If you are like me — and, well, have a job that enables you to do something like this — then you have wasted your entire morning playing Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" Experience game, her new iPhone app that enables you to dive into the world of the music video and interact with the plot. Except by "interact with the plot," I really mean "spend hours listening to the same song over and over again while trying to track down 41 items you stop caring more about the more time it takes you to find them." Or is that just me? The fact of the matter is, while downloading Swift's iPhone app might be worth it if you're the world's biggest Swiftie, it's really difficult and frustrating otherwise. And, to be perfectly honest, it's almost impossible to complete without a little help.
That's probably why the game was developed with a social media aspect allowing friends to share items with each other to make sure they got them all. Seriously, if you don't ask your fellow Swifties for a clue, then you're pretty much out of luck on winning — unless you're just that good at iPhone games. Personally, I didn't win the game without help and since it took me four hours I wanted to pass on some wisdom to my fellow struggling gamers. Here are some cheats to make your "Blank Space" Experience a pleasant one.
You can turn off the music — sort of
The game spans the length of the song, which means listening to the song lets you know how much time you have before it asks if you want to play again. However, after the fifth or sixth play, you might be really sick of "Blank Space." Take your headphones out of your phone or turn the volume down until it's on mute. You won't know how much time you have left, but that's better than having to hate a Swift song so early.
You can see which items you still have to find
In the upper left hand corner of the screen, there is a small white circle. When you've found an item, it transforms into a back arrow enabling you to return to gameplay. When you're navigating around, it's a pause button. Clicking it will take you to a menu that has the option to View Collectables, where you can see which items you've collected and which items you still need to find.
You can navigate without physically moving the phone
You can navigate throughout the manor by using your fingers to direct the camera on the touchscreen. The downside to this is that the camera will still move if you physically move your phone in any way, leading to a lot of disorienting shots of the ceiling or floor if you, like me, had your phone pointing downward while you played. However, a simple slide of the finger will right the camera again, so you don't have to twist your body left and right to play while you're on the subway.
You can pause the game
The small white circle with the pause button in it on the left hand corner of the screen doesn't just allow you to View Collectibles. It also pauses the game for you. To get back into things, click Resume Experience.
The time limit is pretty irrelevant
I mean, yes, you get three minutes and 51 seconds and you only get three minutes and 51 seconds. But luckily you get to retain the items you collected already every time you play the game, so it's not like this time limit has any real immediacy — unless, of course, you're trying to get the 41st item. But more on that later.
You should follow Swift and Sean O'Pry around a bit
The first couple of times, it's definitely a good idea to follow Swift and O'Pry through the house. They'll show you all the rooms in which items will be hidden and — if you muted the volume to avoid the song — it's also a good idea to keep track of where they are since some collectibles only appear before or after they leave or enter a room.
The random staff members are kind of important
One of the staff members is the one who places an item that you later have to pick up. Two items feature a staff member, either completing their job or playing piano on the television. Basically, they're not just there for decoration; they actually move the plot of the game along.
There's a special trick to finding some of the items
Some of the items simply involve clicking around. Some items are hidden inside other items — which means that you need to click on something to collect it and then click on it again to open it or turn it over and collect something else. Some items change over time — such as a notebook that has one thing in it before Swift and O'Pry enter the room and something else in it once they arrive. Basically, once you find an item, click on it again and return to it later in the game. It might have changed into another item.
You don't have a lot of options once you find them all
You could... play the game again? Watch the music video? Check the clock and realize how much time has passed since you first started the game?
You can find the 41st item before the others
The game doesn't outright stop you from doing so, anyway. However, it's not as fun to do the 41st item before the rest because gaining that item gives you the game-winning prize, so after that it's like what's the point?
The 41st item is really hard to find
The 41st item is the hardest item to find because it doesn't just involve clicking around. It involves collecting keys and playing a veritable mini-game within the "Blank Space" experience. First, you have to turn the dial in the foyer to 1989, then you have to play four notes on the piano in the living room, then you have to type four letters into a typewriter in the same room, then you have to piece a picture of O'Pry together in the hallway, then you have to return to the dining room to press the buttons on a hidden piano, then you have to go to the easel room to get a key from a music box that allows you to return to the dial in the foyer. And you have to do all of that before the song finishes. Yeah.
The game prize might not be worth it
You get an adorable home video of a young Swift receiving a bike for her birthday and riding it around. It is adorable. But is it worth hours of frustrating gameplay? That's for you to decide. Good luck, Swifties.
Image: theswiftsource/Tumblr (12)