Since its release on June 25, “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood,” the famous-for-being-famous Hollywood starlet’s video game, has already blown up in the App Store.
“Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” is the No. 5 top-grossing app after just three weeks. It’s the only title in the App Store’s Top 10 with a five-star rating. And if the game remains popular, Kardashian could make as much as $US85 million from it this year.
That said, I’ve been playing “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” in small increments several times over the past couple of weeks, and I can’t seem to stop.
And I’ve never touched a copy of OK! or seen a full episode of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”
The free-to-play game is full of opportunities for in-game purchases, which buy you more playing time and virtual items like clothes and jewelry. As a cash-strapped, recent college grad, I don’t exactly have the funds to enable my newfound hobby, which is certainly a limiting factor for playing the game.
It’s probably for the best.
First, you get to make your avatar. You can put on any variety of crop tops and skinny jeans, and you can even change the way your face looks -- just like a real celebrity.
I had to complete a bunch of tasks in exchange for virtual currency. You're constantly being asked to do tasks or go places in the game, which keeps you hooked. So much for the glamorous Hollywood life I envisioned, huh? After I was done, I locked up and was just getting ready to leave ...
... When all of a sudden, Kim Kardashian materialised (what timing, right?). I opted to open shop for her, natch.
After I helped pick out a dress for her (I was flattered she trusted my judgment), she invited me to a fashion shoot. Note that the only choice you really have is to say yes. I probably would have accepted even if I had a choice, though.
I got changed and hopped on a bus to make my way over to Beverly Hills. Public transit is your only option. It really keeps you humble as you ascend to stardom.
After going to the building Kim sent me to, I was shocked to discover I was actually attending my own photo shoot -- it was a favour from Kim for letting her into the shop earlier.
Once again, I completed tasks to collect virtual currency. The nature of the game -- getting offers like hanging out with other characters or going to events -- prompts you to keep moving forward. It's the 'choose your own adventure' style that feels like 'The Sims,' but with some structure.
The constant commentary from other players keeps you paying attention to the game (Oh Garrett, you flatter me).
I went back home (which was conveniently next door to the store I worked at), but my boss was trying to get me to come in. I tried explaining I was attending a lavish party in a posh Hollywood bar, but he didn't believe me. I used some of the money I had earned to charm him, and he finally relented.
Once I got inside the bar where the party was being held, though, a kindly, orange-ish man named Dirk approached me. I could have flirted or networked with him. In a moment of hesitation, I went with flirt.
... Which is when I learned that everyone you interact with in a remotely romantic way gets tracked in the game, displaying your progress with those people. It actually makes the interactions more meaningful because they're quantitative -- you can literally track the progress of your relationships. Can you imagine how this would play out IRL?
Finally I got to talk to Kim, who was taking pains to set me up with her manager. Of course, she had to make it about herself.
Leaving the party, a blonde woman named Willow accused me of flirting with her boyfriend, Dirk, who is apparently not a great guy. I got into a scuffle with her when I admitted to what I had been doing in the bar.
So I left the party and, heeding Kim's advice, sought out her manager, Simon. I was a little concerned he wouldn't take me on -- after all, I had come straight from a boozy party in what appeared to be the middle of the day -- but he had no qualms.
I left Simon's office, and at his request, headed back to the photo studio for headshots. I was very confused about the concept of time in this game -- there is none. It's just one really long day, filled with photo shoots, bus rides, and flirting with handsome strangers.
After the photo shoot, I found a cat. I wanted to adopt it, but on my meager income, I couldn't afford to.
I went to report back to Simon when a message popped up, breaking the fourth wall of the game. Not now, Glu Mobile! I'm making a name for myself!
The same paparazzi approached me from earlier. He knew about the argument I had gotten into. I was determined to take the high road, and let him know that Willow and I had just met.
Then he showed me the nasty tweet Willow sent out about me. People are so cruel online. I appreciated the tweets, though -- it broke up the monotony of simply interacting one-on-one with other characters.
Somehow, this tweet allowed me to enter the E-list -- the lowest level of celebrity recognition. Still somehow better than my job folding shirts, though.
Per Kim's request, we convened at her house. I was told to compliment her mansion, so I did, as any dutiful friend would.
Kim told me I needed to make amends with Willow or get a publicist to help me. I opted for the high road again, but Willow didn't take kindly to confrontation.
So I sought out the help of Maria Holmes. Maria wanted to help improve my reputation, so she suggested I go on a date. It didn't seem like the most natural conflict resolution, but I wasn't in a position to say no.
She asked me if I preferred 'artsy' or 'muscular' guys. I went with artsy. Of course, Kim had just the right person in mind for me.
I met up with Mitchell right away. He suggested we go on a date that moment. I knew Kim had gone out of her way to set up the date, so I obliged, even though he seemed a little desperate.
Mitchell and I enjoyed dessert together, flirting and even sharing a kiss. I was rewarded with more virtual currency for all of this, of course.
The gossip mags couldn't stop tweeting about us. It's so hard being famous. Part of the appeal of 'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' is that it's so superficial you could almost read the game itself as social commentary, a statement on the lives of the rich and famous.
On my way out, I got stopped by a pink-haired model. Trying to keep it classy, I chose to network with him instead of flirting. After all, I had just come from a date.
At this point, I had run out of time in the game, which operates like 'Candy Crush' with restrictions on play. I was directed to a store where I could buy more time and virtual cash, but I declined. I had had enough 'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' for one day.
I'm not done with 'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' forever, though. I'm still working up the ranks to become an A-list celebrity with Kim's help. As long as the game continues offering virtual money in return for going on dates and attending parties, I'll keep playing when I have some spare time.
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