Wot I Stink: Toilet Tycoon

By John Walker on January 10th, 2013 at 8:00 pm.

HAHA YOU CHAIR IS A TOILET HA HA HA

I have long held a fascination with the role toilets play in games. Where films and TV almost never feature a character visiting the lavatory, games can’t offer enough of them. Bathrooms are faithfully recreated, most often for no narrative purpose in the game itself, and so very frequently with flushable loos. What is it about this medium, that’s otherwise so willing to fill levels with pointless locked doors, that makes it so interested in the potty?

So surely, with this in mind, a game all about toilets must be the pinnacle of the medium? Right? Right? Here’s wot I think of Toilet Tycoon.

No, obviously not. But the sheer existence of Toilet Tycoon was clearly only ever about gaining attention for itself. Despite being from 2006, a canny Anvil Soft have noticed the recent attention some of the more obscure German simulations have been receiving from the wider press (which is weird in itself – what was once only Jim getting over excited about a fork lift truck sim or similar now seems to have gripped the masses), and re-released it via a smattering of download services. A press release out today is seemingly designed to garner the attention of idiots, who’ll be stupid enough to write about it on their websites because it’s got “toilet” in the name.

So, yeah.

It’s awful. You probably already figured that out, because it’s called Toilet Tycoon. And the reason we’re all hearing about it is because by some unholy means, it became the best selling casual game on Amazon.com for a moment.

Despite being originally released in 2006, it genuinely looks as though it were made in 1996 – incredibly awful design, graphics, and menus, at a minuscule and unchangeable resolution, that can’t task-switch, and has a ridiculously clumsy mouse cursor. It looks like it was made by a half-dead badger using GeoCities. There’s no introduction, tutorial, nor attempt to explain your aims in a useful fashion. Help buttons tell you about what’s on screen, but not why you’re using it, and oh goooood griiieeeeeeef iiiiiiiit’s soooooo sloooooooowwwwwwwww.

But what about the game beneath it all? Well, you know when you do a perfect poo – those ones that come out neatly and quickly, and when you go to wipe there’s nothing there? It’s not that. But as it happens, nor is it one that gets clogged up in the u-bend and floods your bathroom with wee-poo. It’s just a bit of a frustrating dump that takes too long, and leaves you feeling like there’s still more to come out.

You pick your number of opponents, either beside you or AI, and then take them on in gathering a public toilet empire in a town split into four districts. Except, forget anything you just imagined – it’s far less ambitious than that. You buy a restroom, from say a quiet estate (polite, clean customers, but little foot traffic) or maybe in the red light district (a lot of traffic, money to make in condoms, but rather unpleasant clientèle). No, see, you’ve imagined something more ambitious again. Each has four stalls, into which you construct toilets from various upgradable parts, and then set a fee per stall. Make money, improve your loos, charge more, buy new buildings, look at the time, make coffee, wish you could task-switch without it breaking the mouse cursor, finish one game because you’re writing about it, stop.

Along the way you can hire people to vandalise or vomit in rival bogs, send health inspectors who’ll levy fines, spy on them, and spread rumours about how bad other proprietors’ facilities are. All of which aren’t as interesting as you just imagined.

But for a moment, for a point in the middle of a game, you settle into a rhythm and you end up playing a management game about toilets without really minding. Because it doesn’t matter if it’s a toilet, or a restaurant, or a hospital – that core mechanic can entertain. But here it’s for about a five minute window in between the hour or so either side. And the rest is horrible. The biggest issue being that as soon as someone’s in the lead, there’s nothing the opponent can do to take it back. The only way a location can be lost is if you get all four stalls found to be wanting by an inspector. But, er, there’s no logic to this whatsoever. You can have a room with four stellar loos, state-of-the-art tech, even cup holders (no, really), and spick and span. But during your opponent’s turn it seems they can be made dirty through use, and bad enough for an inspector to remove it from your portfolio. There’s no gradual degradation you were failing to keep up with, nor indeed any option to pay for ongoing maintenance – somewhere a dice invisibly rolls and you lose.

But really, I’m giving this rubbish far too much credit by bothering to explain what’s wrong with it, since the creator didn’t bother to actually let it end. Even after someone’s awarded the title of Toilet Tycoon and told they’ve won, the game carries on for ever, even if the opponent has literally nothing they can do. Let alone that the whole exercise is such a half-arsed lazy mess, an embarrassing construction that exists solely to be an amusing concept, no matter what it actually offers.

So don’t bother reading the above.

But if there isn’t a pun thread under this, I’ll quit.

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78 Comments »

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  1. luukdeman111 says:

    I guess you could say the game is half assed?

    Or is it just shit?

    Yeah I know they’re not very good… I just don’t want to lose john!

    • Misfire42 says:

      It’s kind of crappy that he would threaten to leave if he doesn’t get a pun thread.

      • yogibbear says:

        RockPaperShitcan leaving an awful taste in reader’s mouths since eighteen seventy pee.

