sábado, 3 de octubre de 2015

Big Pharma: The game.



What if you had it in your power to rid the world of disease, to improve the lives of millions, to ease suffering and cure the sick… and earn a tidy profit?


As the head of your own Pharmaceutical Conglomerate you have this power resting in your hands. Will you use it for good? Being totally altruistic may not be the best business plan. The uncomfortable truth (is there an ointment for that?) is that some remedies are more profitable than others and illness is good for business.


Welcome to the world of Big Pharma!


The pharma industry divides opinions on its morality, but what has always stood out is the fact that in this business, profit is king.

I do not envy pharma executives – who are answerable to eager shareholders and investors none-too-keen on a disappointing set of financial results – but I am nonetheless curious about their work, the pressures they come under, and the industry’s ethics.

So I see the new strategy game ‘Big Pharma’, from independent computer game developer Twice Circled, as a chance to get a more light-hearted feel for that world. I can learn from the safety of my own home, without having to worry about my job security or any crippling lawsuits that might come my way from poisoning my customers.

For a sense of what the game is all about, think The Sims, but in the pharma world. Your goal is to import compounds, discover their active ingredients, create the right concentrations and mixtures – and then of course sell the optimised pills for maximum profit.
Firing up the colourful game for the first time, you have your hand held nicely through a tutorial that serves as a good introduction to the mechanics of the factory and production line.
Accompanied by some very pleasing animations and sound effects (not to mention an official soundtrack), I was quickly able to arrange the machinery and conveyor belts in the right order to produce my new company’s first drug – I chose a headache cure – and also to name it, which is a fun touch.
Like their real life counterparts, these virtual pills have benefits but also side effects, and the job of the God-like player/pharma executive is to use all of the tools in the company’s arsenal to get the balance just right: maximising the positive effects and minimising the negative.
The gameplay is fairly simple, but rewarding; once you get a feel for creating drugs, it is really a question of upscaling the production and reinvesting the money into larger factories and better technologies to create new and more lucrative cures. It is satisfying to watch your virtual drug empire grow and the profits alongside it, while rival firms look on enviously.
But they will only do so if you get things right. The artificial intelligence pharma companies generated by the computer game are also constantly working on their own competing products to your drug blockbusters. If they do a better job of it, your sales will fall. The fact that you have to constantly adapt to their moves keeps the game challenging and adds incentive to keep playing. (Más)
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