Deceptively simple and genuinely fun, Sunnyside Games’ The Firm is an exercise in patience, timing and rhythm.
The Firm has players take on the role of a brand new employee at a stock brokerage firm. The goal of the game is, again, rather simple: swipe green and red stocks left or right, depending on whether they’re rising or falling in value, to earn money. Swipe incorrectly, and your workload increases exponentially. Oh, and the longer you play a round, the more quickly your workflow increases.
If you’re getting nervous sweats just thinking about the intense lifestyle of a high-powered stockbroker, know that your neuroses is warrant — The Firm is often anxiety-inducing.
Its arcade-style gameplay is quick-to-learn and easy-to-master, but the better you play, the more the game goes out of its way to empower you to fail. When you fail, there’s also the darkest of implications that your character might have jumped out of a window.
Don’t worry, there’s an entire line of young traders eagerly waiting at their chance to make money and make their name in the world of money.
Truth be told, there’s a metaphor here for the way the global economic model is designed to operate on a loss — the way it feeds on the ambition of would-be global imperialists itching at a chance to turn sweat into success.
Fret not, however, The Firm never makes a point of taking too obvious of a philosophical stance on the subject. On that subject of philosophy, the game’s loading screens often alternates between quotes — about power, money and the importance of making friends and influencing people — and facts about money. Did you know that 97 percent of all paper money contains traces of cocaine?
I’m not sure if that’s actually true, because having played The Firm almost non-stop for the past few days, I haven’t really had time to find out.