So, have you ever dreamed of building your own school?
… No…? Not at all…?
Well, just in case you have, indie developer Squeaky Wheel announced on their website the release prices for the early access version of their new game Academia: School Simulator.
For twenty dollars, you may purchase the base game, downloadable from Steam or as DRM-free from the game's website. For an extra five dollars, you may purchase both School Simulator and Squeaky Wheel’s first game, Political Animals, which received mostly positive reviews on Steam.
If you fork over an additional ten dollars, you can get both games and have your name featured in the game (if you're into that sort of thing). The developers describe this as an “additional tip,” so if you are particularly excited for the game this option is a sweet way to support the developers.
While an additional ten dollars may seem like a reasonable hitch to support a new developer, having to pay an additional one hundred and sixty-five dollars to have an in-game sprite look like you feels like a bit of a stretch. The developers admit that this additional price is steep, claiming that the high cost is due to the effort of making the sprites: “The price jump might be a little shocking. But in the end, we decided to stick to it because the $200 accurately reflects the amount of time it takes to make custom sprites and program them into the game.” Only one-hundred of these sprites will be available, and Squeaky Wheel do not expect to sell many.
What makes me particularly cynical of the game, aside from the fact that school isn’t normally an exciting time that we’d like to use our free time to relive, is the game's description on Steam: “As the school Principal, watch your students as they get bullied, find love, flunk exams, and basically just try to get through the roller-coaster ride that is high school.”
I think we can all agree that very few people find genuine “love” during High School (apologies to any High School sweethearts reading this) but that bullying is listed first and the description lists “flunk exams” rather than pass, makes me think the game may glorify the flaws and trauma of school life. What's the appeal in that?
The game will release this Friday for the PC, a Mac version following later and a Linux version in consideration. If the prices above seem out of your reach, the game will be on sale for a twenty percent discount during launch week. So prepare to fulfill your high school management fantasies - if you have them.