What can a video game possibly teach you about running a business? For one thing, it can teach you to read up on the rules of the game. The first time I played Monte Cristo Multimedia's Start Up 2000 ($29.99, www.montecristogames.com), I didn't bother reading the in-struction manual. About 15 minutes into the game (after making what I thought were some pretty smart decisions), I saw my virtual business go up in smoke. So I tried again-same outcome. This is what happens in real business if you don't do your research, only in real life you lose real money.
Start Up 2000 allows you to control every aspect of business you would have to deal with in a real company, from deciding on the quality and price of the parts in your product to hiring and firing employees based on their performance. The start center is your virtual office and allows you to read updated reports on the company as well as receive up-to-the-minute news reports of the events that affect your business and your industry. You can customize the logo and company name and choose between three high-tech industries.
And just because it's a game doesn't mean it won't make you deal with real variables, like being the victim of a hostile takeover or being cheated by the "Vulture Capitalists" that funded you. You're also competing with other high-tech start-ups in the same field, so you have to maintain your cutting edge. I never did make it past the first 15 minutes . . . guess that's why I just write about technology.