Or I guess I'm just making a killing in the music industry. I'm playing Recordshop Tycoon, a Flash game that lets me run a series of record stores. I buy and sell records to little Sim-like people. Every time I tweak the formula a little better, I make more money and can expand my record store, until my cute little urban shop is a big ugly music warehouse.

While the plotline of this game isn't much more advanced than FarmVille, the number-tweaking gameplay will appeal to casual simulation fans of Lemonade Tycoon and the classic Gazillionaire. But a single screenshot that will consume much of the player's time shows a slick user interface that keeps the process entertaining, not grueling.There are three main phases of gameplay: Office mode (shown above), where you buy stock (shown below), set prices and track your results; building mode, where you lay out your shop; and daily mode, where you let customers into the shop and see how customers respond to your stock mix, store layout, marketing and prices. Every now and then, you can move to a bigger record store with richer customers.

Recordshop Tycoon stock


Unfortunately, there's not much competition or chance for failure – one of the unfortunate similarities between this and FarmVille, which I sincerely believe is the worst game ever widely released. Unless you care about landing on the timed leaderboard, there's no reason you can't just play this game very badly and eventually still end up "winning" by buying and filling up the biggest record store.

And once you do this, there's no further goal. After that, you can move back into a smaller store, but you can't run a chain. This is a picture of success:

Recordshop Tycoon shop layout


But working my way up to that giant store was addicting, in the most basic behaviorally psychological way. And the developer has been tweaking this game in response to comments on Kongregate. So here's hoping that in the future, Recordshop Tycoon delivers an end-game as satisfying as the clicking and finessing that gets you there.