Klick Klick Klicking In Kim Kardashian: Hollywood

By Philippa Warr on February 25th, 2015 at 7:00 pm.

KIM KARDASHIAN!

A recent Twitter meme had people posting their gaming confessions. In a rare fit of ?joining in? I posted mine: I didn?t like Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.

I guess that might have come across as snarky or for laughs if you don?t know me but I find Kim Kardashian fascinating. I?ve followed her exploits for years, from back when she was only really famous in the US and as Paris Hilton?s friend rather than as a celebrity in her own right. It?s not a fascination which would see me daydreaming about hanging out with her ? just as well really as a work engagement took me to a meet-n-greet she had as part of a perfume launch complete with photo opportunities. I couldn?t be doing with the jostling so I sat back and watched and ate olives. Then spilled olives down my top and wondered whether to correct it with the perfume which I think smelled strongly of sweets.

Where was I? Oh ? yes, it?s more a fascination with how she markets herself and how her mother markets her. It?s about people?s reactions to her and about her apparent ability to just tune out the negatives. It?s about the phenomenon of being a celebrity whose fame is based on being a celebrity ? a compounding and snowballing of interest. I also quite like the person at the centre of it.

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is a game I downloaded on my phone when it came out. In many ways it?s fascinating too. You can look at the actions your character must take in the game and see parallels with the actions real people take to stay in the news ? being seen at the right parties, making friends with the right designers, using publicists and managers to pick up jobs and smooth over crises. It?s also microtransaction-heavy, although Glu seem to have created a product which stays generally on the right side of pushy (by which I mean some people will be turned off but many will stay and either stump up cash or keep chipping away at the game in bursts).

Kim Kardashian!

So it taps into my interest in Kim?s life and how that works. It also taps into my fascination with how free-to-play businesses work. In fact, the only kind of tapping it does that I don?t get on with is the physical act of interacting with the game ? prodding at the screen for rewards on the iPhone and exchanging that for clicking when you come to the Facebook version. I hate games about clicking for rewards where the act of clicking is as skill-less as it is here. And yet, it?s a Kardashian product ? can that seriously not balance out the hatred of clicking? I mean, I?ve read the Kardashian novel (?Dollhouse: A Novel?, not to be confused with the Ibsen play of a similar name) it?s not like I?m snobby about their output.

With that in mind I?ve decided to give the Facebook version another go this afternoon.

Let?s do this!

The game opens with Pip Pipdashian (shut up) in a clothing store called So Chic. Her manager is looking angry and there are several mannequins wearing outfits right out of Kim K?s back catalogue. I?m not kidding ? I recognise a version of a silver Catherine Malandrino gown from an Us Weekly party a few years ago, a red dress with a keyhole front from the Dorothy Perkins collection, a black strapless thing which I can?t place but could be from any number of red carpet parties, and a white ruffled shirt and leather trousers look which is a staple of Kardashian daywear.

The manager guy is angry because he is running late (I think?) and needs you to close the store. This involves clicking on the only clickable icons onscreen to straighten and fold clothes. You get rewarded for completing these tasks with a spray of cash, experience, energy and K stars. Experience helps you level up and gain access to things like clothes, energy lets you click on the icons more and money lets you buy things. K stars are another form of game currency. KLICK KLICK KLICK.

Kim Kardashian!

Kim shows up as I?m closing the store and asks for my help picking out a cute dress. I?ve done this scene probably five or six times over the course of trying to like this game and every time I wonder if it?s a test, whether the correct answer is ?KIM YOU WORE THOSE BOTH YEARS AGO LET ME HELP YOU FIND SOMETHING NEW.? This is an area in which I truly believe I can help Game-Kim and it pains me that all I am allowed to do is click one of the two options and send her to be savaged by the press for wearing a re-run. KLICK.

I pick the silver dress because I remember her smiling in the pictures for that event and it feels like she rarely smiles in red carpet pictures anymore. Not that huge grin anyway. She asks to pay and the only option available to you is to insist she take it free of charge. To be honest, that?s probably in the shop?s interests as having a celebrity spotted in an outfit is one way to increase sales. So many times Kate Middleton would wear something from a high street store and within moments of the dress or whatever being IDed it would be sold out or the store?s website would have fallen over thanks to the increase in traffic.

I head to my flat next door. Apparently knowing where I live rewards me with cash and experience. That doesn?t happen in real life. It takes me three energy points to find something to wear to an event Kim invited me to attend. That does happen in real life. Pip Pipdashian ends up wearing a white bodycon dress which I think was actually Nina Ricci separates when Kim wore it to the Dream For Future Africa Gala. KLICK KLICK KLICK.

Kim Kardashian!

I now have enough experience to use a bus stop and may head to Beverly Hills to meet with Garrett St Clair, a skeevy-looking photographer chap wearing pink cropped jeans and a shirt and tie. Surprise! Kim has organised a photoshoot for Pip Pipdashian. Completing tasks like this involves a lot of clicking on icons to earn little blue stars which fill up a task meter. You only have a certain amount of real time to complete these tasks so it?s a good idea to check your energy levels and the amount of time available to complete a task before you start. The currencies which drop have peculiar hit boxes meaning you click around even more trying to pick them up. I accidentally speak to Garrett three times when trying to pick up some energy. On the plus side the currencies seem to eventually just dissolve and are added to your inventory if you leave them but it?s annoying given the point seems to be the ?joy? of clicking. KLICK KLICK KLICK KLICK KLICK KLICK KLICK KLICK KLICK.

I need a manager now ? not a shop one (I have one of those) but a celebrity one. I?ve done this segment so many times and nowadays I only persevere because just afterwards you visit Kim?s house and she mentions having a recording studio and I wonder if she?s using the game to tease a return to pop music. Yes. I have listened to her foray into music. It?s called Jam (Turn It Up). It?s terrible but the music video is entertaining in a low-budget narcissism-and-baby oil vortex kinda way.

Oh, wait ? there?s also a run-in with Willow Pape ? a villainous D-lister and manipulator of social media which had some topical joking which dates the game launch rather than being on-trend now. For example there?s a paranoid tweet from Willow blasting poor Pip Pipdashian?s antics at a party which was tagged #Obamacare and #illuminati. Actually, there?s an interesting theory which Samantha Rullo goes into on Bustle about whether Willow is actually a manifestation of all the things Kim can?t ever say or do without destroying her brand.

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Kim Kardashian!

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And there it is ? the point where I always tap out [KLICK] from the game. I now have a manager, a publicist, a fledgling feud with Willow and the patronage of Kim. Once I got as far as dating a girl called Michelle Murphy but the game kept interrupting a real life dinner date I was on because I didn?t manage the time and energy well and Michelle ended up losing interest in me. At that point I realised I?d need to be more careful about the game and meeting its demands and started to drift away. Calls from my manager went unanswered, messages from Kim(?) about needing to maintain my profile were ignored and Pip Pipdashian faded from public life. I mean, I can dig around in the experience and try and give it meaning because I know a lot about celebrity culture and about Kim Kardashian?s public life but ultimately the game isn?t fun for me, no matter how many knowing nods it gives.

All I know is that I am Pip Pipdashian and I do not enjoy simply clicking things.

This article was originally published last week as part of the RPS Supporter Program.

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