Have you played a web browser text game before? Are you familiar with this point and click style of games that allows you to continue playing, even if, you are already logged out? Have you played any tycoon type of game on your PC and online? Do you enjoy managing little farms, building cities, providing transportation, either in modern or ancient times and places like Rome, Egypt, or China? Do you love creating and providing industries, developing economies, or simply gleeful to watch how livestock and agriculture become a necessity and an important part of a burgeoning city?
If you have a facebook account, and chances are you have, you know what I am talking about even if you don’t play much of the free online games. The Tycoons game in facebook was a recent addition—it is still in beta format as of this writing—and it already made good impressions even among those who are not into the business management genre. As an avid fan of tycoon games, either a pc game or a web browser game of economic simulation, city building and management, farming or gardening—ho-ho!, I played Capitalism 2, Railroad Tycoon 3, Sim City 4, Monopoly Tycoon, Restaurant Empire, Patrician 3, Children of the Nile, Transport Giant, Locomotion, Caesar 4, Molehill Empire, Industry Tycoon, Tycoon Online, etc., on my PC—I find the facebook game taking a big leap, learning its lessons from the older browser games.
Let us look at some developments incorporated in “Tycoons”:
1) Lag time:
“Tycoons” short-circuited the wait time to five minutes (!) and the game moves at a fast pace, requiring more attention and thus, increasing player interest, as he or she micro manages his or her businesses in a climate that becomes more challenging and attractive with trading prices changing in mere seconds (!), as compared to the ambling, grumbling dinosaurs of other games.
Most of the browser text tycoon games are so slooow, that even if you can play them simultaneously with other browser games, the lag time to acquire, say a farm land, takes about an hour or so. Thus, your game interest may soon fail due to long waits, just to see your choice of industry starts to develop or improve. Bottom line: It takes days to see that you have finally started to earn from your wheat farm!
2) Visuals and Graphics:
“Tycoons” has a candy style approach to its graphics, and though the older facebook aficionados may find it too childish for a serious game of commerce and trade, it enhances the static appeal of the game genre, not unless, it is compared to animated pc games. The colourful icons toned down the plainness of what a player does with web browser games, i.e., point and click, wait, repeat, wait, point and click, repeat, etc., you get the idea. The colours and designs of the industry “animate” the icons in the player’s imagination, as he or she hurries up to acquire a solar power plant or a beach resort, while waiting to level up and get more business partners.
Thus, it points to the poor visual approaches or graphic designs of most of the other browser games: unimaginative, static, plain, and sometimes too spare and uncreative to enrich or tickle, attract and hold one’s interest. Tie it up with the long wait, and only the hardcore player may stay behind in the game…And that is sad.
3) Leveling up:
“Tycoons” allows the player to level up in quick, easy steps; either with hard earned cash grabbed from selling or trading, or with “Mastery” of sectors and government reward points—all available to you through the help and blessings of your facebook buddies and none-buddies (yet!) ready to assist, be a business partner, or send you gifts (resources you are in need of) or cash—every day! (In less than 24 hours, I was already level 6 before I went to bed, and I was not playing all the time. I took breaks and naps in-between, dropping on the game only from time to time to keep my businesses running. Yes, there is upkeep to maintain. Remember, everything moves every five minutes!)
For other browser games, leveling up are a chore, and one must constantly monitor and check after long waits if the requirements have already been met. Yet, here is a hard fact: Players of some these online browser games sweat it out every day, devouted and religiously following and completing every step required, because there is real money waiting to be had, i.e., by selling artifacts, loots, etc., and keeps the gamers locked tight in the game. That which makes Tycoon games different, since virtual popularity is the only carrot or the cake dangling on a click.
But before I totally veered off from what I wanted to point out, lost in my own enthusiasm for the Tycoons game on facebook, one important thing is missing to complete the excellence of the game: Transportation Sector. As the game offers the player varied business sectors to choose from and start the game—agriculture, automotive, housing, entertainment, utilities, raw materials, etc.—Transportation is missing. Economies grow and develop because of transportation, as the raw materials are carried to factories and the goods delivered to distributors and then to users. To have missed on Transportation as an integral part of an economic or business simulation game is a mortal sin, tantamount to running a factory without manpower, or as glaring a mistake as creating a city without roads.
Yet, I hope the developers of the game can amend it, since it is still in the beta format. Although automobiles are in the game used as an upkeep requirement for several housing businesses, how would I love to see under the Transportation Sector the availability of vans, trucks, trailers, trains, boats, ships, and airplanes to jets, hauling and delivering the goods and raw materials, as each one becomes a necessity for each and every sector in the game.
What do you think? Are you with me on this? You can help by voting on it as you comment whether you like the game or not in the pop up. Include the line “Where is Transportation Sector?” and pray the developers hear us—thousands of facebook members clamoring for its inclusion in the game (I hope), as we enjoy commerce and trading, racing to be a billionaire Tycoon—and maintaining it!—in the Ladder of success.
Here’s a toast to your first billion!