I don’t know why, but I was thinking of the old games on the TI-83 this afternoon, and the one that made the biggest impression on my memory was the classic Dope Wars (wkp), also called Drug Wars in some incarnations.
What do you think made this game so popular? Really, it boils down to a simple stock market simulation, with very little strategy involved: buy your drugs low, sell high. Rinse and repeat, then pay off your debts and become a master drug lord.
While I was pondering the game’s allure, I happened upon a slightly more modern version of the game, called Dealer. The game itself, which is designed with a crappy Flash UI with mouse-only navigation, is pretty crap, but I enjoyed the heck out of the gratuitous slang, the dark graphics, and of course the gansta beat.
Based on this anecdotal, purely circumstantial evidence, I’d like to put forth the idea that the style and attitude of a game have more to do with its success than the form. And, when considering a particular form or style, badass is always best. Any thoughts?