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Game Profile
PlayStation 2
Arush Entertainment
Cyberlore Studios
GENRE: Simulation
January 25, 2005
Playboy: The Mansion

 Written by Chris Reiter  on July 18, 2005

Review: I stuck my "head" in the "rabbit hole" and am now "sifting" through Alice's "wonderland."

It drives us. Winds us. Combines us. We adhere to it. We need it. We please it. It takes off our clothes and makes us beg for mercy. It makes us go gaga in our minds, and in our actions. Its razzle dazzle, hormonal combustive lure has our hearts pumping, our palms sweating, our eyebrows rising, and our libidos going mad. It is sex, the lotion for passion and obsession. People are slaves to the will of animal instincts. We cannot avoid its lust, because after all humans are born with a temptation for desire. Boys want toys and girls want to be princesses. Yet, it's odd how the boys end up wanting the princesses later in life, and how the girls want the toys that the boys then bring to the bedroom. But sometimes boys and girls don't get everything they want in this world, and some people wither away leading a desolate life of lonely despair, or perhaps one of an unhappy bondage. For whatever reason people (or men in this case) crave that spark to light their model fantasies aflame, millions have turned to the most popular magazine that has fueled their erotic senses with overwhelming mania. Thanks to founder Hugh Hefner, the legacy of the Playboy magazine (with its secluded and glamorous mansion) has gotten men to drool over naked beauts like the slobbering dogs they are for several decades. It's been more than fifty years now that boys have been hiding these pages under their pillows and husbands have been telling their wives they read it for the articles. Now it's time for ARUSH Entertainment, Groove Games, and Cyberlore Studios to go beyond the laminated paper and give gamers some of that hot, wild, feverish interaction they need, want, and know they can never ever have.

It's not every day that you'd be the one asked to put together a magazine. But then, this isn't just any day and you're not just any individual. You are Hugh Hefner, the ambiguous philanderer whose empire is built off of the premiere magazine publication that gets male (and possibly female) audiences off. Playboy: The Mansion asks its players to complete one simple request. Okay, maybe it's more than a request. A lot more. You must live the lifestyle of Hugh Hefner, but you must also do his job for him. That lazy son of a... He's probably too busy popping cherries to make his own "banana split." That's the bait on the hook, though. YOU be Hugh. YOU do what Hugh does. In this simulation inspired by the real world Playboy Mansion, you control the operations of the magazine from the body of the man who built it. You mingle with his guests. You arrange for his staff. You setup what the interior and exterior decorations will look like. You put his magazine together. You converse with, photograph, and do his women. You are Hugh Hefner now.

Ever play the game newspaper when you were still small? In line with similar games like house or doctor, the only difference is your team's profession is tackling journalism rather than nursing patients or playing the part of a prissy wife, her devilishly handsome cheating spouse, or the troubled young'un. The focal point of newspaper was, yes of course, to establish in some form of way a legible vision for how a newspaper would look if made from the minds of your siblings/friends and yourself. One person might take charge of writing a story column about their daily relationships with those they know around them, where another could take an interest in criticizing the foods they're often prone to gorge on. Playboy: The Mansion faintly resembles that particular favorite activity amongst kids. Because in Playboy, you must figure out the how's and who's to appointing different jobs toward a slew of associates and employees from a growing roster of famous and talented people that are most of which easy on the eyes, or possibly just plain easy. It would be great if Playboy played more akin to the newspaper game, since there you'd actually get to inscribe or visually bring about the material of your own makings. Here in Playboy, the only imagery you'll be inducing is cover and centerfold shots. Additionally, authority over who gets to pen articles and interviews are in your (or Hugh's) possession. Oddly enough however, these are stories that you'll never be the author or spectator of as there is no finished full-bodied magazine available within the game period. This sim's ultimate goal mainly concentrates on surviving a total of 15 assignments collaborating a series of tasks in each one geared toward properly finalizing the next new Playboy issue. Yet, you're unable to seriously construct its embodiment or even participate in being one of the thousands of fictional audience members who does enjoy each end product's conclusive mold.

