Before the headline causes you to think I’m nothing but a hater, I’ll tell you that my 8-year-old daughter loves Barbie with a passion that is unparalleled. She’s got over 20 dolls (some of them hand-me-downs), tons of accessories, the MegaBloks Barbie Build ‘N Style Luxury Mansion and the Barbie & Her Sisters in “A Pony Tale” Train and Ride Horse Playset. (The latter two were sent to us by a PR firm representing the brand.) I let my daughter have these toys because they result in such creative play on her part, it allows me to put my worries about their “pinkness” aside. I’ve bought her Barbie movies and books; I’ve even sat through multiple viewings of “Barbie in the Nutcracker.” But when I came across this gameplay footage of the Barbie Dreamhouse Party video game, I realized exactly where I’d draw the line with the plastic beauty.
Filmed by video game reviewer John Walker of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, this footage shows exactly how vapid the world of Barbie Dreamhouse Party is. Take a look:
In one section of the game, Barbie’s artificially intelligent closet locks Barbie and company in because one of the girls smudged her lipstick. (What?) The punishment the girls must face is to apply makeup to a giant Barbie head, and during the exercise one of the characters exclaims, “This is so my thing!” Ugh. That is so not my thing.
The game seems to stem from the “Life in the Dreamhouse” web series, which I’ll admit I didn’t know about until now, even though the show is on episode 45. In his review, Walker writes, “I think Barbie Dreamhouse Party might be the most sarcastic, darkly satirical game I’ve ever played.” Shortly after the game begins, Walker says, “you’ll enter Barbie’s opulent mansion, built from the tears of the decades of children her organless torso has traumatized. At this point, three screeching idiot friends join her, representing all of humanity: Dangerously thin and brunette, dangerously thin and black, and dangerously thin and a bit rock but not enough to worry anyone.” Wilson’s description of the mini-games is not only hilarious, but points to how idiotic the whole thing sounds. “In Chelsea’s bedroom I was forced to accessorize, matching belts and earrings to the dress Barbie’s wearing. Except it made me put clashing pinks and reds together, which was an affront. In the kitchen I had to throw cupcakes at a table. In the garage I had to drop cogs down a hole.” Wilson’s overall impression? “The challenges are facile beyond belief, and it’s fundamentally about the madness of competing against three other AI players who seem about as capable as their plastic real-life equivalents.”
No thanks. As of now, we still don’t own a game system, though my daughter does play occasionally at a friend’s house. Barbie Dreamhouse Party isn’t encouraging me to make this the Christmas we ask Santa for a DS.