From tending vineyards during a coffee break to spending an evening ‘working’ in the cellar, creators of the Hundred Days winemaking game hope to bring wine lovers closer to the action.
Devised by Broken Arms Games and published by Pixmain, a mobile version of Hundred Days has been officially launched today (13 October) for iOS (iPhone) and Android via the App Store and Google Play Store.
Players are transported to the rolling hills of Piedmont, where the game is set, to begin their virtual project, although there are plans to launch a Napa Valley-based version and possibly a Bordeaux version in future.
While the game taps into that long-held wine lover’s dream of owning a vineyard, Broken Arms also sees it as educational.
‘There are a lot of people who would like to know more about wine and they don’t know where to start,’ said Broken Arms co-founder Yves Hohler, explaining that Hundred Days was designed to make the winemaking process more accessible.
‘The end goal of the game is democratise wine talk,’ said Hohler, who moved to Piedmont aged five when his parents bought a house with a few hectares of vines and embarked on a real-life winemaking adventure – despite having ‘no idea how to produce wine’.
With an official launch price in US dollars of $5.99, Hundred Days was available on the App Store for £4.99 in the UK.
In the game, players are able to start with a small vineyard and move through the key steps of grape-growing and winemaking before also thinking about how to market and sell their prized bottles, according to Broken Arms.
‘It’s turn-based, so there is no time pressure,’ Hohler told Decanter. ‘You can just jump in, make a turn, save it and reboot it later.’
He said that the team attempted to strike a balance between the scientific nature of producing wine and releasing a game that is fun to play.
There is a built-in climate system that can throw up extreme weather, such as hailstorms or heatwaves. ‘People hate this part,’ said Hohler jokingly, although he added the game takes a ‘soft’ approach by not wiping out a player’s potential harvest if it hails.
A ‘story mode’ acts almost like a tutorial, while an ‘endless mode’ allows players to experiment with their own project for as long as they wish.
‘And there is a challenge mode, where you have a certain set of rules and you have to prove yourself,’ said Hohler. ‘[For example] you have 200 turns and you have to do a perfect Barbera or something like that.’
One player reported that they had gone out and bought a Barbera wine for the first time after making one virtually in the game, he added.
Hundred Days is a fusion of Hohler’s passions. He attended winemaking school in Alba alongside members of famous winemaking families but subsequently studied computer science at university, where he met his business partner.
At university he created his first wine video game called ‘cork man’, which he described as ‘a Champagne cork with legs that was jumping around.’ He added, ‘We never released it because it was really bad.’
Recent years have also seen Hohler take on the legacy of his parents’ winemaking venture. He has started to produce his own Barbera wine, making around 2,000 bottles after being offered a spare tank at an old school friend’s winery.
Alongside this, he has been slowly rebuilding the family vineyard operation. ‘It will be a long process,’ he said.
Broken Arms said Hundred Days would be available in nine different languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Russian and Chinese.