There are two things that shame me as a man:
First, I have a collection of Hello Kitty cell phone trinkets that would make a twelve year old Japanese schoolgirl beam with pride. There is a good reason I have amassed this wealth of dangly goodness but this is neither the time nor the place to defend my less- than-masculine obsession. Second, is Konami’s new PSP title, Brooktown High and the frequency with which I play it.
You are a new student at Brooktown High School. It is your senior year, you are single, and you must score with as many hotties as is humanly (or in this case, digitally) possible. This is as close to being a player as you are going to get without contracting the cold sores and awkward itching that comes with the title, Medium Pimpmaster Supreme, which is what I was known as in high school. Okay, not totally true but this game allows me to rectify that.
Playing the game is a relatively straightforward procedure. You start out with crappy clothes that are so Beverly Hills 90210. Sick of being called Vanilla Ice, you get a job to make some scratch and then use your earnings to go online and buy newer, more OC-esque clothing and accessories so that you may woo the womenfolk. This is all done from the computer that your parents so generously gave you.
Once you are sporting the proper gear, the time has come to bust out your flow and snag the ladies. This is where the game starts to feel like a teeny-bopper version of Leisure Suit Larry. If getting action were this simple, porn would become obsolete. Essentially, bagging the girls can be broken down into three phases: talking, talking, and dating. Like its adult predecessor, there is an immense amount of dialogue in this game. If you say the right thing, she becomes more attracted to you but if you say the wrong thing, it’s back to the Vaseline and Cheetos Saturday nights.
Eventually, you will hopefully score her phone number. After getting those precious digits, you may actually be able to hit her up for a date. Having talked rather extensively to your jailbait darling, you know what she likes and dislikes and how you handle these preferences will play into how successful of a hustler you really are. You can also give her gifts and do her favors (not those kind) to get her to like you more. And of course, all of this leads up to the big night when you stop being a solo pianist and join a duet.
There you have it, that is just how easy being a smooth operator can be…in a perfect world without cock-blocking jocks, school grades, and college to worry about. Oh yes, there is more.
You are not the only man (or woman depending on your preference) at Brooktown High. Many other people wander the hallowed halls of this clichéd institution. You have your astronomy nerds, your volleyball playing jocks, your elitist French club snobs, punks, and whoever else happened to live within the enrollment borders of the school. All of these people also have their eye on the prize and you must dodge and subvert them whenever possible.
This is where politics comes in. What you say to one person, may affect the interactions you have with another student. Some students may ask you to do favors for them and these may help or hinder your progress with everyone else. Interact with enough of the student body and you will soon be knee deep in all of the drama and infighting that made high school such a delight to attend.
As if you didn’t have enough on your plate already, toss on a report card grading system to balance along with your social and personal woes. Contrary to popular belief, you are attending high school for a reason and it does not have to do with procreation. You must attend and study for your classes. Failure to maintain good grades means failure to get into college. Failure to get into college means failure to get a good job. Failure to get a good job means failure to be in a position of power that may one day allow you to snort coke off of a hooker’s back and as far as I am concerned, that is the pinnacle of achievement.
Stay in school kids; in Brooktown High that means you need to attend one class a week, not be tardy for said class, and study other subjects to keep your grades up. Joining a club can also help you in this scholastic juggling act as well as get you closer to some of the girls.
I think I like Brooktown High. I have always mildly enjoyed dating sims such as Tokimeki Memorial and Leisure Suit Larry and this game combines the two fairly well. The juggling of all the aspects of your life can get a wee bit tedious but waking up in your virtual bed with a stupid grin on your face and a cheerleader cuddled up next to you is worth it, right? I find myself replaying the kissing mini-games and enjoy coming up with new ways to interact with everyone but I am not sure how much longer this relationship is going to last. Brooktown High has lots of options and even a few decent unlockable songs via your in-game computer; but when it is all said and done, the game is rather shallow and its repetitive nature is already starting to eat at me.
I think this will be a classic pump ‘em and dump ‘em scenario; there are many other fish in the sea and this one is already starting to smell a tad ripe.