Friday Fun: Can You Save the American Mall? (The Video Game)

It's a free online video game, in retro 8-bit style. What could go wrong?
March 2, 2018, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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James Kirkikis

A big thanks to Alexandra Lange, who recently wrote a big feature on the future of user experience design at brick and mortar retail—specifically for malls. Along the way in an article that is definitely worth a click and read, Lange referenced a new online video game, created by Bloomberg (click here or below when you're ready to play the game) to make light of the challenges facing the American mall business. Several hours and a complete loss of productivity later, I am prepared to report on the game.

The game is called American Mall, and it sets you up in contemporary times, managing the challenges of owning a mall and juggling specious businesses propositions, tenants begging for cheaper rent, a sassy broker, gutter punks, and rats the size of dogs.

The point is not for this game to be easy. In fact, much like the Mini Metro game that also ruined our productivity for a season or two back in 2014, American Mall is designed for failure…to prove a point. You're either going to have an empty bank account or an empty mall eventually, so try to have fun along the way. The lessons of the game aren't terribly deep—risk can come from surprising sources and it can be surprisingly satisfying to zap away messes and rats to earn happiness points—and you'll have fun weighing the potential risks of some truly outlandish business propositions. When you're done, you're already online, so that will make it easy to order some new pillows online instead of going to the mall. I kid. I kid.

I never liked the mall anyway.

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Published on Friday, February 9, 2018 in Bloomberg
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