8-Bit Wolf – Remembering The NES Game Teaching Kids To Conquer Wall Street

Remember playing video games with your friends back in middle school? Which games did you guys play? Maybe it was Mass Effect, or Smash Bros, or Mario Kart. But for some reason, a game called Wall Street Kid for the NES stands out in my mind, and I’m not even sure why. My friend Russ and I were into JRPGs at the time, and this game had that element, but with an emphasis on accumulating wealth. Looking back, it’s a bit strange how much we enjoyed it.

The game, released in Japan in 1989 as The Money Game II: Kabutochou no Kiseki, and in North America the following year, revolves around proving your money management skills in order to inherit your wealthy uncle’s estate. You have one month to earn enough money in the stock market to buy a million-dollar home, with a few other major purchases along the way, including buying back the family castle. The gameplay involves buying and selling stocks based on the daily trends, and it’s easy to get sucked into the game’s cartoonish portrayal of the American dream.

But playing the game today, in the year 2023, feels weird. It’s hard to escape the feeling that the entire economy is built around doubling your money to buy material things. The game also includes some problematic elements, like a one-dimensional fiancée who is only there to be bought things, and the game’s focus on the accumulation of wealth at any cost.

Despite all of this, there is a sense of nostalgia when revisiting Wall Street Kid. It’s a game that feels like a window into what adults might have played back in the day, a caricature of the American dream. However, it’s also a reminder of how far we’ve come and how much attitudes towards wealth and investment have changed.

In today’s world, extreme wealth is not necessarily revered or celebrated the way it was in the 90s. While there are still those who admire the likes of Elon Musk, there is a growing sense that the rich should be doing more with their wealth, contributing to society in meaningful ways. It’s highly unlikely that a game like Wall Street Kid would be made today, at least not in its current form.

Looking back at the game, it’s easy to see how it could be updated for modern systems to include more nuance and complexity. However, it’s also clear that the material would have to be treated differently in light of the changing attitudes towards wealth and investment. Perhaps there could be a way to blend elements of Wall Street Kid with a more socially conscious message, resulting in a game that is both fun and thought-provoking.