Wall Street Game is a new Facebook offering from Enders Fund, Inc. It’s a competitive business simulation that places players in the role of a wrongly-disgraced CEO who must work his way back up the business ladder and clear his name. This is primarily achieved by buying and selling stocks, with market data drawn from the real-world stock market in real time, but there is also a news quiz element to the game.
Upon starting the game, players are introduced to the scenario which forms the basis for the game’s story. The player character, an employee at his father’s company, was accused of fraud, and the judge at his trial was paid off by a member of the board who wanted to seize control of the company and its assets. After three years in prison, the player character is let loose and has to start again with practically nothing — nothing apart from the $10 million nest egg the character’s father left them “in case anything happened,” that is.
Players are then provided with a dilapidated-looking office building to explore, and have a number of possible actions they can take. Viewing the News channel on the television provides players with a series of headlines with the pertinent company names removed, and players must choose the correct company to fill in the blank in order to receive experience point rewards. Leveling up, in turn, unlocks a wider variety of avatar customization options.
Players also have the option of engaging in trades. It’s possible to invest in publicly-traded stocks as well as private funds held by the player’s friends. Players can either purchase when the market opens, or use a Power Trade token (available via Facebook Credits) to automatically purchase stock when the price reaches a certain lower boundary.
A wealth of financial information is provided for the player to make their decision, but the game does assume a working knowledge of how the stock exchange operates — to anyone not well-versed in life on the trading floor, the array of information available will likely seem somewhat bewildering. Players initially choose a single “field” in which to focus their trading, such as technology, basic materials or consumer products, and further fields are unlocked through continued play. Players may also level up their “mastery” of a field by answering trivia questions about companies in that field after seeing three facts presented to them. Increasing mastery of a field causes the room in the player’s office building representing that field to become decorated more elaborately.
Once players complete certain objectives, they are able to battle the bosses of the story. These battles take the form of a time-limited competition to see whether the player or the boss will make the biggest percentage return on their investment. Victory in these battles allows the storyline to proceed, while failure requires that the battle be repeated.
The game makes use of an energy system, but unfortunately the flawed implementation of this at the time of writing makes the game practically unplayable. It’s not made clear to the player that every single action — including making trades, answering news quiz questions, engaging in meetings and battling bosses — requires at least one point of energy, and the pool of energy available to players is just 8 points. This would not be so bad were it not for the fact that no indication is given of how much energy certain tasks require, leading to the situation depicted in the screenshot below, where the player appears to have energy in their bar but is still locked out of being able to perform an action. In the scenario shown below, the “meeting” action the player is trying to perform costs 3 energy — more than the 2 they currently have available — but this is not indicated anywhere on the interface.
The game is also riddled with technical issues — some graphics simply don’t load at times, while on other occasions performance is very sluggish. Characters frequently also walk into walls and present ugly clipping issues.
It’s a shame that there are so many problems with this title, as there’s a good game struggling to get out underneath, and the use of real-life market data and business news gives players the opportunity to learn more about the stock market and how world events affect share prices. Not only this, but there’s a huge amount of scope for social competition between friends.
At this time, though, the flawed, miserly energy system combined with the lack of interface feedback on energy costs and the technical problems the game suffers make it hard to recommend. There’s potential here, and it’s an original concept, but it needs a lot of work before being ready for the primetime.
There’s a good, original concept for a game in there somewhere, but flawed implementation and technical issues hide it a little too well at the moment.