About games and gaming thereof!

Guy of My Dreams

Okay, so if you’ve been checking my blog regularly you saw that three weeks ago I gave praise to the Kongregate developer Nerdook for his wide variety of creative and imaginative games. I said a lot of good things about his game I Am An Insane Rogue AI, applauding its original gameplay mechanics and clever story concept.

Well, this week I happened to stumble over one of his previous games, Guy of My Dreams, which seems to be a game designed specifically to piss me off.

So here’s how this game works. You start off as a 16 year old girl who wants to find love and happiness in her life (and apparently she’s suffering from some sort of illness that causes her life to end at the arbitrary age of 50). So she sets out to find love the old-fashioned way: by finding a guy that looks cute and latching on to him.

Actually, that’s not exactly fair to her. She isn’t the one latching on to the guys; it seems to be quite the opposite. When you see a guy you’re interested in, you just walk up to him and his head becomes glued to yours. Then you can take him wherever you’d like, and if you find another guy you’re more interested in you can press the space bar to drop the first guy off at the nearest dump.

Other ways to lose your boyfriend include walking into a skull which causes him to die, and colliding with any other girl in the game, who will instantly steal him from you. Yeah, apparently no other girl can pick up a guy on her own; she has to steal him from another girl (i.e. you).

Anyway, the amount of happiness you can receive from your boyfriend is measured by how much he looks like your “dream guy” and three randomly generated personality traits, and the amount of happiness each of these traits produces is laughably arbitrary.

Well he may be rude, bad tempered and over-emotional, but he looks just like my "dream guy," so I guess I'll stay with him!

Don’t worry if you can’t find a good-looking guy though, because there are other ways to gain happiness! You pick up folders that apparently make your career better somehow, and you can collect three one-time-happy-bonus items: flowers, chocolate, and jewelry. That’s right, folks. If you want to make a girl happy, you give her flowers, chocolate and jewelry. That’s all she needs.

Oh, wait, let me fix that. Flowers and jewelry won’t make her happy unless she has a boyfriend. So I guess girls can’t appreciate flowers and jewelry unless they have someone to share it with?

Honestly, the way men and women are portrayed in this game just comes off as incredibly sexist. This game seems like it was made by an alien who learned everything it knows about human love by studying romantic comedies.

And I know that at least one of you is thinking this game might have been made ironically, but I really don’t think that’s the case, because Nerdook himself said that this was his attempt at making a “girl-ier” game — meaning this game was meant to appeal to girls. That much is also very clear from the cute, colorful visuals and soft soundtrack. At this point, trying to defend this game by calling it ironic would be like trying to defend Twilight by calling it ironic.

Virtually the only positive remark I can make about this game is that the song that plays in the background during gameplay is great. And of course it’s great, because it’s a remake of a classic 60’s song, Georgy Girl. And I actually think that was a great choice for this game, because it really fits the theme of a sad young girl wanting to find love and happiness.

Other than that, the gameplay is dull and repetitive, and the concepts behind the game are mind-bogglingly offensive.

Incidentally, I know that Nerdook saw this sort of backlash coming, because look at the bottom of this picture:

I get that he doesn’t want us to take it seriously, but the three words that jump out at me are “just a game.” Oh yeah. It’s just a game. Silly me, I forgot that games aren’t capable of making any sort of artistic or meaningful statement, because they’re just shiny little toys for us to play with.

A lot of gamers (myself included) and game developers have been trying to make people take the medium of gaming seriously for awhile now, but Nerdook seems to be on the other side of the fence for that topic.

After I played I Am An Insane Rogue AI, I really didn’t think I was going to ever encounter a game by Nerdook that I would give a rating of one star to. Life is just full of surprises, I guess.


2 responses

  1. Kevin

    ok i am a relativly mature individual but excuse me for a moment…….HA HA YOU PLAYED A GIRLS GAME!…*cough*ugh excuse me *cough*
    ok anyway, i have to agree that games like this kind of set a bad example for the rest of the world but then again the Da Vinci Code had a similar disclaimer in it. i think that people now adays get upset or offended by things waaay to easily and to be honest i typically reply, its just a game. just like with other forms of art/entertainment, you either like it or you dont, and you are free to have your opinion, and to share it. however you DO NOT have the right to force others into your way of thinking or try to change other peoples lifes to better suite your beliefs. so while i agree that the game discussed above is a little tasteless, it is just a game. And games are made for people to enjoy and not to instigate a gender/religion/race/whatever war, or to offend people (typically, i am sure there are a few exceptions, but there always will be)anyway thats my 2 cents, see you in a week

    February 19, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    • Joshua

      In all fairness, I don’t think JPH is trying to “force others” into his way of thinking. In fact, he seems to be doing exactly what you said he was free to do: he has an opinion on this game and he’s sharing it. So I’m not entirely sure what point you’re trying to make here, but I didn’t find anything in this post to be particularly out of line.

      And I also agree with JPH that the line “this is just a game” is kind of a cop-out on the part of the developer. A game, like any other medium of entertainment, is a tool of communication. Sure, it’s fun to play, but whether or not the game-maker realizes it, he or she is sending a message when creating a game like this, and it’s a message I think a lot of people might object to. Now, do I think we should stop people from making games like this? Of course not. But I also think we should speak up when we find games that present messages we don’t agree with.

      February 26, 2011 at 2:56 PM

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