THREE years ago Kevin Toms designed the classic Football Manager. Not one to rest on his laurels, he has now released Software Star, a simulation of running a successful software publishers.
Your task is to make a pre-tax profit of £10,000 and achieve superstar status by consistently getting your games to the top of the charts.
You must make a number of monthly decisions - six, actually - which affect productivity, sales strategy and public relations, as well as launching new titles, deleting old ones and booking advertising space. Then you sit back and watch your games climb slowly up the Top 20. Any resemblance between this simulation and real life is completely coincidental. You are permitted to develop and launch only one game at a time, and there is no provision for budget software or megagames.
Adverts appear to affect sales in the month that they are placed, and you cannot advertise software before it has been released!
On launching a product you are informed that the reviews have been 'appalling', 'excellent', etc; another great opportunity to lampoon the Gilbert Factor wasted! The one faint-hearted attempt at satire is the sly digs at other software houses - Perth Hut, Sigh On and Last Games. Ho ho.
Distributors, retailers and pirates - all are conspicuous by their absence. You might as well be running a whelk stall.
If the Toms believes that Software Star is an accurate portrayal of life in the cut-throat games industry then Addictive Games might as well shut up shop now.