Maybe this’ll be a permanent series on this website, where I just throw up different ideas for games. I did it a while ago with ideas for a Superman game that may actually work. For this first post in the new series, I take inspiration from the local gaming scene here in the Philippines with the idea of an internet cafe simulator game. As far as business management games go, I think this is a very interesting idea as I can see the layers of tasks and priorities to be juggled during gameplay. Despite being seemingly mundane, running an internet cafe isn’t your typical business.
We’ve seen games that are about making games like Game Dev Story and Game Dev Tycoon. Kairosoft seems to make management simulators all the time, even though they’re not exactly the most perfect simulations you’ve ever seen. It’s sort of Diner Dash with computers during business hours and a builder everywhere else.
Since I’m also trying to learn how to make games, this could most likely be my first project. But once again, if someone snags the idea and make their own, I wouldn’t mind at all. Do with it as you please.
Basic Design and Concepts
The player manages the planning, building, and day-to-day business operations of an Internet cafe. There are many aspects to this, including the legal side, the financial side, the operation side, etc. We must start with the most basic ones, which are the financial and operation aspects of the business.
Here’s an attempt to break it down, from the most basic to the more advanced through tiers.
At its most basic, you begin the game with a starting capital and a space where you can put computers in. You then hook up to an Internet connection, and you’ve got a business. Just make sure you’re able to pay the bills every month while making a profit to stay afloat, and that’s the game at its most basic.
We then add in more stuff, like being able to choose where to put up the business, who to employ, who to borrow money from, etc. It’s like Theme Hospital, but with computer rentals instead of medical practice.
Loans beget interest that can make things tougher, employees can either be good at their job or so bad that you’d fire them in a heartbeat, different locations with different sizes and conditions, and so on.
By introducing these variables, gameplay can be made more varied and the need for planning more imperative. That’s where players can come up with build orders and other strategies to address problems and difficulties, which is what the genre is all about.
This tier is more on variables and NPC behavior, which bring more random elements to gameplay. You can do things like give employees and customers different kinds of AI behavior.
There are paying customers who just mind their own business and leave things neat, more disruptive customers who make a mess and ruin peripherals, layabouts who just watch other people and don’t rent a computer themselves, ragers who get really crazy while playing and would even start fights in the shop, etc.
You can also have truant customers who are there to cut classes, so you have to prohibit students at certain hours to cooperate with schools. There may also be older customers who have no idea about computers but need something done, so one of your employees has to help out, which takes him/her out for the time being while other employees have to cover for him/her in current tasks.
Different types of locations may bring variables to the table as well. Being near a school or anywhere with high foot traffic can bring in more customers, as well as certain demographics (e.g. kids who want to play games after school). Being in more dangerous neighborhoods can lead to your shop getting robbed or having things wrecked, while being in a more secluded location doesn’t yield as many customers.
There are a lot more things possible here, but I leave it here for now. You can add more ideas like cultural factors (because a Filipino computer shop wouldn’t be exactly similar to a Korean PC bang, Taiwanese wang ka, etc.)
You could even account for something like Japanese net cafe refugees.
There may be a lot more great ideas, which I’d really like to know about. Please leave whatever reactions, questions, or suggestions you may have on the comment section below. You may also leave a message on either Facebook or Twitter. Thank you for dropping by.