Slaying enemies is hard! Let’s go shopping!

February 14th, 2005: Mike Sugarbaker says...
Slaying enemies is hard! Let’s go shopping!

Hasbro’s showing something at Toy Fair that they are openly calling a roleplaying game for pre-teenage girls. Star Sisters didn’t teach them a lesson, apparently. It’s called Dreamlife, and it seems to be some sort of self-contained electronic thingie. I’m actually really intrigued by this. I’m not sure whether it’ll be a huge success due to its essentially being Animal Crossing, a huge failure due to its essentially being Animal Crossing… or a huge failure due to its not essentially being The Sims.

Let me explain what I think the difference is. In D&D, your character accumulates stuff – XP and items – in order to become a bigger badass than anyone else. In The Sims, as in Animal Crossing, you still have to accumulate stuff, but the why of it is different – you’re doing it to have more choices. Your growth aspiration isn’t upward, but outward. So, The Sims and its near-analogues like AC are not saliently competitive but still give you something to strive for, and I think that’s why The Sims is the best-selling PC game of all time. It’s among the only video games out there that are really more dollhouse than D&D. Whether Dreamlife embodies this distinction will be interesting to watch.

Anyway – they are also apparently showing a Candyland DVD game that makes your living room into the board. I’d joke about how the D&D Scourge of Whatever DVD should have made your apartment into the Caves of Chaos, or about that Candyland LARP I wanted to run once that involved doing shots when you lost rock-paper-scissors… but I think maybe the confluence of this kind of game with LARPs could really be fruitful. I’m not quite sure how yet.

I know I’ll regret opening comments on this, but ehh.


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