Oh, those pretty little dears. Are you a lady? Then finally there's a game for you! While too many games are pretending that ladies enjoy the same things as men, like shooting, building cities or exploring alien worlds, Lady Popular properly recognises what it is that makes a true, strong, independent lady: shopping, hairstyles and having a boyfriend.
"Every girl dreams to become a smart, talented and successful woman," says the press release for Lady Popular. Not being a girl, but certainly having ambitions to be smart, talented and successful, I thought I'd take a look at the free web-based game to see what it takes for the unpenised to make it today. Which begins with the tutorial.
To get out of my parents' house and into the real world of successful ladies, I had to complete three tasks. Three tasks that would set me on the path to womanhood. I had to:
- Change my hairstyle, getting two "cool" pigtails in black. - Buy at least one thing I like from a store in the mall. - Rent my own apartment.
I'm well on my way to being good enough!
This completed, I'm given a new selection of goals to complete, in order to level up again. Perhaps these will be the ones that begin me on my path to strength and independence! They are:
- Start the Cookiegirl course. - Go to the hair stylist, pink just came into fashion… - Buy at least two more items you like from shops in the Mall.
and one other:
- You have been invited to a party with your partner. Oh no!
Oh no!? What's wrong? I click for more details.
"You don't have a boyfriend at the moment! Visit the Club and go flirting, you might meet someone hot."
Shit, I'm incomplete on so many levels! No boyfriend?! So it's straight to the enigmatically named Club.
And now I have a boyfriend! His name is Car washer, and he gives me $US50 a day.
But even with my new pink hair, $US758 headscarf and working class boyfriend, I still don't feel like I'm a proper lady. I need a job. And that's why I'm required to take the Cookiegirl course, so I can have the sort of career a lady needs. Also available for job training at this point (although not achieving my goal) is hair dressing. The Cookiegirl course will last until this time tomorrow, and now I'm a level 2 human female!
Even still, there's more to being a proper woman. For instance, the game's welcome message instantly informs me that I need to be 57KG (9 stone, 126lb).
"Remember that excessive weight loss or gain is not healthy and will make your lady unhappy, she might even get sick. So try to maintain her weight in the ideal range. For this purpose, there are various options available in the game such as sports, nutrition and so on."
Oh, and my level 2 goals?
- Join a gym. - Change my clothes in the wardrobe. - Change my hair colour and style yet again.
Astonishingly, hidden amidst this is a message regarding flirting. After requiring that I flirt in a club in order to win a boyfriend — a boyfriend who is then ranked according to his job and the amount of money he gives me every day — hovering the mouse over a tiny ? icon reveals the following text:
"Flirting is fun, but remember that love is built upon the solid foundation of trust and understanding. The frequent change of boyfriends does not lead to anything good. If your lady is a loner, she can flirt — one never knows when their soul mate will appear on the horizon. If she's involved with somebody, but he does not meet her needs, she can break up with him — then both of them will be free to look for their luck somewhere else."
So it's lovely that when I click on my boyfriend's profile picture for more details, it takes me directly to the Club to replace him, although warns me that I've currently reached my "daily limit".
Oh, and going to the gym? Well, I can't do that without getting a gym card from the market, and to do that I'm going to have to buy an appropriate outfit!
Of course all these things can be supplemented by buying "diamonds", which unsurprisingly cost real-world money. Although quite who would want to demean themselves to such a degree I'm not entirely sure. It's probably not surprising the game's press release is too embarrassed to remember to include any links to the game. But it does, however, contain this:
"The evil witch has been hiding the Ghost city for centuries and no one has succeeded in breaking the spell yet. With every passing year, and with each of the thousands of unsuccessful attempts to break the spell, the witch becomes stronger and is now more powerful than before. But! There is a way to break the Ghost city's spell and take away the witch's power — you can weaken her magic by stealing everything she has. That's right! Once all the possessions of the evil witch are in the right hands, she will lose all her magic powers and the Ghost city's hiding spell would be broken."
Yes, it's still talking about the same game.
John Walker is a writer for Rock Paper Shotgun,
one of the world's best site s for PC gaming news. Britain's leading adventure gaming specialist watches quite a lot of TV. Follow him on Twitter.
Republished with permission.