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Empire TV Tycoon, thoughts from a Linux gamer

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It has been a while as other things kept coming up, but I finally take a look at Empire TV Tycoon.

I love Tycoon style games, I like being able to build and manage and do awesome things. Running a TV station isn’t something I had thought about before so it’s a very cool idea.

The first thing that always impresses me is that it starts on the correct monitor and has no troubles with the fullscreen due to having two monitors. You know how often I complain about games having a totally messed up resolution or picking the wrong monitor, but not a problem here at all!

It has two game modes, or you can go with custom options. The arcade mode is a 30-day sprint to see who can gain the most fame points, or and endless mode to just build up your TV empire (what a real tycoon game should be!).

Since I love sci-fi I decided to select that as a theme for my channel, which was really awesome to be able to pick exactly what I would want in a TV channel.

What I don’t particularly like, is how small the text in the game is. I find myself often squinting to read it or moving closer to my monitor. This should never happen! It actually makes it a little frustrating to play.

You’re essentially picking what advertising, movies and shows to place into time slots based on the audience you’re likely to get. You can hire staff to write scripts, create advertising and more. That part of it was cool and felt a little more like a proper simulation game.

You are limited to scheduling programs for today and tomorrow and that’s it. You have to keep scheduling things as they go, instead of in advanced. It doesn’t make sense other than to make it seem like you have to keep doing things in the game.

You can buy new movie from a parody of Walter White from Breaking Bad, who says the exact same phrase every time you leave. That becomes old really fast.

You occasionally get email quests sent from people to show a specific genre of film, or something like that for a reward. The problem is, the rest of your audience may not like it, so the choice is yours.

What is really odd is there’s a few different types of staff you can hire, but you’re limited to a maximum of four staff. If you want a staff member that can do something different, your only option is to fire one of them. This leads me into the fact that the game has zero building elements to it. Pretty much everything already exists, there’s no real expanding or customising your building which was a real let down.

What breaks the flow a lot is that you’re sharing the building with other TV stations, and the only way to get to different sections is by a lift, so at times you’re left waiting around as the AI is using the lift and it can be quite annoying. It actually becomes really tedious having to keep moving your character into the lift and change floors every time you want to do something different.

It has too many little ideas mashed together that don’t fit well. The statistics never seem to make sense, and the tutorial does a pretty poor job at explaining things too.

Overall, I think it’s a cool idea, but it quickly becomes stale as you’re just essentially doing the same thing over and over without any real feeling of excitement. A lot of the time you’re actually left just standing around waiting once you’ve set all your programming in. There’s really not all that much to do. I have more complaints about the game than nice things to say, it’s just not that good and I am surprised it has as many good reviews as it does as it’s really nothing great.

You can find Empire TV Tycoon on Steam. Article taken from
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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The comments on this article are closed.
Colombo 27 July 2016 at 8:21 pm UTC
Cool idea? You no know MadTV?
Pieman 27 July 2016 at 9:51 pm UTC
Long time lurker but now just registered an account to say this!

ColomboCool idea? You no know MadTV?

I used to play mad TV on dos box. Really good game and some original game play ideas that made it really fun and compelling. Annoyingly it was really glitchy and would crash all the time making it unplayable.
This looks like a clone and if they've kept true to the original but ironed out the crashes it should be an awesome game.
Liam Dawe 27 July 2016 at 10:57 pm UTC
It's obviously inspired by MadTV, my "cool idea" was generalising as it is a cool idea, just really poorly executed in this game.
enz 28 July 2016 at 5:12 am UTC
Yes, it looks like a clone of Mad TV. There also exists a German open source remake of Mad TV named TV Tower. I haven't played it, so I don't know how good it is and if it has an English translation.

Last edited by enz at 28 July 2016 at 5:13 am UTC
lucifertdark 28 July 2016 at 12:09 pm UTC
Good start to the trailer for it, "You have been hired to lead your tv channel to the fame". Was it deliberate?
soulsource 28 July 2016 at 9:07 pm UTC
I've been playing this game a lot, mainly because I love the movie references (the NPCs in the building all are based on movie characters, the test-audience often comes up with quotes from the currently running movie, the actors you can hire are appropriately named and have matching skill sets,...).
This game has one negative (but not unrealistic) point though that hasn't been mentioned in the article: One needs to accumulate fame points in order to buy upgrades, which one needs to earn more fame points. This means, that there's a positive feedback loop. The player who first earns enough fame to upgrade their antenna network (what doesn't really take long and brings a huge boost in the number of potential viewers) has an advantage over all other players (as the channel with the highest total number of viewers will earn one fame point more than all competitors), making it extremely hard for them to catch up (or even impossible, if the second player to upgrade needs more than a few hours of ingame-time to do so). So, even though a game might run for several ingame-weeks, often it's already clear who is going to win after a few ingame-days.
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