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Tiny Tower is Evil

It wasn’t long ago when I was lazily browsing the app store on my iPod Touch and found an interesting little game by the name of Tiny Tower. It’s a game that gives players a small building to work with that will steadily become larger as more floors are built, eventually becoming a towering skyscraper. I was intrigued by the idea of managing the tower and the citizens inside (referred to as “Bitizens”) in a way similar to The Sims…or so I thought. What I got was a game that was more similar to Farmville than The Sims. And that scares the crap out of me.

After “playing” this game for a couple of days, I can safely say that this game is pure evil and I will be severing all ties with it as soon as possible. Why not now? Well, I slipped up and allowed myself to become…invested in it, which I’ll elaborate on in time, for now, allow me to focus on why this game is pure evil and why you should avoid it like the plague.

My earlier comparison to Farmville isn’t one I can back up with experience. Fortunately, I have managed to steer clear of that little time and money sink, despite the many thinly veiled ads have appeared on my wall and in my inbox masquerading as free in game items and bonuses for playing it. So the comparisons I make from here on will be based on what I have read of the game. I still have yet to see it in motion and, if at all possible, I intend to keep it that way. While not entirely similar to Farmville, the folks at NimbleBit have employed a number of Zynga’s diabolical tricks. Let’s go through them with a nice list shall we?

1. Tiny Tower is “free to play”

Yep, Tiny Tower is a free download to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and you do not have to pay a dime to play it. You don’t even have to cough up for the best benefits and bonuses. Everything in the game (as far as I know) can be obtained without spending a cent. So what’s the problem?

Spend enough time with the game and you will end up paying, which brings me to number 2…

2. You have to keep coming back

Tiny Tower is built around the idea of running several establishments you build on each floor of your tower, ranging from Coffee shops to Planetariums and Shoe Stores to Laundromats by giving your Bitizens jobs. Up to three Bitizens can be employed at any one business and having all three positions filled is the only way to access the full range of three goods and/or services your store sells, at different price points which earns you coins, one of Tiny Tower’s currencies. There’s a “stats” option in the menu which shows how many sales per minute your tower is doing and which types of businesses are in demand which gives you a general idea of what you should be building next to maximize the number of sales you make.

Herein lies the way Tiny Tower gets you hooked. Each store can stock three goods and services at a time. Once stock runs out, you’ll have to restock for a certain amount of coins and…time. Much like Farmville allows you to plant crops and gives you a set amount of time to wait until they’re ready to be harvested; Tiny Tower gives you a set amount of time to wait until your item is ready to be restocked. But…if you’re impatient and don’t feel like waiting…you can tell the game to “hurry”… for a small fee of the second of Tiny Tower’s currencies…

3. Tower Bux (AKA Microtransaction bait)

Tower Bux are a currency independent of coins that you receive for performing various tasks. By adding a new floor to your tower, you receive a complimentary Tower Bux (yes, it’s used the same either singular or plural) and for doing other mundane tasks. Occasionally you’ll be asked to find a certain Bitizen in your tower and will receive a Tower Bux “for your trouble”. Outside of that, the only other free way to obtain Tower Bux is by taking Bitizens to whatever floor they request in the annoyingly slow elevator (unless you upgrade it by paying Tower Bux of course). When they get off they’ll tip you some coins and OCCASIONALLY give you one Tower Bux.

So, if you want the game to hurry up (and eventually, you will), the piddly amount of Tower Bux you receive for free ain’t gonna cut it. But fret not, NimbleBit has you covered! In the menu, there’s an option to “Get Bux” where you can purchase more Tower Bux in quantities of 10, 100 and 1,000 for $1, $5 and $30 respectively.

Remember how I said I was “invested” in the game? This is how. In a moment of what I can only believe was temporary insanity, I purchased $1 worth of Tower Bux. Of course, I went through them rather quickly…and then I bought another $5 worth of Tower Bux. Again…I must have lost my mind which caused me to believe this purchase would last me for quite a while.

Two days. That’s how long they lasted.

I’m impatient. If I download a game and load it, I want to be entertained now, not later. Of course, Tiny Tower was more than happy to oblige me and took my Tower Bux in exchange for speeding things up. And then it hit me. This isn’t a game. This is little more than a Skinner Box that was moments away from trapping me in its evil clutches. I realized something very important at a critical moment in my time with Tiny Tower.

I wasn’t playing a game. Not really. The game was playing me.

From that moment. As soon as I made my purchase for $5 worth of Tower Bux, I knew I’d made a mistake. I knew I was allowing the game to get its claws into me and that soon enough; I’d probably end up addicted. So, I made a promise that as soon as my Tower Bux were gone, I’d delete the game from my iPod and never play it again and I’ve kept that promise. The app has since been removed from my iPod and the backup stored on my computer has been deposited into the Recycle Bin and done away with…permanently.

There you have it folks Several reasons why you should not play this game. Avoid it. If you’re “playing” Farmville, cut ties with that game too. Don’t even download Tiny Tower out of some sick masochistic sense of curiosity. Trust me…it’s not worth it. I lost $6 to this game but I don’t feel too bad about it. Truthfully, I’m just happy I didn’t end up sinking any more money into this evil…evil game.

About Justin McBride

My name is Justin McBride and I’m a guy who enjoys writing, playing games and writing about playing games. Sound lame enough yet? Well, I have other interests as well such as hanging out with friends, watching TV, going to the movies from time to time, surfing the internet, listen to good music, drive at speeds I shouldn’t be driving at and so on. The problem is, that’s all stuff everyone likes to do, so why write about it? Oh wait, seems I just did. Oops.

