A legacy of drugs, bad behavior, uncomfortable and exploitive relationships with her parents, and simply the impression that she is a lost victim of the Hollywood Star Machine has left her a shadow of her former stardom (to the point Oprah’s network ran a reality show on her attempts to rehabilitate her career). Add to this a series of legal disputes the most recent of which being with Rockstar Games where she insists a drug addled fame mongering character in the game is based around her likeness you’d assume she would not be the most aware of individuals simply looking for ways to prop up her flagging fortunes.
This assumption is neatly turned on its ear by the release of the video game bearing her name and cartoonish likness. Titled Lindsay Lohan’s The Price of Fame is possibly the most self aware and cynical glimpses in to the Hollywood Star System I’ve seen. Designed by the studio Space Inch (run by Andy Ross of OKGo who also coded a portion of the game) the mechanics are nearly non-existent and in many ways this feels like a direct response to Kim Kardashian’s Hollywood. It is difficult to tell the level of involvement that Lohan had with the game but she does promote it on her “personal” website which would lead one to believe she’s aware of it and it is not simply a branding exercise.
By contrast in Lohan’s The Price of Fame (available on iOS and Android) is tonally different, the only real life personalities in the Kardashian game via some of the most lazy and phoned in voice work I’ve ever heard (and yes this is compared to Dinklage in Destiny) while the opening of the game shows a quote, so far I’ve seen quotes from people like Einstein “With fame, I become more and more stupid, which of course is a very common phenomenon”, Dennis Prager’s “People can become addicted to fame, money, and attention as deeply as they become addicted to drugs”, Vicki Baum “Fame always brings loneliness. Success is as ice cold and lonely as the North Pole” even Julia Roberts “I don’t think I realized the cost of fame is that it’s open season on every moment of your life.”
Once you start the game you start earning fans, to do this you swipe over and over and over again. On your device you are presented with the image of a fan. When you swipe up you are given a fan that you can then use to purchase staff, take part in PR stunts, add entourage members become a victim of “conspicuous consumption” or personal upgrades to your background, clothing and appearance. There are the almost standard progressive nods towards sexuality and gender that were present in Kardashian’s game though more so with your avatar not being limited to what it wears and an outright statement indicating that gender and sexuality are artificial constructs. Remembering that for a long stretch Lohan was in a committed lesbian relationship this hammers home much of what may be leading to her alienation within the Hollywood community. There are even references to her personal struggles with the ability to purchase electronic tracking anklets like the ones worn during house arrest.
I don’t know if it is Ross’ involvement or Lohan has genuinely turned a corner in her life and has reached a state of zen awareness where she’s started to understand how she has both exploited and been exploited by the system but this is not a game that’s particularly positive but in fact a scathing indictment of the entire concept of fame in the post You Tube world. The most telling part that this is not a celebration of celebrity but an attack on it comes in the gameplay.
Combine this literal physical distress with the cynical subtext of the activities and quotes we have a very different message. Add to that the fact that after surrounding yourself with the right accoutrements your fame is literally out of your hands with it building and spiraling outwards even when you do nothing but sit and stare at the screen this game is more akin to art projects like Cart Life or I Get This Call Every Day which are art games that highlight the mundane and repetitive and often boring nature of daily life in the service of an underlying social and artistic message.
Now, at the end of the discussion it becomes is this “message” a self serving one trying to illicit pity or is it one where she has finally become aware of the realities of the world in which she dwells and the rarified air that she breaths? That is hard to tell but at the end of the day only she knows but regardless it’s a far more nuanced and layered exploration of fame than I ever expected out of a simple free to play micro-transaction driven project which quotes renowned thinkers and links to the New York Times.
- Suprisingly nuanced and somewhat tragic artistic subtext
- Cutesy design
- I don't have to listen to a Kardashian speak
- No gameplay what so ever unless you count repetitive stress injuries and micro-transactions as gameplay
0/5 or 5/5 depending on the artistic meaning