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Casey Scheld ReviewsGame ReviewsPC Reviews

STONKS-9800: Stock Market Simulator Early Access Review

Today’s stock market may be topsy turvy, but it’s still alive and well in the world of video games with the upcoming Early Access release of TERNOX’s STONKS-9800. A text-based Japanese stock market sim, should players step back to a time of city vibes, PC-98 visuals, and massive profits?

STONKS-9800: Stock Market Simulator Early Access Review

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Kicking things off at the start of 1980, players take control of a businessman who lives and breathes stocks. With his assistant Amy at their side, it’s up to players to plan things out so they come out ahead. It’s not as simple as buying low and selling high, however; one must also keep one’s happiness, comfort, stress, and personal expenses in line, lest they end up in the hospital – or worse.

However, there is plenty players can do in STONKS-9800 to come out ahead. The exchange is open during regular business hours, and one can also short sell. One can also choose to adjust one’s personal expenses, and can also get “luxurious” cars like the Homda Turbo or a bigger pad to live the high life.

In a perfect world things would be that straightforward, but not in STONKS-9800. Rather, there is always something to keep in mind. Is there a new innovation from a company? Maybe your computer is on the fritz? Don’t forget about the pickpocket! As time progresses, there are a number of random occurrences that players must take note of, which requires even more budgeting and planning.

As a result, STONKS-9800 is like a supercharged VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action visual novel. Choices catch up to the player, but can be an absolutely thrilling feeling seeing the numbers go up, planning to go to the bar, or taking a gamble on some insider trading.

Each element is tied into factors like “public image,” “financial success,” “ethical conduct,” and “overall reputation,” leading to a system that’s not as clear cut as one would expect. As a result, no two playthroughs of its free mode are the same, ensuring a fresh and dynamic experience.

Just note that there’s not as much dialogue to speak of in STONKS-9800 – unless you want to increase your friendship level with Amy. That’s not necessarily a problem – the trade-off is that a great deal of control is tied to different milestones (good and bad) that one can reach.

Just note that since this is in Early Access, it is still under development. We had the title crash on us after a few months in-game passed, forcing us to start our run from square one. In addition, the story mode is not included as of this writing.

Taking players back to an age of city pop and vaporwave, STONKS-9800: Stock Market Simulator lives up to its title by providing a chill text-based experience with plenty of variables. There might not be much dialog to speak of, but there’s enough action to make sure players will always come out ahead.

[infobox style=’success’ static=’1′]This Early Access review of STONKS-9800: Stock Market Simulator was done on the PC. The contents in the article above are the thoughts and opinions of the editor on the date of publication. Early Access games evolve and change through development. A digital code was provided by the publisher.[/infobox]

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Casey Scheld

Casey Scheld has more than 15 years of experience in the gaming industry as a community manager, social media director, event specialist, and (of course) gaming editor. He has previously worked with gaming start-ups like Raptr, publishers like Konami, and roller derby girls at PAX West (check out Jam City Rollergirls)! Gamers Heroes is a passion project for him, giving him a chance to tap into the underground side of gaming. He is all too eager to give these lesser-known heroes of the indie space the attention they so rightly deserve, seeking out the next gem and sharing it with the world. Previously making appearances at events like CES, GDC, and (the late) E3, he is all too happy to seek out the next big thing. For those that want to talk shop, send over a tip, or get an easy win in a fighting game of their choosing, be sure to check out his social media channels below.

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