        • mr.black says:

          There are some who thing RPS is peeutiful!
          :dodges rotten eggs, scrams:

          • Swanny says:

            I used to. However, as I’m writing this, my face is flushed red with anger over this wot I think. This was my number two game of the year.

          • darlenejeffrey2 says:

            til I looked at the draft which was of $5774, I didn’t believe that my best friend had been realey receiving money part-time on there computar.. there sisters neighbour had bean doing this 4 only about 8 months and a short time ago repaid the mortgage on their house and got a great new Infiniti. go to..Golden Job

          • noodlecake says:

            Yep. Ricky Gervais is right. Puns are the shittest form of humour.

          • Trillby says:

            Oh, ballcock.

          • Treebard says:

            I am amazed that the spam bot contributed to the pun thread with a (sort of) actually related pun. Um, er, uh…I like where this is HEADed?

        • westyfield says:

          More like Cock(toilet)PaperShitgun, eh?

          Eh?

    • db1331 says:

      I hope this does well enough to warrant a sequel. Can’t wait to see what they expand upon in number two.

    • Koozer says:

      This review is far too long to read; I wish John didn’t have such verbal diarrhoea.

    • Low Life says:

      The worst thing about games like these is that for some members of the team its just their talents going down the drain.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rikard Peterson says:

      Don’t you mean that you don’t want to lose the john?

    • Tom Walker says:

      Toilet puns are so obvious they almost don’t seem like a play on words.

      Still, he threatened to quit – I couldn’t stand toilet him go.

    • mr.black says:

      He played it till wee hours of the night

    • LintMan says:

      All these potty puns deserve a prize – a brand new 2013 Lincoln Incontinental

    • Skabooga says:

      Honestly, you’d have to be loo-ny to think Toilet Tycoon could ever be a good game.

    • The Random One says:

      Damn, again I arrive at a pun thread to find all the good puns taken… next time I won’t be as turdy.

    • Premium User Badge

      MajorManiac says:

      I can see this game floating to the top of the main-stream.

    • Bhazor says:

      Oh come on now, no need to poo poo it.

    • tossrStu says:

      Does anyone know what the required cistern specs are?

    • Vurogj says:

      Meh, if John wants to leave, he will, khazi can.

    • jimangi says:

      I was (bowel) moved to tears by this WIT. Urine for a treat when you go to RPS.

    • Premium User Badge

      Vandelay says:

      We’ve been waiting fart oo long for this number one game.

  2. Low Life says:

    So don’t bother reading the above.

    You know me far too well. Summary first. Always.

  3. Premium User Badge

    BathroomCitizen says:

    I definitely should try this

  4. MrLakestream says:

    Does it have multisprayer?

  5. Premium User Badge

    Terics says:

    I can’t say I’m surprised that this game stinks.

  6. LintMan says:

    My 10 year old son insists on creating (flushable) toilets in every building and structure he creates in Minecraft. I’ve been trying to convince him this is not necessary or normal, but now I see he has a bright future ahead of him as a game designer.

    • Brun says:

      …or a plumber.

      I kid, I kid.

      • Premium User Badge

        Thermal Ions says:

        No need to kid. With what plumbers charge around here, it’s just as or more appealing financially that a university educated position.

        • LintMan says:

          And better job security, too.

          • Premium User Badge

            Cinek says:

            And no overtimes till 2am, and no need to think about work and tasks ahead at home. Nor any need for constant self-education in order to keep up with the market (occasional training mixed with grill and beer should do the job).

  7. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    2006? I remember demos of that game on physical discs in physical magazines around 2000…


    Okay, after further inquiry, this seems to be the 2006 sequel to the 2000 remake of the original game, which was released in 1995 for Atari ST.

    • affront says:

      Not exactly, it only got an English version release in 2006 according to the (German only) wiki entry: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klomanager

      • Premium User Badge

        RedViv says:

        Ah. That is what I was looking at, not too thoroughly it would seem. It appears that the sequel planned for 2006 was never actually released. My bad. And good for this world, it would seem.

      • Lanfranc says:

        “Aufgrund der positiven Resonanz von „Klomanager“ entwickelt Anvil-Soft seit 2001 einen Nachfolger…”

        “Due to the positive response to ‘Toilet Manager’, Anvil-Soft has been working on a sequel since 2001…”

        Hm. Someone ought to throw a couple of large [citation needed] on that one.

  8. SuperNashwanPower says:

    “HHRRNNNNGGGGHHHHHH”

    Don’t get piles

  9. Premium User Badge

    DrScuttles says:

    Breaking Bad had some pivotal toilet action in the most recent episode. Truly staggering stuff.
    Pulp Fiction showcased the dangers of indiscriminate toilet usage.
    And finally an honourable mention to In Bruges for featuring Ralph Fiennes asking “Is he doing a wee or a poo?”

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      There’s also Trainspotting. And Austin Powers. And Casino Royale.

      • Zepp says:

        Trainspotting has the most eerie toilet moment in cinema history.

        • pmcp says:

          What about the Shining?

          • Premium User Badge

            DrScuttles says:

            Those are some legendary toilets of cinema right there.
            Oh, and I just remembered Patrick Bateman’s remembering to return videotapes in American Psycho. And Jurassic Park. First time I saw a man on a toilet at the cinema.

