Take on the NES Library

An 8-bit Extravaganza!

#125 – Wall Street Kid

Get ready to continue the adventure of your lifetime.

Featuring over a dozen characters!

To Beat: Reach the ending
Played: 5/7/19 – 5/12/19
Difficulty: 4/10
My Difficulty: 4/10
My Video: Wall Street Kid Ending

Sometimes I wonder how a game gets greenlit as a concept and makes its way to store shelves. Wall Street Kid is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a stock trading game. How did this game ever come to fruition? Why did someone think this was a good idea? Who is the target audience for this game? Kids probably aren’t interested in stock trading, and why would an adult play a game about a kid getting into the stock market? I don’t think I’ll ever understand how this game was made and put on an NES cartridge, but here we are. It’s a real game, I’ve played and beaten it, so now I get to share it with you.

The history of Wall Street Kid begins with The Money Game, an August 1988 Famicom title published and developed by SOFEL. It must have performed well because a sequel came out the following year. Money Game II: Kabutochou no Kiseki was released in Japan in December 1989. This game was localized in North America as Wall Street Kid. It was released on NES in June 1990. The game was also both developed and published by SOFEL.

You play the role of the Wall Street Kid in this game. Of course. You are set to inherit billions of dollars under the condition that you prove you know how to manage wealth and uphold the family’s standard of living. You start off with half a million dollars in seed money that you must invest in order to spend it on certain expensive items over the course of four months. Basically, you buy and sell stocks strategically to make a profit. There is an overarching story you follow that guides you through the purchases you are required to make and the life events you experience over those four months. If you meet all the requirements through that time frame, then you inherit the big money and win the game.

Just a normal day at my desk.

This game is set up as a point-and-click adventure game. The game begins on a Monday of the first week of April as shown as you sit at your desk. Just by sitting there, time slowly advances 15 minutes at a time. Your business day is from 9am-5pm. You can perform various interactions by moving a cursor around your desk and clicking on objects to do different things. Just move the D-pad around and press A to interact. At the top of the screen you see how much cash you have on hand as well as how much money your stock portfolio is worth. The lower part of the screen is for dialog that occurs when you receive phone calls or do some reading. Each interaction and event eat into a little bit of your allotted time. As soon as 5pm hits, you go straight to the next day.

Every day starts with reading the newspaper. You will want to pay close attention to the news as it gives you clues on how the stock market might perform. The paper tells you about where interest rates are moving, which types of stocks are poised to grow, which specific stocks have been hot lately, and other news about what is going on in the community. All this information is needed to help you make good decisions during your business day.

Most of the icons on your desk let you perform an action. I’ll start with the pink icons on the screen. The dollar icon lets you visit the bank. Ruth, the banker, lets you make loans or pay off loans. This option is not helpful right away because you cannot take out a loan without having collateral and you don’t have any because you haven’t made any big purchases yet. The question mark icon sends you over to the consultant Stanley. For a small fee, he will give you generic advice about stocks, how to purchase them, how to make decisions, etc. This might be nice to do once just to get a feel for how to play the game. The exclamation mark connects you to your advisor, Connie. If she has a hot stock tip for you this day, you can pay her some money to hear it. This tip may or may not be helpful to you and you may have to read into it a little bit to figure out if it is for real or not. Finally, the pink clock at the top lets you finish your day immediately.

You can hang out with your girlfriend instead of making money.

There are two other factors you have to consider while playing the game. First, you have to keep up communication and go out on dates with your girlfriend, Prisila. Click the flower pot icon to choose between going on a picnic, going shopping, or going to the carnival. Each event takes up a few hours of your time. Secondly, you have to keep yourself in good physical shape by exercising. The icon you need looks like a small computer or cell phone, but evidently it is a barometer. Click the barometer to choose between swimming, hitting the gym, or going hiking. You have to keep up with both your girlfriend and your health regularly during the game, otherwise you may lose the game outright due to neglect. It’s not enough in this world just to earn money. You also need to consider what you read in the news to decide which activity to do.

The meat of the game is in stock trading which you can do from your desktop computer. From here you can buy or sell stocks, view your portfolio, and look up information on each available stock. Your portfolio view shows which stocks you own, their current price, starting price from when you purchased it, and how many lots of 1000 you own of that stock. You can only have up to five stocks in your portfolio, including multiple records of the same stock if you purchased them at different times. Selling stocks uses the same portfolio view so you can select which stock and how many lots you wish to sell.

When choosing to buy stocks or view stocks, you bring up a separate screen listing all twenty stocks available to purchase. Here you can see the company name, the current value, and the percentage change of the value of the stock since yesterday. You can tell the development team was really creative with their fictitious companies. Buying stocks is just like selling stocks where you choose the one you want and how many lots you want to buy. The game will calculate the maximum number you can purchase with your current cash. The information screen shows data about the company, the current stock value compared with its initial value from the very start of the game, and the category of stock. There are four stock categories: Blue chip, cyclical, growth, and speculative. There are five stocks in each category.

Who knew YBM was so valuable?

