way, you can also team up and scheme together. Or why not go all-out bully and gang up on a single player early on? Each of you will assume the CEO role of a major oil corporation (Transoil, All American, Explora Inc, and Interoil). There are 4 different campaigns, as well:
- Who will have the most funds and resources after three years?
- Who will be the first to acquire 80 percent of the global market?
- Who can first amass 60 million US dollars?
- Who will be the last man standing?
There’s certainly not a lack of potential deviousness to be found in the game’s setup.
Depending on the chosen campaign, the game’s mechanics will change, adding another welcome touch of realism to this investment simulator. The major goal, however, remains the same. You and your competitors are fighting for control over drilling licenses, tankers and shipping lanes, and oil fields all over the world. Here’s where the game takes a more liberal approach, as the quantities of oil on each continent is random. You might fight a fierce battle for control over the Gulf Region, only to discover that the wells have dried up and that Europe has suddenly become the world’s biggest holder of oil resources.
In order to guarantee success in your financial ventures, each player as access to a set of helpful tools. For example, before you purchase an oil field, you have the option of surveying its potential yield. Drilling can be done by experts, which will cost you more than a pretty penny. Or, you can do it manually, meaning you risk ruining your drill and tainting the well. You’ll always need to be on the lookout for sabotage, because your competitors won’t shy away from setting your fields aflame, sinking your tankers, punching holes in your pipelines to steal your oil, or fidgeting the numbers of your company’s tax records. You can respond in kind or hire a private security firm to keep any industrial shenanigans at bay. You’re probably better off doing both, to be honest.
Oil Imperium is just great fun and a real blast from the past. If you don’t have an Amiga 500 at your disposal, you can download the game and use an emulator for your PC. A sweet little game with potential of much hilarity and dismay, as you try to outwit and destroy each other in the cutthroat world of oil business.
There’s something horribly fascinating about zombies and the apocalypse. The concept of a horde of mindless, flesh-eating drones has terrified movie-goers and video gamers for decades, and the genre has seen a recent revival the last couple of years, with shows like The Walking Dead and games such as Left 4 Dead, DayZ and 7 Days to Die bringing in millions for producing companies and developers.
To the urban survival/prepper crowd, the doomsday never seems too far off, creating a major demand for survival gear, food supplies and precious commodities on the investment markets. As the U.S. presidential elections draw closer, and with the obvious advantage of Clinton and the Democrats in national statistics and polls, Republicans scramble to prepare for at least another four years of economic recession, famine, pestilence and divine punishment of all kinds. This mentality seems to have rubbed off on the gaming community, with plenty of well-respected players diversifying their dispensable assets in prepper gear and finite products such as fuel and gold bars for sale. If you were to ask the survival gamers about the prospects of society’s future, the response from the majority of them is likely to be dystopian at best. It may seem far-fetched to some financial speculators, but the possibility of an imminent viral outbreak raging through the developing world is not inconceivable by any means. With new, more resistant strands of flu and airborne epidemics on the rise, maybe the zombie apocalypse is lurking right around the corner?
So how does one prepare for the imminent collapse of society and, ultimately, humanity itself? The most popular answer appears to invest your money in tangible commodities that carry a lasting value. This often means buying precious metals such as gold bars or platinum bullions. The predicted scenario goes as follows: In the early days of a complete societal breakdown, the economic markets will be the first ones to fall. Paper stocks and bonds will become worthless and regular currency will follow shortly after. Governments will try to slow the crash by ramping up the printing process of paper money, as they always do when the economy starts to head south. It may have some initial dampening benefits, but the rapid inflation will ultimately cause a massive devaluation of the US dollar, which is considered as one of the strongest performing currencies in terms of financial safety. At this point, there’s nothing that can be done except go with the downward spiraling flow, and that means producing even more currency that has no actual value or useful properties. Paper bills and cheap metal coins will be worth nothing to the public, while essential products like food, water, tools, vehicles and equipment will be traded based on a system where rare commodities like gold bars for sale will act as the new currency, backed by their value in terms of historical demand and usefulness.
This is why finding gold bars for sale and other rare metals has become all the rage lately. The attractive qualities of gold bars for sale have always ensured a guaranteed value. Put this together with the many advantages of owning a personal supply of gold bars in a post-apocalyptic rebuilding of society, and it becomes apparent how an investment in gold bars is one of the go-to choices for the prepper crowd, which now can count plenty of survival gamers amongst their numbers. In the case of a financial meltdown of global proportions, the price of gold bars for sale will skyrocket beyond measure, making it the universal money standard in economic transactions. Putting up a substantial amount of gold bars for sale is already working as an aggressive way to gain leverage between different countries and private investment parties. Buying gold bars today could possibly be enough to sustain both you and your family in the early end of days, buying you enough time and means to secure your place in whatever economic system that comes next. Why buy gold bars instead of coins, you may ask? After all, coins are easier to carry while you’re running from ravenous hordes and lurking bandits. Well, it has sort of become an ongoing meme amongst survival enthusiasts and apocalypse gamers. No one is really sure how the trend got started, but it could have something to do with the fact that central banks are currently stocking up on gold bars for sale. Once things begin to fall apart, these depositories will be the first to be raided by the public. Having a couple of gold bars for sale may not seem like much in a post-apocalyptic setting, but with the value of physical gold bars expected to rise exponentially over the coming years, one can only imagine how much gold bars for sale would cost when the financial markets collapse. If you look at how the price of gold has risen since the last big market crash, it becomes easy to see how precious gold bars really are for conservative hedge funds and private investors alike.
