Is this what it has come to? Is this how much of a slow games month it has been? After the epsiode of the PUGcast where this glorious app was brought up, I set my gaming sights on one of 2014’s most downloaded games, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.
Before I dived in, a quick Google search bought up various revenue figures surrounding this app. Some of those figures are staggering, with reports suggesting Kim makes $700,000 a day from the title. Although it was difficult to reach a consensus on how much money the game has made in total, my guess is that Kimmy K is rolling in it, and laughing at us all too.
While I’m not a ‘fan’ of Kim, I’m not filled with vitriol for her either. Everything I have ever read about her on the internet is usually followed by hundreds of comments about how she’s only famous for a sex tape, or that she’s trash, or that she’s not newsworthy. Personally, I think she’s a pretty cool woman who has made her own success and continues to be popular year after year with legitimate business ventures, despite not really having a conventional talent.
Getting down to the game itself, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is exactly what you’d expect. A pretty vapid and unoriginal concept of ‘go do this, spend these power ups, level up and unlock more things, use real money to really play this game.’ I have played Kim Kardashian: Hollywood without buying any of the dreaded in-app purchases, and in all honesty I have found it pretty hard. It’s such a slow-paced game and very repetitive, but it’s not the worst of its type by far.
You start out as a character who works in a clothing store. As you are closing up for the night, who should appear but Queen Kim herself (cue cries of ‘ohemgeee’ from everywhere!) and she needs a dress, quick! In return for your efforts, she bestows upon you a publicist and an agent, and begins sending you off for photoshoots and club appearances. These events are pretty much all the game consists of, and you get anywhere from one to 8 hours to complete them by spending energy on actions that fill up your star-meter.
This is where the game just gets unbearable. You have to wait around for five minutes to get one energy bolt, and you can use them all up within about five minutes by filling up the star-meter with actions. As you can imagine, you’re just waiting around all day for your energy bolts to refill so you can continue to push buttons.
For those of us who don’t want to pay real money to have an advantage, it’s barely worth leveling up at all. Once you reach a certain level, most of the clothes and accessories can only be bought with K-Stars, which are the most valuable power-up in the game. Eventually, the game gets to a point where you wonder ‘why am I still playing this when there’s no payoff?’ It’s not like when you play a Final Fantasy game and you spend hours grinding levels to finally take down that annoying boss. At least in that case, you’re progressing towards something. With Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, it’s just a monotonous cycle of getting more famous and more popular (kind of how I imagine getting famous would really be like). Rich folks can buy their way into fame quite easily but the rest of us have to slog it out for years.
That’s the main issue I have with this game. Who knew that Kim Kardashian: Hollywood would provide me with some philosophical stance on society today? I find it troubling that the whole concept of this game is to get famous by having as many followers on social media as possible, for doing pretty much nothing. It fuels this narcissistic ‘Like’ culture that plagues social media, and is probably going to have an untold effect on our younger generations. At no point in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood are we led to believe that our avatar has any talent. They just happen to meet someone super famous who owes them a favour, and thus starts some whirlwind, flashing-lights lifestyle that in reality would burn out just as quickly as it started.
Without trying to sound like a moaning old codger, fame in itself should not an aspiration. It should be a by-product with the package of being talented in a certain field. But then again, in a game called Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, of course it’s about lucky opportunities and little talent (sorry Kim, but I did hear your song…) It’s about conveyor belt fame, where there is always someone right behind you ready to take your spot. Maybe my avatar will become the next Willow Pape when the next hot young thang comes along.
That said, it is a free downloadable app game, so what did I really expect? In all honesty, I still hoped a little bit more. Maybe less focus on in-app purchases and at least a balance of available items for those of us who’d rather buy ‘real’ games with excellent content for the same price of a chest of K-Stars, which would maybe last a few days. This game won’t break the internet, but it may break your bank account if you let it.
Overall, playing Kim Kardashian briefly showed me a side of myself I didn’t want to see, like staying up ’til past 2am just to finish events because of those silly energy bolts. After all, I didn’t want to lose some followers and have less clicks than someone other wannabe. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood taught me that it takes a lot just to keep up with the Kardashians.