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—Recette Lemongrass, Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale
What's more fun than business? Spreadsheets, paperwork, receipts- what else would you do in your spare time? Still, money is fun, and any way of at least vitually getting it can be fun by extension. Which is why some video games revolve around, or have segments of, running your own business. This could be a buy/sell table, price setting or picking items to put up for sale. It just can't only exist in Cut Scenes or Backstory.
Makes you feel like you're doing something useful, right?
This can also apply to board games.
- The 1993 computer game by Interplay, Rags to Riches - The Financial Market Simulation, is a first-person adventure game that simulates making a fortune on the stock market with very little capital.
- In the freeware game The Wager, the goal is to make money by exploring uncharted islands and selling them to prospective colonists.
- The Multi Platform Video Game based on the first Ghostbusters involved elements of this. It's actually considered a pioneer of this form of gameplay (even if the rest of the game was found lacking).
- Lemonade Stand
- Go Venture Entrepeneur. You have to start a business as a restaurant, clothing store, or sporting goods store and keep it running.
- Any MMORPG that includes an auction house, which is most of them, can be played this way. Some players will abstain from fighting monsters and instead focus on building up their finances via playing with the in-game economy and, usually, exploiting whatever crafting skills they have mastered to sell items that other players need but can't create themselves.
- In eRepublik there is usually a minister/secretary of finance for each country who's job it is to deal with inflation, taxes, economic stimulus, etc. So in many ways A Central Banker Is You too.
- In Dealt in Lead players can run saloons. Eventually banks, general stores, drugstores, etc, will be added.
- Eve Online is an MMORPG with an almost entirely player run economy. Economic activities the players can participate in range from trading to manufacturing to extortion to mercenary work. There have been several examples of player run banks.
- An amazing example: A player actually owned and ran an investment scam in EVE. He sucsessfully ran off with all of the money that people entrusted to him, which came out to approximately $170,000 real american dollars. Read more here (it's in the top spot), and here.
- The game in fact features a bid/ask listing and a graphic view not unlike those of real technical analysis tools.
- Neopets gives players the option of opening a shop, where they can resell (non-premium) in-game items they acquire while playing.
- Business Tycoon Online
- Europe 1400 has you establishing a mercantile dynasty in 15th century Europe, there's also a bit of medieval politics involved.
- Swords and potions on Kongregate is all about owning your own shop in a fantasy universe.
- In some of the Diner Dash games, Flo owns the diner.
- In Patrician III the player is an Intrepid Merchant of the Medieval Hanseatic League.
- Victoria an Empire Under The Sun and its sequel are essentially pretty front-ends for a simulation of the global economy.
- The Elder Scrolls: Bloodmoon lets you run a mead hall after finishing a quest. It is also possible to run your own item-crafting business provided you have the required skills, not to mention the possibility of a treasure scavenging business.
- The latter half of Neverwinter Nights 2 follows this trope in spirit. Rather than a business, you must oversee the economic and military planning of one of Neverwinter's subject territories.
- The expansion pack Storm of Zehir is even more faithful to this trope, featuring a caravan system, income, expenses, balance sheet, etc.
- Mount and Blade, much like a space sim, allows you to trade goods between cities. This is one of the most efficient ways of making money, and often necessary considering how much money a well-trained army costs.
- Then there is the new industry system which can have you invest in personal enterprises. Some financial knowledge required
- Recettear focuses on the main character being forced to run an RPG Item shop to pay off her father's debts while getting heroes to go through dungeons to find loot to sell.
- Lemuore no Renkinjutsushi focuses on an alchemist running a shop to pay off her own debts. She too gets heroes to go through dungeons to find loot to sell.
- Certain games in Atelier Series make you the owner of your shop of wonders. In Atelier Viorate, alchemy is the means of revitalizing the economy of your backwater village.
- Star Ocean Till the End of Time has inventing, which allows you to patent the items you create and sell them in shops. While it's technically the Craftsman's Guild that's responsible for mass-producing and selling these items, you still receive all the revenues from them on a real-time salary basis, and can even hire other inventors to make more items for you in exchange for a nominal fee.
- In Fable III you either run up property values with high rent (letting the kingdom hate you for awhile, but save their lives later) or let them live in cheap housing happily for a short time before dying horribly.
- Any game with "Tycoon" in the name (just they aren't a series since the term can't be trademarked).
- Coconut Queen
- Harvest Moon, since you own the farm in most games.
- Sim Theme Park.
- The Sims 2 "Open for Business" expansion pack
- Spaceflight simulators and their terrestrial cousins, pirate simulators, often allow the player to trade commodities between ports (as opposed to just selling pirated cargo at the first port available, which is the usual method). Examples include:
- Franchise mode in Madden NFL tasks you with running the business end of the team in between games.
- Ports of Call, in which you are a shipowner. Ironically, the most money isn't made by sending goods from port to port, but by brokering ships. Go figure.
- Capitalism II, where you're the CEO of a corporation, literally is this trope. Wikipedia claims Capitalism II is so realistic that business schools use it for their lessons.
- The Anno series.
- Uncharted Waters and its sequel.
- East India Company, where you get to build up the titular Mega Corp from the ground up.
- MULE, one of the first.
- Assassin's Creed II has this with the management of Monteriggioni; it's completely optional, but since it returns your investment several times over there's no good reason not to do it.
- This turns out to be the optimal method of making money, outpacing everything else (like completing quests, finding treasure chests, or pickpocketing) to a ludicrous degree. But since the only expensive things in the game are the improvements to Monterggioni and armor (which isn't available to purchase until some Event Flags are tripped), less than a third of the way through the game it becomes apparent that money is useless.
- Restoring the town also has the nice effect of the turning the local weather from dark and dreary overcast to bright and hopeful sunshine.
- Assassin's Creed Brotherhood expands this to a city-wide scale, allowing you buy boarded-up storefronts in Rome and putting them back into business, as well as landmarks. You can also reopen stables that will always have horses available for use, but since you can whistle for a horse at any time, there's not much point. Money's still useless for the same reasons above, though reopening the tunnel network is the best fast-travel system in the game.
- It's back again in Assassin's Creed Revelations, and this time there's even less of an excuse to have it around then in Brotherhood since the fast travel tunnels are already available from the start.
- Ticket to Ride
- Gangsters. Legal and illegal. Illegal earn more, but you have to launder the money.
- Taipan: one of the earliest. The player is a "Taipan"(merchant prince) in the Far East in the nineteenth century. Inspired loosely by the novel by that name.
- Power Grid
- Some of the Grand Theft Auto games, since at least Grand Theft Auto Vice City
- The Godfather has the player expand the Corleone family's protection rackets around New York, contributing to an automatic weekly paycheck.