From 2010 to 2014 Richard Cobbett wrote Crapshoot, a column about rolling the dice to bring random games back into the light. This week... we knew I'd get around to a game called Toilet Tycoon eventually, didn't we? Let's dive in! Or, better yet, let's not do that.
As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to own a toilet empire. To me, that was better than being a Level 90 Paladin in World of Warcraft. To be a Toilet Tycoon was to own the world. It's like they say: if you want to be rich, find something no one can live without and you find a way to put a price-tag on it.
Sure, it may not be so glamorous, but from the poorest Joe to the highest King, when they really gotta go, they'll pay damn near anything to get that load off. Unless there's a wall nearby. Then, not so much. Any other time, though! Any other time, you get a person by their bladder, you grip 'em by that quivering organ, and there 'aint no limit to how hard you can squeeze. Not literally, mind. Not if you're smart. Definit'ly not if you're wearing new shoes.
Now I'm not saying my rise to Toilet Tycoon was easy, not even a little. I had to do all sorts just to get started, like trying to set up an empire in no fewer than three virtual machines—one that reckoned it couldn't find a mouse, one what figured jumping around like a crack-addled crazeball in need of a mighty piss was the best way to handle a cursor, and then one more that required so much poking and prodding to get Virtualbox working that I half reckoned it was time to switch careers and show off my Flightmare skills. Sadly, I then realised I'd rather stab my eyes out with a fork than try and take out motorbikes from two camera angles one more time, so here we are. But seriously, it was close.
So insteads, I found myself here in my office, scoping out my competition in the crap-handling industry. See, the Toilet Tycoon biz 'aint all shit and roses. Mostly, it 'aint even roses. There's competition for the porcelain throne, and not just a little! Just ask my arch-rivals, Butt Rogers and Flush Gordon, or maybe Mr. Methane, who forgot to bring a joke name to the party but never mind. Could've had John Carter. Just sitting there for the taking. Doctor Poo. Snake Pisskin. RoboCrap. 'Aint no shortage of names. But no, Mr. Methane it is, stinking up the joint like always.
Of course, all of them had to go down. They were rivals. Enemies. The kind of jerks that want to send you round the bend right when you figure you're flush with success. You know the kind. Assholes. And not the kind what spits out profits for Yours Truly.
Now, you might be wondering, what's a Toilet Tycoon when it's at home? And that's a good question, with many possible answers, from a guy what owns a crapper in every town district to one who turns enough shit into gold to make a cool million Euros. And it's no easy task, I can tell you. See, it's a big world out there, full of shops and houses and stuff, and every man, woman and child out there at some point is going to need the services of Yours Truly or someone of a similar suspicious brown stripe.
Thing is, before you can get to all that delicious slurry and liquid gold, you got to first own the means of exudation and that takes money. Five hundred Gs don't buy you shit. If you want to head straight for somewhere like the Red Light District rather than working your way up, it don't even buy you a shitter. And you have to be all business-like about other peoples' business. You get me?
That means starting off with just one toilet, and trust me, in this town they ain't cheap. If you're not quick on your feet, you're going to be standing in a pool of failure pretty quick. Red Light District offers a good start point, though shockingly they're not the cleanest of clients. You might figure to yourself "So? Who cares? Any potty in a storm, right?" And well, yeah, you'd think. Only it's not THAT far to walk to get to somewhere else where the seat carries less disease than Luscious Luci, and they know it.
Also, to start with, you don't have a toilet so much as a hole in the ground in the middle of a cubicle. You'd think the purveyors of a set of toilet cubicles might throw that stuff in gratis, but no, 'course not. It's up to you to plonk down the essentials, like the Buttman seats on which you stick bowls of anything from ceramic up to Emerald. You get to make the toilet of your dreams, and with the money, go buy yourself a kiss to build a dream on. Red Light District. Not far to wander, most likely.
Each toilet can be individually priced. Spend a Euro to spend a penny? That's my kinda conversion. And then the fun begins. Well, I say 'fun'. Really, more like great personal sadness as you look at what your life consists of, but hey. Pota-to, po-tah-to, am I right? I'm probably right. Figure I usually am.
Oh, but don't think it's a good clean fight or anything. No, if you want to be a Toilet Tycoon, you got to get your hands dirty. And when we talk dirty tricks in this business, they don't get much dirtier. See, there's a whole army of folks willing to take your grubby money to sabotage those pesky rivals, and we're not just talking a few quid to some drunk. These are Professionals. Professional vomiters with names like Barry Barf and Percy Puke, willing to cough up their guts if you cough up between 10–50,000 Euros.
Then there's Rumours. You know all those folks what sidle up to you in bars and say, all conspiratorial like, "Have you heard the toilets at the cinema are a real dive? Not like here. Here, there's only one guy keeps shitting in the sink?" Well, that might seem like random happenstance to you, but for folks in my line of work, it's 10,000 Euros well spent. Though I do worry about the spy-guy who keeps wanting to be paid. When a guy called "Dick Damage" wants five grand, but he's mine for just two, I gotta figure I'm not exactly hiring James Bond. It'd be another few grand just for John Glames.
Anyway, sabotage is a problem. Even if you don't care about the comfort of your crapping consumers, there's a Sanitary Board that at least pretends to, and if they wander in to find more poo on the floor than in the pipes, well, you can just figure yourself shit out of luck, friend. Of course, should you find your rivals are full of more crap than a warehouse full of Les Manley games, then a word in the right ear can be enough to show everyone the error of their ways. Unless they got the jump on you.
More positively, you can bowl rivals over by researching better technology, because there's a lotta untapped potential in toilet seats and bowls these days. You'd think stuffing 10,000 euros into seat design would end up with the kind of thing that sucked out the poop with vacuums, wiped up then sprayed the customer's anus with perfume, but no. Your scientists won't get out of bed for anything less, and even with that cash, the improvements aren't exciting.
Yeah. Life soon gets into something of a routine, you might say. Try pumping up prices to buy more toilets, keep things clean, keep up the research, sabotage your opponents, dream of being a better class of Tycoon. Beer Tycoon maybe. Zombie Tycoon. Or maybe one of them Pizza Tycoons, where the pizza parlour bit is mostly a cover for your true calling as a Mafia gangster of sorts. That'd be fun.
The real thing that'll get you down in the dumps though is this; whatever you do, it's Lady Luck pulling the real flush. From whether you get raided to how many new toys your rivals get, it's all numbers under the surface, so random that between turns there's an outright tombola where you may get 10 grand, or you may get a new toilet seat. You never get to feel like you're in charge of your own destiny, and when your destiny's to be a Toilet Tycoon, that's just sad.
It's almost like your life is just one big joke; some gag dreamed up by a couple of German guys who one day thought "Wouldn't it be funny if we made Toilet Tycoon?" and then actually did in fact make Toilet Tycoon. Or "Klomanager" if we want to be all accurate, like. There was even talk of a sequel, with an isometric view and resource management, 64 toilet pieces and a whole political system where you can rise from dealing with crap to just talking it by becoming a politician. Seems unlikely it'll ever actually happen, mind, what with the website last being updated some time in 2006. A week's a long time in politics. Almost a decade is an even longer time when you're waiting for a chance to poop.
But when you're actually up to your arms in the aftermath? About five minutes is probably enough. Ten, maybe. If you're as easily amused as a cat with a bit of string.