Playboy: The Mansion
Playboy magazine has been treating women as a commodity since 1953. Back then it made great sense to dignify airbrushed soft pornography by sandwiching it between serious articles written by the finest brains of the time. Nowadays, thanks to ex-military technology, you’re only a few mouse clicks away from infinite scenes of smut. The internet is full of people who have made their empires through pornography that makes Playboy founder Hugh Hefner something of an antiquated figure or museum piece. Now you get to play as Hugh through the medium of a videogame that’s a bit like The Sims. If you consider that the dolls house formula of the world’s best-selling videogame is known for being very popular with female gamers, you have to wonder what it’s doing in a game so obviously aimed at men.
Being Hugh Hefner requires that you stick to the setup and keep Playboy running by commissioning articles, setting up photo shoots and being popular. You keep popular by having parties and inviting the right people. And you get to flirt with women, give them gifts, tell them a few jokes and entice them to have sex on a piece of furniture because woman are that shallow. Maybe it was in the contract, we don’t know why, but it does seem that Hugh can rut for an indefinite amount of time too.
Games offer rewards to keep you playing. By making and selling Playboy you earn money, which you spend on objects for your mansion to make your lifestyle more glamorous and enviable. Problem is that Hugh starts off in his Mansion. Admittedly areas of this crib do unlock over time but you still start off as a man in a dressing gown who lives an expensive lifestyle before you’ve even made a single issue of the magazine. You can impress a woman and entice her to put out. You can throw parties. Unless you count the prospect of photographing a different playmate as enticing, then there is little to encourage you to play on. And the Playmates all look reasonably similar anyway. The playboy lifestyle just doesn’t provide the same sense of nurturing that you get from playing The Sims, it just makes you see woman as currency and that may well be a valid critique, but it doesn’t make for much fun. There’s something a bit creepy about Hefner, too. A bit like when your dad has had a glass of wine and starts flirting with your girlfriend at the dinner table.