I love management games. Going back to SimCity 2000, they’ve been one of my favorite genres. I take great delight in managing the lives of people, providing for their needs, patiently guiding them to utopia. But sometimes I get bored of just people.
There are dreadfully few management games that don’t focus on humans. Understandably, of course. If horses made video games, they’d center around horses, too. Startopia, an excellent space-station simulator, is one of the rare ones that doesn’t, and it’s one of my favorite games of all time. It deserves a post all to itself, so I won’t talk about it too much here, but basically, you ran a space-station, catering to the needs of visiting aliens who needed food, entertainment, and medical services, so as to avoid skrashers exploding out of their ribcage. It was a unique game, and I wish there were more like it.
Coming across the above image, a depiction of Sun Wukong, the monkey king and Great Sage, Equal of Heaven, made me think that it might be interesting to have a management game where your primary subjects aren’t humans, but animals. I’m probably biased, because I really like apes and monkeys to begin with. I have a miniature of the statue Affe mit Schädel on my desk at work. I always wonder what coworkers think of it… I really like it, and the idea of gazing upon your own obsolescence… But anyways, back to the idea.
I feel it would be more of a nomadic game, then the more settled, build-up-your-town games I’m familiar with. After all, although monkeys might be able to make some small improvements to their environment, it wouldn’t be on the same scale as buildings. So perhaps you’d have to lead your troop from place to place as your monkey kingdom got too big for its current locale, looking for better resources like fruit trees and hot springs, or neighboring human villages to steal from.
Actually, the lack of buildings is probably why there are so few non-human management games. The goal of almost all management games is to build up the area you have, to improve it as much as possible and as intensely as possible, to make efficient use of every bit. Wouldn’t it be something different to have a game where the focus isn’t so much on intensive management as nomadic wandering, trying to find, not create, the best place for your simian subjects? I’m uncertain whether it’d be as interesting, but I think it could be a pretty neat little game.