So, who’s up for some stock trading? I’m looking for hands! Oh come now, there must be someone out there. No, not you, balding thirty-eight year old man. I’m looking for a real gamer who’s looking for some real Wall Street fun. No takers? That’s a real shame. I’ve got a pretty good game for you, too: Wall Street Kid. Yes sir, Wall Street Kid is just about as much fun as trading stocks can be when there’s no potential for financial gain.
That’s not to say the game isn’t any fun. Truth be told, Wall Street Kid is way more fun than it has any right to be. Seriously, who would ever have thought that selling one stock in “Yapple” to purchase three in “American Depress” would actually provide for a good time? It’s exhilarating to watch your virtual portfolio go up in value. It’s enthralling to be on the lookout for a hot stock. And it’s depressing to see your amassed fortune go up in smoke. All of these things, somehow or another, add up to form one fun game. Who’d have thought, eh?
Of course, no stock trading videogame would be complete without a plot. Because, goodness knows, we can’t buy and sell shares in a company without a silly little story. Never you fret, loyal readers! This game does not falter in regard to having a silly little story.
You are the heir to your rich uncle’s fortune—a staggering $600 billion in “assets.” Unfortunately—and here comes the plot twist—you have to prove that you’re worthy of this large sum of money. You are given a paltry $500,000 to begin with, and you must achieve goals such as purchasing a million-dollar house, purchasing a yacht, etc., until you reach the mack daddy of all purchases: your family castle. The castle was sold off by your ancestors at some point in the past, and it is up to you to reclaim your predecessors’ former glory. After you pay for the castle in its entirety, the rest of your uncle’s fortune is yours.
That’s where the Wall Street part comes in: you use your initial 500,000 greenbacks to play the the stock market and eventually earn enough money to pay for the castle. While all of this is going on, you have to also keep yourself in good shape, and appease your whiny girlfriend. All in all, this transaction takes about three hours to process, and it shouldn’t take you more than a handful of tries to do so.
That is, if you’re one bad-ass hardcore gamer, anyway. Wall Street Kid is, without a doubt, not a game for the casual gamer. The casual gamer would get bored and/or frustrated mere seconds after blowing on the cartridge. It takes a true gamer to appreciate how good of a game Wall Street Kid is, and if you ain’t got the fortitude to handle it, you’d might as well hit the bricks.
There’s no flashy graphics or cutesy characters that all you casual gamers love here in Wall Street Kid. The layout is designed something like Déjà Vu, with every one of your actions taking place within a series of menus. Quite frankly, the game could have just as easily been done completely sans graphics, but then even fewer people would have played it. As it stands, the graphics are gritty at best, ugly at worst, and there’s not very many of them. But, a true gamer can recognize that a game’s worth is not in its aesthetic splendor—it’s how enjoyable the game is that really counts. And, as absurd as it sounds, Wall Street Kid really is loads of fun.
The music, on the other hand, is enough to make the game less playable. I’ll be the first to tell you that sound shouldn’t play a role in how much fun one perceives a game to be, but I’ll be darned if Wall Street Kid’s ear-grating tunes didn’t make me think twice about whether or not the game was enjoyable. It’s cliché, but you’ll really want to play a CD or a radio or something else over this game’s soundtrack. It’s just the same God-awful track played over ad infinitum until your hands start to pity your ears and cut the poor fellows off. It makes sense that a game that isn’t pretty would also sound awful…but, man…it’s as if Sofel was trying to drive gamers away.
When I was picking out a Nintendo game to review for this month, I looked past all the Ice Hockeys, all the Who Framed Roger Rabbits, and all the Duck Hunts to settle on Wall Street Kid. I chose this game out of my vast NES collection, not because I thought it would be a fun game, but because I thought it would be an incredible suckfest, and would therefore provide for a humorous review. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Wall Street Kid, much to my utter dismay, delivers a homer in the fun department. I doubt that any casual gamers will be able to get over the piss-poor graphics and sound, but if you’re bad-ass enough of a gamer, you’ll have a great time playing Wall Street Kid. I’m as shocked as you are.
[For a second opinion on Wall Street Kid, click here to read Mark Freedman's 2010 review]
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