If you're hopelessly addicted to the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood iphone game, I have some bad news for you: there's more. "Social games" for your phone have been around for quite a while, and not only are there a seemingly endless amount of them, they are also equally (if not more) ridiculous. These games all have similar elements: you dress up and style your character, buy them clothes, go on dates with various "boyfriends," and occasionally there's some type of popularity element involved.
Basically, these games see the world through the eyes of a 15-year-old girl. But if it sounds to you like they're all the same, you are severely underestimating the imaginative powers of Japanese game developers. These games have nothing to teach you about life, but they do offer reflection of worlds both real and imagined that sometimes borders on the frightening. So even if you're not a fan of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, somewhere out there in the App Store is a social game just for you.
If you think this sounds to weird to be real, it's not. It's actually a lot stranger. Just read the description of the game in the iTunes App store:
As a Teacher, help a handsome Animal Student become a real human!
Dress him up, change his species, personality and looks!
You can also talk with him and enjoy exciting events together!
He can even become your perfect boyfriend!
No, it's not just bad translation (although, yes, it is). You pick an animal, help them become human, and essentially train them to become your boyfriend. There's manga-looking man-animal versions of a cat, dog, fox, rabbit, and wolf. Basically, they're just hot dudes with animal ears (and also human ears? Not really clear on how this human-animal translation works). Vague beastiality vibes: check. Bad power dynamics in a relationship: check. Really, what more would you want in an animal boyfriend game? Finally, you can realize your fantasy of having a boyfriend who can also fetch the paper. And also pee on your carpet.
Sure, there's a boyfriend in Social Girl, but the really important part is the social climbing. You have to make your way through four social groups: Sporty, Hipster, Preppy, Rocker, and Girly Girl. How, you ask? By gossiping with the girls in the aforementioned social groups, of course. The most hilarious and surprising thing about Social Girl, though, is how precise these social group stereotypes are. Here are some choice quotes from the Hipster girls:
"We should move to Portland."
"I love making my photos look like they're retro."
"LP Magazine has really gone downhill lately."
"My favorite font is Helvetica."
"The latest issue of the Newest Yorker was awesome."
"Fake vintage is the new real vintage."
I hate it and I also love it. Translation: I've been playing this game for the past two days. Help me.
Shall we date?: Mononoke Kiss
What's a mononoke, you ask? Well in this game, it's a hot monster dude. The game explains: "A forbidden romance with a mononoke, a handsome humanoid monster!" You have your choice of Enojo, a humanoid fox (which is somehow a monster?), Hajime, a humanoid dragon, or Raizo, a humanoid beast. Basically, you're a princess, someone tries to kill your king-dad, and so these hot monster dudes have to save you. The game is mostly played through dialogue, so it was a little too slow to get through for me, but according to some very choice tweets by Bee and Puppycat creator Natasha Allegri, the game gets a little more, uh, explicit...
Design It! Baby Fashion Designer
Again, really not a lot of mystery with this game. You give makeovers. To babies. I don't know how we as a culture got to the point where someone actually thought :"You know who really needs a makeover? Babies!" But well, here we are. Although I do have to say, the costume makeup is pretty impressive. Just know that there is enough glitter to put a room full of disco balls to shame.
Teen Vogue Me Girl
Enter the uncanny valley. This game gives you the experience many young girls dream of: being an unpaid intern at a fashion magazine! Pro: you get Teen Vogue clothes. Con: it is a scary nightmare world where everyone looks like a Sim who just got terrible plastic surgery. But don't miss classic games like "Glam Sport!" (Although I have no idea what that is: a fashion design competition? Playing football in bedazzled uniforms?)
Party in My Dorm
This is a game for people who like to party, dude. All the animation looks like it came straight out of Captain Planet and the dialogue does too: characters have quips like "Don't bro me if you don't know me!" You can also do things like battle players in a dance off and send margaritas as gifts, although there's no realistic options like "get too drunk and start crying about your ex-boyfriend." Bonus points if you play this game while doing a keg stand, bro!
A good rule of thumb while playing these kinds of games: the worst the English translation is, the more potential for hilarity in the game. Take Girl Tale, for example: "Love shopping? Love clubbing? Love dating guys? Want to be a supermodel? Girl Story is the game for you! Do work, shop in the mall, dress yourself up and flirt with hot guys in the club! And you can get a boyfriend, kiss him, dress him and request gift from him!" You live in a city with weirdly limited destinations: Club, Beauty, Bank, Mall, and Studio. Apparently this is a lawless town with no local government or police force. But you can flirt and get gift from boyfriend! Girl Tale!