Patrick Curry’s Thoughts on Game Design

« Game Idea #34: Gunslinger | Game Idea #36: Birthday Party! »

August 27th, 2006

Game Idea #35: Museum Madness

Back from Europe… had an amazing time, but whew am I tired. Here’s this week’s game idea!

High Concept:

In Museum Madness you are an up-and-coming museum curator. Your job is to collect, preserve, and present the world’s greatest collection of art. Start with a small gallery, and build your way up to a Mecca of fine art showing off real-life masterpieces.



Why it needs to be made:

There have been lots of games that teach something… math, science, history, and so on. But I’ve never played a game that sneakily taught art history before, and that’s a subject worth putting in a game.


On the surface Museum Madness is a simulation/tycoon game set in a museum. You control all aspects of your museum: the layout and architecture, the collection of art, and even the restrooms and gift shop. As the quality of your collection grows you have more donations and grant money to spend, which allows you to expand your museum, purchase additional works of art, and hire additional staff and security.

But you can’t just randomly mishmash all of the art together. The game features real-life masterpieces, so it’s important to understand the styles and schools of art, who the artists are/were, and the periods in which they worked. Group like pieces of art together in rooms and galleries to create points of interest in your museum, and arrange these rooms to have good flow without being too open and overwhelming.

Inside the game will be a full-on art encyclopedia, such that as new pieces of art come up for auction you can read all about them to see if they fit into your galleries or not. And of course you can take a walk through your own museum to enjoy the art and artifacts you’ve collected.

Why it will be fun:

Museum Madness combines the building and creation fun of a tycoon game with some serious collecting gameplay. Since every piece of art in the game is a real-life masterpiece, it will be fun to recognize pieces of art you’ll familiar with, but also to learn about new ones you might not have been exposed to before. And imagine how fun it would be to finally score Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, or Michelangelo’s David.

Final thoughts:

As you might have guessed, I really like museums. And with all the hype surrounding Leonardo these days, this kind of game just might take off!

11 Responses to “Game Idea #35: Museum Madness”

  1. patrick commented:
    posted August 29th, 2006 at 2:33 pm

    im really sorry that truly sounds whoreable and i cant see how it’d take off unless u tied directly to tha da vinci code

  2. Colm Mac commented:
    posted August 30th, 2006 at 1:33 pm

    There is one pretty snag I can see with this. It’s not really a game design issue but it would effect the design.

    It is of course Copyright. All the art of the Modern Period, those works created by Picasso, Dali and Matisse are covered. Impressionism is probably the last school of art you could cover, since Monet who died in 1926 falls just inside the watershed for public domain (I think. SteamBoat Willie was 1928 and is most definately under copyright).

    Otherwise I think this could be an amazing game. You could probably get funding from the European Union for it. And with that money would come a certain amount of respectibility when approaching the various National Museums in Europe to use the works within their collections. Would be nice to be buying the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. *grins*

  3. Scott Abrams commented:
    posted September 7th, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    I have been trying to contact various game developers to make this game for about 2 years. The game you describe is nearly identical to my “Museum Mogul” I’m sure Museum Tycoon would be stepping on some feet. I have gone so far as to begin learning to program myself so that this game could be made….I elaborate by including not just paintings but sculptures, works of literature, rare fossils, precious jewels…etc. The premise of the game is to choose a layout from the many famous museums around the world and like other tycoon games, decorate the place and fill it with exhibits that generate prestige which in turn generates more ticket sales at the door.

    I have outlined events such as patrons making donations, burglaries, group visits (focus groups and school kids) and opportunities to host super exhibits (King Tut’s treasure or The Crown Jewels etc.)
    The game has an administrative end wher eyou must manage the cash and artifact purchases as well as employ curators, maintenance, tour guides and security staff.

    God I want to play this game.

  4. Patrick commented:
    posted September 7th, 2006 at 8:20 pm

    “God I want to play this game.”

    Me too! :-)

  5. David Provost commented:
    posted September 12th, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    I was kind of meh about this idea until the line:

    And imagine how fun it would be to finally score Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, or Michelangelo’s David.

    Now THAT has some appeal. You could even include some measure of online multiplayer. From direct competition (there’s only so much grant money/visitors/masterpieces out there — and the only thing more fun than buying Michelangelo’s David would be buying it at your buddy’s bankruptcy sale) to more Spore-like non-interactional user-created content (visit/rate/critique other museums).

  6. Robert 'Groby' Blum commented:
    posted September 13th, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    Check if you can find an old game named (I think…) “Vermeer”. That’s pretty much the same idea, and quite nicely executed

  7. taylor commented:
    posted April 27th, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    were can i go to get the game it sounds so coo!!!!!

  8. Patrick commented:
    posted April 28th, 2007 at 12:34 am

    Also just an idea. But I’d still love to make this one. :-D

  9. Jenny commented:
    posted December 20th, 2007 at 6:41 pm

    I would like to see this game made as well! I am sooooo bored with the games being made today. What would make this game even better is to add the building/decorating ability of the Sims, employ astronauts to go to space and get stuff, archeaologists to dig stuff up, explorers to find stuff, and divers to go to the depths of the ocean to get stuff all for display or to sell. Also add some rides/shops like rollercoaster tycoon, some exhibits like zoo tycoon, and an auction house to buy and sell stuff. Combining all of the best features of the greatest simulation games! THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!!!! I would run right out and buy it!

  10. David Nickson commented:
    posted June 21st, 2008 at 5:33 am

    I came on this site with google, as I am looking for inspiration for my next game at the moment.
    Looking through your designs is very interesting, and Museum Madness is a great idea and great source for inspiration. Congratulations.

  11. just passin' thru commented:
    posted October 30th, 2008 at 3:59 am

    The Title’s already in use (since 1997’sh) - visit - search Museum Madness - sorry. (I actually came here because I’m stuck in the game - was looking for a hint re: Salem’s Witch Trials)… the game concept discussed above is good tho - just rename it.

    TIP: By the way - with all the game creation programs out there - there’s really no reason why you couldn’t bring your idea’s to frutition. Start with AGS (aka Big Blue Cup) created by Chris Jones.


« Game Idea #34: Gunslinger | Game Idea #36: Birthday Party! »

« Back to 52 Game Ideas

All original content and game designs © Copyright Patrick Curry, 1999-2013. All rights reserved.

MasterWorks VR: Monuments in Peril

FarCade: Jar Wars Multiplayer VR

Remote game industry jobs