Like many tech junkies, I sleep with my phone right next to bed. Every morning it’s the same; eyes open, big yawn, reach for phone, check email and Twitter. Over the past month, though, there’s been an additional step in my routine: stock my Tiny Tower.
If you haven’t played the iPhone Game of the Year, Tiny Tower, it’s a pretty simple concept. The game is free to play (heavy on the free). You’re tasked with building new floors in your tower, populating it with “bitizens” and giving them places to shop in five categories. Each bitizen is rated in each of the commercial categories with a “dream job.” Place a bitizen in his/her dream job and you get bonus Tower Bucks and that floor becomes more productive.
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Tower Bucks are used to upgrade your elevators, speed restocking or construction and for purchasing costumes for your bitizens. There’s a little bit more to it, but overall, the game simply shouldn’t be as addictive as it is. It’s got the pick up and play of any good mobile game with the short burst experience of an Animal Crossing title. I’m sure that developer Nimblebit has raked in a not-insignificant amount of money by selling bundles of Tower Bucks to diehard Tower Superbittendents(?).
In this industry, cribbing from the competition isn’t uncommon. With enough massaging, tweaking and improving, though, it can be a very good thing, leading to some of the best games. Platformers, adventures and collections in video games all started somewhere and keep getting better. OK- maybe not the mindless collection thing, but that’s a subject for another day. Without Space Panic, we may not have had Super Mario Bros. Without Adventure, the Triforce would still be fractured.