I can't remember where I first heard of Fortune Street, but I was hooked immediately by the premise. It's a Monopoly-style board game where you buy up property, and try to dominate each section of the board by owning all the shops there. You even charge people if they land on your space, and can make the rent go up by pumping money into a property. The one real difference here is that stocks play a major role. If you buy a lot of stock in your district before investing money into it, your stock price will go through the roof. Alternatively, if you can buy stocks in a competitor's district before they invest, they have to decide between helping both of you or abandoning that district. Or, if one player has all their money tied up in stocks, you can buy out property from under them, tanking that district's stock price and ruining them. I'm a huge Mario Party fan and this basically sounded like a grown-up version of it, with some of the randomness reduced and more strategy involved.
It didn't exactly work out like I hoped. I could only find one friend who was willing to trade Mario- and Dragon Quest-themed stocks with me, so we decided to try the single-player mode. That began a nearly decade-long quest to conquer one of the most frustrating games I've ever played. The deck is stacked against the player hard in Fortune Street, to the point where I’m convinced that the AI flat out cheats. That may sound like sour grapes, but it’s hard not to think after you’ve seen Bianca make a boneheaded trade to Mario to hand him the win, or Bowser Jr. bumble through Dragonlord’s district, handing him thousands of dollars, while deftly sidestepping every trap you have set for him. When you’re in a race with the AI, suddenly you’ll be rolling all ones, while they’re rolling eights. I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t experienced it, and I know there’s no point in a developer rigging the game against their players, but I’ll always be convinced that’s the truth.
But that only steeled us further. We were the underdog, virtuous warriors fighting to beat an unjust system. Like any cheater, we couldn’t let the game get away with what it was doing. It took a long time, and it was exhausting work, but it’s oddly one of the most satisfying notches in my gaming belt.
Games are weird like that. Due to their interactive nature, they challenge us directly in ways that other media can’t. If the insult is personal enough, you can get drawn into a ludicrous grudge with a children’s game. I’ve been thinking a lot about my Fortune Street experience lately, so I wanted to pose the question to the GBAtemp community: do you guys have any games like this? Ones that you know are bad, but for whatever reason, you just need to force yourself to beat anyway?