Unlimited Inventory – M.U.D. Tv
Okay. I’m going to get this out the way right away. M.U.D. Tv is one of the most wretched, abhorrent and just plain tedious games I have ever played. For a game that appears to have gone so far out of the way of contemporary conventions in management simulations to ape a forgotten amiga classic how does it get everything so wrong?
M.U.D. TV (Mad, Ugly, Dirty Television), from Kalypso Media who brought us the Tropico series, is an odd game. Visually you’d expect it to play like a classic bullfrog game, where you control a ghostly hand laying blueprints from new rooms and producing content to broadcast on your station, but strangely you control a single character. This singular character control method is an unashamed tribute to oft forgotten Amiga gem.
Said forgotten gem is MAD TV. A game from long since absorbed German developer Rainbow Arts. MAD Tv, in it’s day didn’t pull up any trees or be lavished with awards and critical praise. But it’s fondly remembered, if only in my household. It appears that it’s more fondly remembered than I first thought, there is a lovingly recreated browser version – Mad TV Online
MAD TV - It’s a simple game of plate spinning.
1. Produce a programme people want to watch.
2. Match advertising segments with relevant content.
3. Make sure enough people watch to ensure the advertiser is happy.
As you repeat you acquire money to buy more populist programmes to satisfy more and more lofty advertising targets. However underlying this whole advertising puppet show is the games true goal, and that goal is the love of Betty. Betty, a cultural reporter on the top floor, is an uncomplicated woman. She likes big things. Big gifts, big viewing figures and big reputations. It’s this reputations criteria that keeps the whole game alive. You can’t simply buy Betty’s love with fur coats and diamond rings. You need to keep viewing figures high, advertisers happy and broadcast her favourite programs.
Maddening. Unstable. Dull. Television
It is this simple nuance between strategy and love story that keeps MAD TV so entertaining. That sort nuance is severely lacking in M.U.D. Tv. For the most M.U.D. Tv plays it straight. You have a goal, you achieve said goal, you move onto the next level. It is too simple for it’s own good. It’s that simplicity that makes the game generally laborious and uninteresting as a whole. I have no issue with a small amount of repetitive grinding in any game. You’ll play for an hour and you’ve pretty much seen all the game has to offer. That hour of gameplay will then be repeated, repeated and repeated at tedium. You can’t even say M.U.D. Tv is a one trick pony. What it does it doesn’t even do well. The interface in cumbersome to the extent that navigation is puzzling, Iconography isn’t consistent and one of the games key components appears to have been utilized just to elongate gameplay and make you click a couple of extra times.
The patience required to beat the tedium and repetitiveness of M.U.D. Tv just isn’t worth the time or effort. Once you understand the knack of satisfying the advertisers even the most difficult of scenarios are beatable.
Devoid of fun, bereaved of character and lacking few, if any, redeeming qualities. Avoid at all costs.