Ever wanted to be a television tycoon? To be honest, neither had I until I played Empire TV Tycoon [official site]. Okay, I still don't, not really, but Dreamsite Games' business management game has enriched me with the know-how so that if ever I decide to make the leap from floundering freelance writer to media oligarch I can.
Yeah, that might be a slight exaggeration but Empire TV Tycoon is good fun. Whereas some simulation games lean heavy on realism - records, numbers, statistics and whichever other brain boggling variables they can supply - some fall back on on engaging systems which, although perhaps more on the lighthearted side, make sense within the bounds of the game itself. Of course, games of this ilk can go way past that marker and end up (literally) in the toilet, but Empire TV Tycoon is a game that understands itself and its limitations and is all the better for it.
The aim of the game, as you might've already guessed, is to build a successful TV channel and get more ratings than the competition. As you and your rivals vie for top viewership, you're judged by the popularity of your individually selected time slots, whereby you must choose to run TV shows, feature-length films and ads. Whoever hits pre-determined 'levels' of fame in each stage wins. Throughout this process there's plenty of talk of "matching content", "demographics", "ad revenues" and a lot of other marketing-speak bollocks that you unfortunately have to pay attention to, but what makes it bearable, and in turn what makes Empire TV Tycoon enjoyable, is choice - there's never an immediately obvious way to go about besting your rivals.
Empire TV Tycoon is out now for Windows and Mac on Steam at £7.49 thanks to a launch discount.
So, what have I learned about selling the concept of television to the public? Can I interest you in a look at the game's release trailer:
See what I did there?