It’s odd that a game like Recettear is my office distraction of choice. It’s the story of an item shop owner in a high fantasy setting, the sort you meet in RPG’s like Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy. The game’s protagonist, Recette, has to pay off a large debt incurred by her estranged father. With the help of Tear, the loan officer fairy, she starts an item shop selling to the various people and adventurers about town. In this game, I get to take a break from working on products and dealing with clients so I can work with different products and deal with different clients.
Granted, business in Recettear is a lot easier than in real life. Everything is bright and cheery. Marketing is all handled for you, and people just wander in to your shop. All you have to worry about from your competition is the occasional trash talk and maniacal laughter. Your customers pay you in a sparkly tornado of coins. I wish my clients paid me in coin tornados. It would probably make a mess, though.
If you have kids, I would say Recettear is the best way to teach them how to run a business. Unlike those myriad of tycoon games, your customers aren’t simply a bunch of faceless little avatars. They react emotionally to how you treat them, all in their full-screen saucer-eyed glory. Some of them even have back-stories, and the better relationship you have with them, the more of the game you get to see.
So check out Recettear if you want a decidedly adorable introduction to the world of retail. The game can be found on Steam or other fine download services.