Quick Post: Spam Tycoon

This week is the crazy it seems. Not much time to get anything done! Hopefully that ends tonight. So — apologies for the shaky posting schedule this week. I’ve been thinking about some more unorthodox games this past week — nothing I’m quite prepared to share yet, except for a quick idea that came to me recently.

We’ve seen a ton of Tycoon games over time — Railroads, Theme Parks, Zoos, Icecream, Chocolate, Potions… anything real or otherwise that a start up business could potential try to strike it rich on. They’re odd little sim games that are hard to design well. (Trust me, if you look in to Tycoon games, there is a VERY broad spectrum of entertainment values, from highly addictive to utter crap.) However, they’re generally about legitimate legal work and about the player becoming the undisputed industry leader.

I spent some time for a while developing concepts for a game along these lines a few months back; I don’t want to get in to it at all, because there’s a fair chance it’ll still be made and I don’t want to ruin it for you guys or the dev team. The experience led me to explore different ways of creating the simulations that Tycoon games rely on, and really, there’s a lot of room to try new things.

So I was thinking just now: why not a Spam Tycoon?

Players make money with internet advertising and can try a number of options to develop a fortune (at the potential cost of their worldly reputation, if they’re not careful). Maybe you want to create a giant bot-net and distribute viruses to the highest bidder? Or perhaps you could distribute the worlds largest supply of off-brand viagra?

There’s a surprising amount of room for depth, intrigue, challenge and humor in this idea; players need to decide what method they want to use to distribute their garbage and find increasingly sneaky ways to reach their potential customers. Short sighted ideas like scamming, phishing, fraud and identity theft could have very high returns, but would be more quickly and aggressively shut down than something like spamming for medications.

Players could try to create bot-nets, or more genuinely buy and pay for computers — safer, but more expensive. Over time, you may buy servers in countries who are happy to shelter spammers and malicious code to protect yourself. Maybe invest in OCR research to get software that can bypass Captchas. Players may be forced to fend off other Spammers and Hackers as you intrude on their ‘turf’, fending off DDoS attacks and exploits.

Ultimately players are faced with the moral question: do you use your spamming power for annoying, or for evil?


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One Response to “Quick Post: Spam Tycoon”

  1. Table of Contents « The Art of Game Says:

    […] Quick Post: Solutions to Grinding Quick Post: Keyboard Dedication Quick Post: Heavy Rain Quick Post: Spam Tycoon Quick Post: Contemplating the Consequences Quick Post: Procedural Generation Misconception Quick […]

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