There are plenty of ways to make a secure investment in a physical gold bar supply. By choosing a trusted gold bar provider that has your investment account backed by actual gold, you’re sure to make the most out of your funds in preparation for the coming disaster. Acquiring a substantial amount of gold bars for sale is a good way to protect yourself from financial doom and despair, and will ensure that you’re starting out the mayhem of the apocalypse from a position of economic strength and security. Even today, hunting down as many gold bars for sale as possible means you’ll be seen as a valued asset if the stock market suddenly breaks down. And even if, by some fortuitous chance, the apocalypse isn’t coming next year or the one after that, your purchased gold bars will still work as an excellent insurance policy of your personal wealth. Gold bars for sale is an investment that is likely to grow exponentially in value over the next decade, as the economic climate is always changes. Printed bills, real estate and company shares may rise and fall on a daily basis, but the economic power of gold bars is clearly here to stay.
Zombies or not, the future state of the economy, combined with volatile global conditions, will continue to see an increased demand for real and rare assets for sale – none more so than physical gold bars. So go ahead, grab your cash and start buying gold bars now, before they run out. Making an investment in gold bars for sale for the future is most likely the safest choice you can make, whatever future we’re talking about.
Back in the early 80’s, console gaming was all but extinct. While arcades were still largely around, the concept of gaming in one’s living room was largely abandoned by companies and developers. Video games were a dying breed. That is, until a Japanese company released what would become the most successful cartridge-based console of its time, and would revolutionize the gaming industry forever. We are, of course, talking about Nintendo Entertainment System, better known as the NES console. Nintendo started out in 1800’s as a small company that was mainly making simple card games for the Japanese market. Under the supervision of CEO Hiroshi Yamauchi, Nintendo saw, in perhaps an inspired moment of foresight, the massive potential of a system that would bring the popular arcade games into the homes of the Japanese population. It was a big risk, one that would either make or break the entire company, and involved a lot of pre-planning and testing. Nintendo had originally planned to release a complete 16-bit PC system with an accompanied keyboard and floppy disk drive, but the design was eventually abandoned in favour of a more compact and cheaper machine that used cartridges instead. This was not just a production cost-based decision, as the executives deemed a more simple, plug-n-play approach would go better with the home audience.
Programmer Masayuki Uemura was the team leader of project GameCom, a name that was later changed to Famicom to give the impression of a family computer system – something everyone could use and enjoy. The first test model was completed in ’82, followed by an extensive programming and fine-tuning process. Because there was no cross-development software available at the time, Nintendo had to create everything from the drawing board to final production. The code for the software was written on an NEC 8001 system, with an added LED grid solely used for graphics design. The games were packaged in cartridges using the same kind of connectors that could be found in the much larger arcade machines. In order to take full advantage of the Famicom’s power, the cartridges required 60 lines of connection. Broken connections were a common fault with the standard arcade systems, prompting Nintendo to produce their own unique line of connectors to prevent any of these issues in their new flagship. The game pad controller was basically nothing more than a straight up copy of the old Game & Watch machines. The original concept was to use the same kind of joystick featured in the arcades, but the idea was scrapped when the developers realized the difficulties of incorporating such relatively large mechanics in a smaller pad. The wear-and-tear of a joystick seemed too much of a gamble, which is why the finished controller came with the simple setup of a D-pad, a Start and Select button, and two game action buttons.
The Famicom was finally released to the public in the summer of 1983 with three available games: Popeye, Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. These were nothing but direct arcade game ports and the system had a stumbling period of initial sales, mainly due to a faulty chip set that caused the system to crash on numerous occasions. After a full product recall and a new motherboard design, the Famicom began picking up momentum. Gaining more and more popularity, it ended up become the most sold game console in Japan before the end of ’84.
With all that success under their belt, it wasn’t long before Nintendo started casting their gazes across the ocean towards the North American market. While the Famicom’s design worked well in Japan, the company deemed it too similar to a child’s toy to appeal to the American consumer. This was in the era of the VHS, with almost every American family owning a VCR system. In an attempt to make the Famicom’s look more “professional”, the console was redesigned to mimic the aesthetics of a VCR, with a bulkier housing and more traditional colour patterns. Also, in what can best be described as an act of inspired lunacy, Nintendo also abandoned the top insertion slot of the Famicom for a press-down slot where the cartridges had to be inserted at an angle and then pressed down in order to activate the connectors. A bold experiment to increase the console’s appeal, but a decision that would later come back to haunt them as the connector pins on the cartridges would eventually bend or break, causing a loading malfunction. The hardcore gamers of the 80’s know exactly what we are talking about.
The redesigned Famicom was introduced to America under the name of NES and had a most impressive lineup of games, including classics such as Duck Hunt, Golf, Ice Climber, Kung Fu, Pinball, Excitebike, Soccer, Tennis, and most importantly, Super Mario Bros. Nintendo’s American campaign was a roaring success, with more than 7 million units sold in 1988. The modest company that started out making card games had come to more or less dominate the gaming industry in both Japan and North America, with Europe to follow soon after.
Of course we now know it didn’t last forever, mostly due to a number of product delays and some bizarre business decisions. But no one can deny what Nintendo did for video games, creating a legacy that remains strong till this very day.