A Grown Ass Man’s Review Of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood

Before launching headfirst into an explanation of why Kim Kardashian's iPhone game, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, is the greatest game of all time, I'm going to assume certain things about you, the reader:

1. You have not played the Kim Kardashian iPhone game.

2. You have a general understanding of the ways in which open-ended games work, presumably from having played any number of entries in the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

3. You own at least one article of clothing that you have spent way too much fucking money much on.

This last one is important because I have spent $30 on Kim Kardashian's iPhone game in the past week. It's available as a free download, but, regardless, I managed to drop the price of a 2.4 ounce Diptyque candle on it because I am not the sort of person who should be allowed to connect a credit card to an iPhone. I did it for you, not me, but I'm no hero.

Imagine a Grand Theft Auto where the goal wasn't to become a criminal overlord, but instead achieve the sort of celebrity status that only those with as little talent as they have shame can achieve. You gain both money and fans through modeling gigs, acting bits, dating other famous people, getting spotted by paparazzi doing stuff, working at the Kardashian family store and by taking part in nebulous "club appearances." In a way, the game functions as almost a retcon meant to justify Kim Kardashian's megafame—these "tasks," give or take shooting a sex tape or two, are the exact things Kim herself did in order to become one of the most famous people in the world. Become famous for being famous, the game tells us, and you will become even more famous. Which, to be fair, is exactly how celebrity in America often works.

This is not a fun game per se, but it offers enough of the illusion of fun that you keep playing it anyway. Most importantly, it is completely ridiculous to talk about out loud.

The mechanics of the Kim Kardashian game are comical in their ruthlessness. The loading screen offers such tips as, "Dating famous people will get you more fans too," "Charming people will get you the best rewards and opportunities" and, "Changing your look and buying nice clothes can get you noticed by the media." Sure enough, when my little Kardashian avatar—who I named Lil B, obviously—seemed to have found his fame stagnated, I bought him a new shirt, shoes and shorts and he rocketed from the E-list to the C-list. If you shake the trees in the game's facsimile of L.A.'s ridiculously wealthy Calabasas suburb, money will literally fall out of them. While these are notions often blindly accepted as truth by very cynical people, it's sort of shocking to find them as totally acceptable elements of a game that a child could hypothetically download and play.

The game's actual process of fame acquisition itself is slow and sort of arbitrary. It's impossible to beat the game (a fundamental way to milk the user's money), so it behooves its creators to give you a bunch of different things to do and reward you for doing as many of them as you can to perpetuate the experience. Whenever you participate in one of your photo shoots/appearances/dates/whatever else in the game, you have to spend energy, of which you are given a finite amount, and not quite enough of to complete a single task. In order to recharge your energy meter, you'll either have to wait it out (ala typrical Candy Crush players), or pay real money for in-game tokens with which you can buy energy (ala broke Candy Crush players). The tokens look like gigantic, shiny Ks because of course they fucking do. If you choose to let time recharge your energy instead of your money, you choose to engage in a war of attrition where you wait out the clock for your energy to recharge, only to immediately squander that energy you've built up over hours, helplessly watching your avatar stand around, have a social drink, adjust their makeup or react to a lighting change. The look in Lil B's eyes, resting sadly below the dumb faux hawk I gave him, as I refused to spend even more than the $30 I'd already sunk into replenishing his energy meter, was enough to break my heart.

This is not a fun game per se, but it offers enough of the illusion of fun that you keep playing it anyway. Most importantly, it is completely ridiculous to talk about out loud. When I checked in with my editor on my progress in the game, I told him, "As of now I’m an E-List celebrity with a modeling contract, a publicist and a manager. My rival is some douche who saw me hitting on his ex-girlfriend and subtweeted me." These little snapshots of absurdity populate the game at every point, from the fact that your manager doesn't know how to use the Internet, to hearing Kim Kardashian say some generic bullshit every couple of hours, to the in-game possibility of dating a blogger. But they're not the stuff you think about until after the fact.

While you're actually playing the game, you're constantly left with the sense that while you're not quite having fun at the moment, you will totally have fun at some point coming up in the near future, just as soon as you get another modeling contract, have more powerful friends, trade in your celebrity psychologist girlfriend for the princess of some obscure country that no one knows about or buy a car so that people will like you more. This is how some people—horrible people, people who you never want to even find engaging in high sycophancy in your Twitter mentions, let alone actually know and care for—look at life. And yet, just like how it's dope to let off some steam by shooting a few pixelated fuccbois in GTA and go to sleep knowing that you'd never do that in real life, there's a certain evil glee derived by dipping your toes into a world in which you're rewarded for acting like a fucking sociopath. And while that's not fun either, the pursuit of that next plateau where everything will be marginally better is certainly something worth spending your money on. Like, say, $30.

Drew Millard wrote this while gone off that Criterion Collection edition of Clueless. You can read more of his work on Noisey and follow him on Twitter here.

  • gawd

    ya’ll will really write about anything

    • Lawrence

      hell yeah pimp

  • Johnny Black

    gf plays the game. it’s pretty jokes. has some funny writing.

  • Kendall Walls

    Played this game to A list. Sue me.

  • Your Mama

    Saint Apostle Luke, Chapter 18, Verse 25:

    Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for
    someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.

    Saint Apostle Timothy I, Chapter 6, Verse 10:

    For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have
    wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

    Saint Apostle Matthew, Chapter 6, Verse 22:

    The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.

    Book of Acts, Chapter 20, Verse 35:

    . . . It is more blessed to give than to receive.

    Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 5, Verse 21:

    Neither shalt thou covet thy neighbor’s wife; neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor’s house, his field, or his man-servant, or his maid-servant, his ox, or his ass, or anything that is thy neighbor’s.

    Saint Apostle John, Chapter 14, Verse 6:

    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to
    the Father but through Me.”