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Trade stocks, play pachinko and live your best ‘80s life in chill city-pop investment sim STONKS-9800

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Buying and selling stocks on the market in investment sim STONKS-9800
Image credit: TERNOX

Ah, the 1980s. We all remember them. (Note: I was born in 1992.) Those days where you could just spend the day making it big on the stock market, before heading out into town to bet on horses, try your luck at pachinko and take it easy to a soundtrack of smooth city pop. Well, I’m guessing that’s what it was like anyway - and given how chill retro life stocks-slash-life sim STONKS-9800 makes it all seem, I’m happy enough to bathe in virtual nostalgia.

STONKS-9800 happily fast-forwards past much of the real-life stress and risk of investing to offer a delightfully low-key take on living life as a Japanese businessperson in the eighties.

Soaked in scanlines, double-digit bits and a city-pop soundtrack, the text-driven game sees you bouncing from making money by buying and selling shares in almost familiar companies like Komami, Capcon and Ninento to splashing out your profits on luxury cars, bigger houses and your personal life.

If stocks don’t quite go your way on the straight and narrow, there’s also the option to delve into shadier activities or risk it all by betting on horses. Or you can just go play pachinko if you prefer.

You’ll need to keep an eye out for your health and stress levels by not overworking as you try to drive your happiness and comfort up with material gains, dealing with random events like car crashes, unexpected expenses and food poisoning. There’s also a dating sim-like relationship aspect to things, with the option to build up your connection with your advisor, Amy.

Amy pops up a dialogue box about attending an annual shareholders' meeting in STONKS-9800
Image credit: TERNOX

STONKS-9800 is currently out in early access on Steam, with devs TERNOX suggesting it’ll take a year to build it out with more events and minigames, as well as various fixes and refinements, before a full release.

As it stands, though, it seems to be a light but engrossing way to pass a load of time by investing and betting without any of the real-life risk. If nothing else, that bopping soundtrack might be worth the low price of admission alone.

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