The Biz | Retro Gamer Club Feature

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The Biz | Retro Gamer Club Feature

This is one for people who began playing games a long time ago. The Biz is a music game in which you create a band, name a rival, and then head out to make some music and, more importantly, money. It’s also entirely text based and might be one of the best band-management games ever made.

A little history, perhaps. The Biz was created by Chris Sievey, lead singer of the Freshies. They had a hit with “I’m in Love With the Girl at a Certain Manchester Megastore Checkout Desk.”

Sievey would later go on to create and play Frank Sidebottom, novelty act and semi-amusing comedian. Why not?

Sievey unfortunately died of cancer earlier this year.

The Biz encompasses everything a music career would. Drugs, clothes, showing off and, when remembered, making music. You can deal with music companies or head out on your own. The former will give you a cut of the profits, the latter will allow you to take all the money but – obviously – it’s likely to sell a lot less.

My rival, Joe Ryan, had his own band which he was rather proud of. And apparently, our drummer was impressed because he left our band and joined his.

The game works by connecting together a series of scripted events and data management that has you controlling the bands finances and skills. Play lots of gigs, you’ll earn lots of money but expect your bands skills to stagnate without rehearsal. For what is a surprisingly deep game, there are very few screens. The standard page includes all your band’s stats and, at the bottom, urges you to press X. Pressing X brings up the band options menu, from here you can record a new single, pay for advertising, visit your manager or try to get a record deal.

Each option has it’s own menu, usually consisting of a message to you and “Press (button) when done”.

Once you’ve played around to your hearts content, you begin the week and are asked which gigs you wish to play. Gigs start off small but as your fanbase and popularity rises, so does the quality of venue offered – not to mention the money increase.

While it isn’t a very complicated game, it’s easy to get into it. I jumped into the game to get these pictures a few weeks ago and ended up playing for about 5 hours. It didn’t help that Joe kept rubbing his success in my face.

Nope, I have no idea what the meaning behind ‘Thwat’ is, but apparently it’s good.

I must admit, my own band didn’t do terribly well. ‘Kotick’ as we were called, barely touched those heights of fame and fortune despite our excellent progressive rock sounds and catchy titles.

Who can compete with Heroes?

Our next single, DLC, sold well but wasn’t popular with our biggest fans.

The Biz is an old game now, released during the early 80′s. If you know it, you’re either old and groovy or young and lucky (like me). It’s widely available online with a little bit of work (In fact, I believe somebody was working on a PC remake). I suggest playing it, if you can. I also suggest watching out for groupies with gifts.

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