Was it boredom, bitterness, or sheer curiosity that led me to download and play Kim Kardashian’s new game, “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood,” on a dull Wednesday in the office. But I did it, and I lost brain cells.
To sum up the game in a nutshell: Money is thrown at you for doing whatever Kardashian says to do— no choice, skill or intelligence involved. Basically, it’s like living a day in the life of the robot media sensation Mrs. West.
“Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” was released on June 25 by Glu Mobile Inc. and has been downloaded rampantly by iOS users on the Apple App Store. Analysts told Bloomberg that the game could make up to $200 million for Glu Mobile and TMZ reported that Kardashian could take home 45 percent of the app’s earnings.
So, I had to know what the fuss was all about.
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I didn’t go very far in the game, for fear of ending up like Jezebel's Tracie Egan Morrissey, who spent nearly $500 to advance to the “A-list level” in an app that cost me nothing to download. I played for about 15 minutes while my co-workers ridiculed me, assuming I would play all night. I won’t.
What follows is empirical evidence that the user playing the game feels as robotic as Kardashian’s life appears to be.
First, as a blonde, I'm offended. The avatar in the game forces the user to play as a brunette, who appears to be Caucasian, though the game does let you “kustomize” your avatar later. You can be a male -- nice to know the app isn’t sexist -- among many ways to randomize your avatar — with darker skin, lighter hair, etc.—but this requires effort and it's perhaps the only time a skill is needed during play.
“Before you were famous, you were new to Hollywood,” the app begins. The avatar is dropped into an unnamed store, perhaps DASH, and speaks to a spunky black male manager named Luther Alexander who is “late for an appointment” in Beverly Hills. Then you’re expected to do what you’re told and click on the pointers representing actions for which you are paid cash.
The game tells you what to do, where to go and how to become famous, all while throwing money, stars and tokens your way. It’s hard not to feel accomplished doing nothing, just like a Kardashian.
Then, the user meets Kim who needs an outfit for a meeting with “THE Garret St. Clair,” a photographer in the fake world of Kim Kardashian. (Clarification: the game, not her real fake life.)
The user must then go home and change because Kim invited you (!!) to accompany her on her photo shoot as long as you “dress to impress.” Upon arrival at the “Metropolitan Magazine building,” Kardashian informs that you will be photographed. After you have no choice in the matter and are forced to check your makeup and change your wardrobe, Kim suggests you get a “momager” just like her and join her at a party, naturally.
But first, you have to meet her manager, Simon, and to get there, you must ride the bus. You end up back in Hollywood near the store where you run into an angry Luther. Kardashian says to “use your charm” to get out of work. So Kardashian-like.
This is when I lost it. Again, without choice, you have to meet Kim inside “The Brew Palms,” where she instructs you to “flirt with people to add them as contacts for dating, or network with them to help you with professional gigs.” In the process, you flirt with a woman’s boyfriend and shun her.
Eventually “CTM manager Simon Orsik” tells you to get headshots for said unspecified job because he is “interested in anyone [Kim] recommends.”
This is when I gave up. What if I didn’t want my headshots done? What if I didn’t want to be famous? What if maybe working as a sales clerk in the nameless store for Luther was what I wanted? Or what if I would prefer to be a doctor, or lawyer, or maybe a journalist?
Just like Kardashian’s life full of pre-planned activities, parties and “appearances,” “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” offers no range of options. You are immediately sucked into the fame vacuum that is the Kardashian world, where you will eventually be churned out as a star.
Perhaps fans of Kardashian will enjoy it, though, because the game is as close to becoming a Kardashian—without spending $30,000 like a British woman did on plastic surgery—as they'll likely ever get.
In case you want to lose brain cells, too, here are cheat codes and hacks, because basically, that’s what Kardashian is all about.