          • Premium User Badge

            c-Row says:

            “Legendary Toilets Of Cinema” – I can already see a book coming up. Or smell?

      • Premium User Badge

        Foosnark says:

        The I.T. Crowd.

  10. yogibbear says:

    Are there different levels of diffickulty: solid, mushy, painfully hard, splatter-rebound-horror!, don’t-click-me-you-have-been-warned!

  11. Beebop says:

    Does anyone know if they’re also re-releasing the 2007 space-toilet expansion? It added clingons.

  12. Kingmarzo says:

    Is this turd based like Civ?

  13. Premium User Badge

    golem09 says:

    This was the game of my youth (I’m german)
    We played this so much back in the day (and I’m SURE that wasn’t 2006, more like 2002) and we always found it hilarious.
    Been waiting for the sequel since about 2004 (and it’s in development since then)

    In recent times we used it for filling the pauses in other hot seat games like Heroes of Might and Magic 5. One player would make his HOMMV move, while the other one played Kloomanager (Toilet Tycoon).

    Truth be told, this is the LAST game I ever expected to be featured here.
    A lot of good old memories coming back.

  14. sinister agent says:

    These incontinent outbursts are really out of order. Of course everyone wants to let one go sometimes, but it sounds like instead of taking the idea and following through, you just got bogged down in the details. Give it another go, this time keeping careful notes, and be sure to hold onto your log while you write article number two.

  15. D3xter says:

    You’re just being a hater, I remember playing this game distinctly sometime in the early 00s or so while it was still called “Klomanager”: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klomanager and doing hot-seat CoOp with a couple of friends and laughing our asses off.

    Who knows, maybe I’ll wake up some day and see John Walker hating on Hamsterball Gold too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75MTXcjVyUE

  16. Premium User Badge

    MeatMan says:

    To steal a quote from one Amazon reviewer:

    This is the best toilet management simulation since SimShitty.

  17. pmcp says:

    So it’s not funny enough to be good and it’s not good enough to be funny. Would you say it falls between two stools?

  18. Shooop says:

    I imagine this game is a huge hit within the bowels of hell.

  19. Mud says:

    Flush, a-ah

  20. x3m157 says:

    Someone had way too much fun in Duke Nukem to think up this game…

  21. Premium User Badge

    MarkN says:

    The proliferation of toilets in games is due to games frequently being set in realistic environments. Something I’m not a big fan of particularly. Why set a game in the boring old real world when you could set it in the world of the gravy elves, or the dinosaurs, or the moon tigers? Any of them is preferable, IMO.

    But if you do choose the real world, then you either stick a bastard load of toilets in because that’s what the real world generally has and it looks odd without them, or a bastard load of locked doors where the toilets should be (leading people to wonder what’s on the other side of the locked doors, and confusion about how they should open them – it’s easier to just give them the toilets and let them amuse themselves with the fake porcelain as best they can tbh).

    But it’s basically money that would be better spent on more moon tigers, IMO.

    • Premium User Badge

      Foosnark says:

      Not to mention, giant artificial-gravity moon litterboxes for the moon tigers.

  22. Diving Duck says:

    After reading these great comments I just had to Log in to leave my (skid) mark on this thread

  23. brulleks says:

    “Well, you know when you do a perfect poo – those ones that come out neatly and quickly, and when you go to wipe there’s nothing there?”

    A phenomenon that one of my friends once referred to as a ‘Magic Poo’. The name has stuck with us ever since, (even though the actual artefact, being so neat and polished, hasn’t, of course).

  24. paulapuffmutter says:

    Should be a gog anytime-classic!

  25. LionsPhil says:

    This crap makes me wonder what happened to Chris “Tycoon Games That Are Actually Good” Sawyer, especially in this age of the Kickstarted resurgence of the bedroom programmer.

  26. lijenstina says:

    This game is every AAA game publisher business plan for the next few years. Medal of Odour an Call of Potty will warm the seat for everybody else. Albeit the inevitable cholera epidemic will somehow diminish the possible sales in the long run. At least, they can wipe their asses with a page of Mega Man sprites to receive acclaim on Comic Genesis.

  27. Premium User Badge

    sonofsanta says:

    Surely an ideal opportunity, if ever, to rate a game on a known scale of reference.

    Read like a type 2 to me.

  28. Premium User Badge

    corinoco says:

    I seem to recall you could search Elvin Atombender’s bog in Impossible Mission. It was hilarious, it made you look like you we’re having a good long wee. You could also search his loo roll holder.

    Wasn’t Myst set in a place called dunny?* I’m pretty sure Pyst was.

    I’m sort of surprised no one has mentioned any Star Trek games, weren’t they always about “boldly going where no-one has gone before?”

    * yes, it was D’Ni, I know, but the way they pronounced it so seriously as ‘dunny’ is hilarious to an Australian like me.

  29. gjrud says:

    This game wasn’t worth a single word but John persisted and did his duty, he should feel proud of himself