Precisely what the variety of duties in Playboy consists of pertains to each sequential mission. With every passing installment you're aiming to produce sets up its own myriad of themes and topics to abide by. One month the game will want to focus on sports, the "thing that's in." Organizing a sports-related issue then will become a primary task. To get through this segment first, there are multiple factors that will apply into evolving the situation. For example, baseball legend Jose Canseco and professional skater Robert Dyrdek will be dropping by to visit. It's imperative that Hef is to meet with of either the two fellows and ask of them a feature -- be it an interview or an essay. Translating a VIP's junk into the pages of Playboy is done by conversing with them, and then ordering one of your staff's journalists to question said star in the case of an interview. Differently, essays come around when the celebrity is asked to provide one. That means they'll compose the material themselves. Whatever the case happens to be, when the written articles do come back in full, they're nothing except automated titles. There is no in-depth scripture to read but the article title placed on a checklist of magazine material you can mark either on or off for filling up the magazine's quota. In the same month opposite of this is actually the main persistent motif that wants to tie loose knots with arguing ninnies. Hef will need to invite a number of people over to get those on opposite ends of a hissy fit back on the same page. Other times Hef will throw parties to make certain guests happy and to score bonus content. He'll have to get hookups with people. He'll have to hook guests up with one another. He'll have to hook his place up with furniture to gain the artifice of pleasing others. Then there's all the other sorts of challenges required for fulfilling issues all in a month's work, from hiring a Playmate to pose for a nudie shot centerfold style, to plainly demanding a pictorial or article from one of the experts on your payroll.

Business and pleasure definitely does come in full circle within Playboy: The Mansion. This is an interesting path to play in part because of all the ingredients you'll keep having to stir into the batter right off, as well as the ones that are continually being poured in deepening the load. To run a successful publication, you'll learn how to manage the work side on top of the playing field that'll net you the names, bodies, and faces of whom puts the honey in the honey jar. But it's with this system where repetition and obvious lack of polish drain the fun from it all. As Hugh has to keep up with the collection of ordeals that'll pay off for the capping of the magazine every month, he's also got to be on top of the amounting statistics of what's going on around him. Namely this has everything to do with the funds you'll be in control of over the course of the game. You didn't think calibrating a magazine was going to be free, did you? All of Hugh's staff, his furniture, the Playmates that he buys, the parties that he invites guests to, the articles: they're all possible because Hugh has a big enough wallet. Oftentimes objectives require Hugh to get in touch with celebrities so he can console them into taking part in the magazine, or be persuaded to let someone else in on it, or to give him the information sought after to get that someone else he's told is crucial for that month's completion, and so on. Whatever the case, the point is Hugh must ultimately bribe any important person he just has to have so that they'll stop by and party at his place. These NPCs do not just show up by chance at Hugh's mansion. In order to drag them on by, you'll need to arrange for a social gathering to close in on them. But then, parties aren't a ball until you have at least a formation of five or more people included in the festivities at once (which is a necessity, not a negotiable privilege). Starting from five, up to ten persons can be invited to drink, talk, and fall in love at Hugh's pad; but the catch is that the more people Hugh invites over the more money it's going to cost him. This whole thing draws back to the money issue, where without enough pennies left in the piggy bank you're sunk.

Hugh's cash flow is a very important aspect to the survival of the game, because Hugh doesn't have an unlimited amount of dollars at his will. He cannot call upon the dark lord of the underworld and conjure up some extra green. What is more important, is he must continue to fend off the demons who are always dipping into his wallet more and more. Every so often (about every 15-20 minutes of play time in the game), a message will appear notifying you that the staff, the maintenance, and the girlfriends have been commissioned their dues. For doing what, it doesn't say. One suspicion is it's all for bribing these people to remain a part of your gang. If you're unable to slip these individuals moola every so often, you'll be informed of the decrease in their valued happiness. This can lead to quitting time, which can lead to Hef being one man short of the job. Letting go of staff members on command is something you can do yourself, although the right thing to do is to keep at least a couple of each type of staff member on site. This increases Hugh's productivity, which also increases his popularity initiative. As Hef's money is gradually lost -- paying off his staff, funding the magazine requirements, and furnishing his empty house and its outer shell with couches, plants, exercise machines, portraits, lamps, and a vast number of other pleasantries that can range in the high tens and hundreds of thousands proximity -- his only means of getting some money back is by going to print with the magazine. Or if it comes down to it, opening up the game's cheat menu and expending points earned from finishing objectives upon the Mo Money code that instantly funnels $5,000 into Hugh's account. Don't count your chickens before they hatch, however. Since Hugh only garners a few points per task completion, the idea is not to fervently rely on this double-dealing deception. Besides, you might want to stock up on those points for something unlocking the real-life centerfold shots encompassed from decades of past Playboy playmate's photographs in one entirely sexy list. Sticking to the game plan and driving the magazine to readiness is what'll reap Hef the higher rewards (think hundreds of thousands) for every issue he pulls out of his butt. But to do that, this goal must not be done haphazardly. It must be done right.

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