Now here's a kinda unmissable pitch for a game: "Sortasoft today announced the immediate availability of their new [PC] action/puzzle game Retro Records. See what it takes to run a record store in the era of iPods and digital downloads!" Yep, it's totally a Nick Hornby casual game simulator, circa High Fidelity.
Here's the exact blurb: "In Retro Records, you have inherited a disorderly record store and must rummage through classic vinyl albums to prepare them for sale. Retro Records blends simple and addictive gameplay with indie record store aesthetics. As players collect more albums, they unlock turntables, gold and platinum records, and other upgrades. Players also get to take a breather once in a while and test their memory in bonus rounds. It's fast paced analog action with a funky soundtrack to groove to...just don't break too many records!"
What's more: "Retro Records features over 200 classic jazz, rock, hip hop, reggae, country, classical, techno and disco records. With the help of Oliver, the record store clerk, players can collect over 20 unique rare records to show off on their store shelves. If you want to personalize your store, Customize Albums mode allows you to add any of your own favorite classic albums [using Amazon.com and a Listmania account!]."
Anyhow, there's a free demo of Retro Records available, but I caught up with Sortasoft's indie creator Joshua DeBonis, and asked him a couple of slightly flippant questions about it:
Q: Are you hoping that the Nick Hornby-style obsessive record collectors will play this game?
A: Sure I am, but I'm not trying to specifically target that crowd. Everybody loves music, so I'm aiming for a wide audience! People who grew up with records are nostalgic about them, and the younger post-vinyl crowd is intrigued.
Q: 2. Are you one yourself?
A: I love music, and I do have a modest record collection, but I'm certainly not obsessive. I just buy records that I want to listen to. If anything, I'm the opposite. Usually I just leave my albums lying around in complete disarray. Every couple of months I have to spend a few hours putting everything back in the correct jackets. This "activity" was definitely a major inspiration for the game.
Q: What's the top 3 favorite stupidly collectible records that you own?
A: I only own one stupidly collectible record, and your audience should appreciate this... which is a 7" of De La Soul featuring Parappa the Rapper doing "I Gotta Believe".
So my other two are just a couple of my favorite records. You can find both of these in the game.
Go by Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon has been a huge influence on me musically (as a tenor saxophonist). I've studied this record inside and out, and at least at one time I could play along with the entire thing note for note.
Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
Aside from being wonderful to listen to, this was the first record I ever bought. It also reminds me of my older brother who introduced me to Pink Floyd.
Q: 4. A lot of casual games seem to be female-aimed nowadays, yours is... the inverse! How come?
A: I just make games that I personally want to play. However I've found that women seem to enjoy Retro Records as much as men. My girlfriend loves the game, or at least she did until I made her playtest it for the 400th time.