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  • Tower Bux

    You are already mine, you just don’t know it yet.

  • A Bitizen

    Hehe… I saw a dov today!
    @Tower Bux your comment made me LOL! 😛
    ” Tower Bux
    You are already mine, you just don’t know it yet. “

  • Raxal

    Quit trolling. I have that game and I have 27 floors without investing a dime of money into it. You are just too impatient. That is YOUR problem, don’t blame the game.

  • Perhaps you and I are different. When I play a game (yes, even a free one), I don’t want to have to wait for my entertainment. I’m an “in the moment” kind of guy.

  • Patricio

    I really think you have a problem and a visit to the doctor is a must.

  • I’m with @Raxal. If you are the kind of person who wants instant gratification, this isn’t the game for you.

    That doesn’t make it evil. any more than being the person who absolutely has to be in the VIP section of the club, or in the Speedy Boarding queue on Easyjet, or drinking Cristal Champagne not Cava.

  • oldschool

    does anyone remember a game JUST like this used to be available for pc. I really cant recall the name but it was exactly like this, building a tower and placing retail locations and what not in the tower. If someone remembers the old pc game this came from please let me know! id love to find it again

  • st

    You’re likely thinking of SimTower.

  • w

    I have built 103 floors. I haven’t spent any money. But does anyone know the limit of floors to say you finished? Thanks

  • LesPaul

    Dear Pal,

    You are on the wrong path. The game is not evil at all. On the contrary, it is very generous to be honest.

    Today I am going to build my 121st floor, and I didn’t spend even a DIME for buying tower bux till now!

    And guess what, I am using tower bux to hurry all my constructions, I didn’t wait a second for any of my constructions. Right now, it requires 60 tower bux to hurry the construction of a single new floor. Let’s say I have spent 20 for each of my floors on the average. This results in 120×20 = 2400 tower bux.

    Moreover, I have the best elevator available (infini-light speed). Only that single elevator costs 499 tower bux, not to mention the 125 tower bux needed to buy the previous one.

    Not finished yet, from time to time I also use tower bux for hurrying the bitizens to move in newly built apartments. I have 225 bitizens right now. I’m sure I must have spent at least 50 till now.

    Finished? No, not yet actually. Nearly all of my stores are level 2 right now, and that means another 222 tower bux for 74 stores (3 tower bux for upgrading each).

    To sum up, I have used at least 2400+499+125+50+222=3296 tower bux till now by not even spending a DIME!.. That costs at least 104,94 dollars if you were to purchase them.

    Result: The game is the most GENEROUS game I have ever known. If you want to speed things up, the game still allows you to do it for free. If you were not able to achieve it, it is your problem, not the game’s.

    PS: I’m not a nimblebit employee at all. If you have any doubts on that contact me and I can provide you any proof you want on that.


  • Blowfishius

    Dude, You Are A VERY Strange Person!
    This Is Just A GAME!

  • Tommy

    Your a noob! I got the best elevator with out spending any money! And for the waiting time of the restock, you can do a lots of things while waiting. You can’t just watch on it the whole time. Come on men!

  • Towerdestroyer

    I get this article…. I wasn’t spending money but within a few days i was obsessed constantly having to restock it drove me crazyyyy!!!! and the push notifications ding ding ding why not ding right off!!!!!!!! I couldn’t even have dinner with friends or watch a film without restocking and building… I had to destroy and delete my 14 storey tower and now I feel free again….. I would never touch this game again it’s an evil crazy maker!!!!!! Designed to get you hooked!!!

  • Dim

    This is a rare game that actually gives you bonus cash unlike farmville where you have to spend to get heaps. Try completing some missions to get a nice amount of tower bux or just be patient.

  • Fermax

    Think of it like growing a flower… If you water it a little bit each day, the flower will eventually grow.

    But throwing a bucket of water on it doesn’t make it grow any faster. Unless you purchase Tower Bux.

    So, just be patient and enjoy your tower growing. Visit it 2-3 times a day and you’ll get things ticking over just fine. Play some other games in the meantime.

  • Tiny Tower Bux

    U can just do missions to get tower bux -_- and u can change the time to get coins faster -_- or just be patient

  • Eric Jiminez

    This game is beyond evil. Lock up your wives, your sisters, your daughters, cause it’s raping everybody!!

  • lolgayfag99

    dude, seriously?! tiny tower is evil?! that is bullshit you are talking about.I may be impatient to want for the deliveries but I am still patient enough to wait for the blue sign so that I could make tower bux.BUT, unlike you, I save the bux up together me more stuff!!!! In the end, I have a 15 level high tower in just 4 days but I bet you took a week just to get to whichever level you stopped at.seriously, don’t have any tactics for the game SHUT THE FUCK UP AND STOP SAYING THAT SOME RANDOM GAME IS EVIL! MORE LIKELY YOUR THE ONE WHO IS!!!GET A LIVE ASSHOLE!!EPIC FAIL RETARD.>-<

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  • Christina Nettles

    I’ve been playing for months and I, not once, ever bought anything in this game. Only thing I ever did was exchanged Tower but for coins. Tiny Tower is a relaxing game that doesn’t have time extensive missions and that you can do on your own time. It’s fairly easy to gain enough tower bux to upgrade your tower or anything in the game to where you don’t have to spend actual money. That was a personal decision to spend money in the game. This game is in no way evil, as you say.