Very early in the game, you receive a phone call from a real estate agent that has the perfect house for you costing a million dollars. He will first call you to let you know the house is getting prepped for sale, then he calls you every week asking if you are ready to buy the house on Saturday. You can choose to accept early or you can keep putting it off a week at a time for a month until you get your last chance to buy. Use the business days Monday through Friday to do your stock trading so that you can earn money toward your big purchase. Sometimes you will get a call from Prisila asking you to buy her something on Saturday. There is no business on Saturday so that is the only thing you will do. For whatever you are buying, you get two different options in price and a third option to not buy at all. I always made sure to buy the most expensive thing. I imagine you can get away with not buying anything a couple of times but that it eventually affects your relationship, so you should try and give her the best as often as possible.

Sunday is reserved for giving you a password. I’m giving this special recognition here because this is a candidate for the worst password in any game I’ve ever played. Passwords are at least 40 characters long, usually mine were 42-43 characters long. The character set is awful. You have numbers 0-9, capital letters A-Z, and capital letters again from A-Z but in reverse colors. Normal letters are white text on black background while the others are white squares with black character text. There are also a couple of punctuation marks in that reverse color. It is truly terrible. Nowadays, since I use my camera to take a picture of the screen to save passwords, it is not that bad. Imagine trying to write that down on paper, though. There is a lot of room here to make a mistake with the password, both in writing it down and entering it in on the screen. You can hold Select and press either A or B to move the password cursor around in case you make a mistake, which will probably happen. On top of everything else, once you get the correct password entered, there is a long loading time for the game to start up. I get that there is a lot of data involved that needs to be parsed out of the password, but still this is a bad, error-prone system that could have been made a bit better with some better characters.

Everyone wants to talk to you all the time.

Once you get to where you are forced to decide on buying the house, one of two things will happen. If you don’t earn enough money or forget to cash in enough money to buy the house on that Saturday, you are scolded and scorned by family, and you get Game Over. The screen is locked here and you have to physically reset or power off. If you do have the money, then you get to buy the house and enjoy a little cutscene about your accomplishment. The game continues from here with another big purchase you have to make. Now you can go to the bank and get a loan against your new house, providing you with extra cash that you can invest smartly for the next thing. The game continues like this the rest of the way, though there are some special events like holidays and such that help break up the monotony a little bit.

This was my first time playing through Wall Street Kid. Point and click games like this are not my style and so I barely even tested this cart out when I bought it. I think this game was a $3 purchase from my local game store several years back. It is still a cheap cart and readily available online.

I did not get the hang of this game at first. I understand the concept of the stock market, that part is fine, but I had difficulty earning enough money for the house that initial month. First, I messed up by trying to buy the house one week earlier than was necessary. The way the game is written they make it seem like you need to buy the house before you miss your chance. I fell for that. Really you get four weeks no matter what. The other issue was that I was just not profitable enough. You need a million dollars but I always ended up in the $800,000-$900,000 range. I picked decent stocks and made some money but not the right ones to earn big. It took me several tries but eventually I figured out the trick. I had no trouble after that. One weird part later on is the auction scene. The way the auction is run and how you bid is not that clear. I ended up bidding against myself most of the time. Once I realized what I was doing, I put the password back in and tried again, only to end up with a higher winning bid once I played the auction straight. Maybe that part is random and I got unlucky the second time. I pushed forward and ended up winning the game from there anyway.

It’s very important to pay all your debts.

Here’s the big trick to beating this game without any trouble. Consider yourself warned in case you are spoiler sensitive. I am not completely sure if what I’m about to say is true, but it worked out this way for me. The stock market appears to be completely scripted. Stocks seem to rise and fall the same way on the same days. With this knowledge combined with the password system, it is easy to take advantage of the market. Run the game for a week and take note of the best stock, either by the stock tables or the newspaper’s hot stocks. If you already put all your money into the best stock already, great! Otherwise once you get to Sunday, reload your game from your old password and invest everything you can into the stock you noted was the best. In every case, that stock performed the same way and I maxed out on what I could possibly earn. If you take it one week at a time like this, you will make it. You can try and save yourself some time and make an educated guess on which stock will be the best earner that week. The newspaper tells you the two stock categories that should do well that week. I looked up all stocks and sorted them into categories. The cheapest stock of those categories is often the best earner, especially since you can buy more of them with your money.

I have a few more minor tips. Always take the bank loan when you can. The more cash you have on hand, the more you can earn! Just don’t forget to pay it back on time or you lose. You can pay off the loan and immediately get a new one too, no problem. Don’t forget to exercise and date your girlfriend every week. It might be a good idea to always buy the best item for Prisila on shopping Saturdays. I didn’t want to leave anything to chance, and I always had enough money for my big purchase anyway.

Wall Street Kid was a pretty interesting game, but I’m more happy now that it’s over than I was when I was playing it. The graphics are pretty good, even if most of the game is the same static screen and menus. The music was alright. The game controls very well. Everything is responsive and the simple controls almost always make sense. The gameplay is just simple point-and-click activity with menus. In this case, the game doesn’t do enough to vary the experience so the whole game kind of drags along. It’s not a lengthy game, but it is tedious to work through, especially entering in those awful passwords. Wall Street Kid is definitely a weird game to have on the NES. I’ll file it away as more of a curiosity than something that’s worth playing.

#125 – Wall Street Kid

#125 – Wall Street Kid

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