At a Glance: Remember those old lemonade stand games where you would buy the supplies to make lemonade and set up a stand on a hot summer day? Those were terrific, and at long last they have been faithfully recreated in Hot Dog King. The developers of this innovative hot dog stand simulation have even added some twists that offer gamers that special something missing from the genre: thongs.
Developer: Fuzzyeyes Studio
Publisher: Meridian 4
For years the masses have been clamoring for a generic tycoon game that could be tedious and completely generic, yet would make them feel a deep sense of shame from the moment the loading screen appeared. At long last, Greasy German developer Fuzzyeyes Studio has answered these demands. They have taken the winning formula of watching people stand behind a counter for hours and combined it with half-naked women and jiggling breasts.
It's that special sort of synergy that every videogame publisher dreams of realizing. Jealous developers will look at Hot Dog King and say, "Processed meat tycoons and lame partial nudity, why didn't I think of that!?"
Hot Dog King places you in the enviable shoes of a man with 20,000 generic money units and a dream: to be the number one fast food retailer in the city. Realizing that dream will take a lot of hard work. You will face a city full of competitors who will very infrequently do something to interfere with your business very slightly. You will also have to contend with fickle fate and its random events that will annoy you very slightly and force you to play ridiculously easy mini-games.
When you begin your foray into hot dog entrepreneurialism you are given the choice of three cities in which you can set up shop: Los Angeles, New York, or Seattle. The game suggests that New York is the most difficult and Seattle is the easiest, but they are all pretty much the same. With your limited money you have to choose the worst of the neighborhoods.
I selected Seattle and its scenic harbour (that is European for "industrial wasteland") district full of shipping containers and smokestacks. There are various shops available on the 3D map, vacant lots you can purchase, and your competitors. All of these locations are accessible through the awkward interface and you will use it because it is less awkward than the 3D map.
The only real purpose of the 3D map is so you can see your influence in a region. As your business grows in popularity a green glow spreads out around it on the 3D map. Lose the glow entirely, no matter how much money you have, and you will go out of business. If you go out of business, a surprisingly sinister cut scene plays showing your business as it might exist in a post-apocalyptic dystopia.
If you're wondering what happens whenever a restaurant goes out of business in the real world, I guess the owner sits in a dark alley next to the business and stares dejectedly at a newspaper declaring that his business has folded. I'm sure Seattle residents are very familiar with the front page headlines screaming, "Hotdog Franchise Goes Bust."
The starting hot dog stand is about the size of a closet and allows you to purchase only a cooler and a meager selection of candy bars and beverages. You can toy with the profit margins of the goods you offer and place orders to replenish your inventory at the market. As you gain in money you can upgrade your hot dog stand to larger and more elaborate stands. This, in turn, gives you access to more upgrades, more menu items, and more staff positions in your restaurant.
Sometimes I dream that I'm sitting in the back of the defunct Weinermobile as it careens driverless down the highway. At first I thought this was symbolic of the powerlessness I feel in life, but then I realized it's actually the Weinermobile's dream of being able to drive again.
Three years ago, when we were burying my uncle, Cleaver and some gross lady dog (Solstice???) showed up at the cemetery and starting going at it really loudly. It ruined everything and we had to have a "re-do" the next day and it cost a fortune. I've hated him ever since for that.
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