I am a pop culture writer in America and a renowned Kardashiologist and the lucky beneficiary of an economic system that does not require me to do hard physical work to feed and clothe my family, so on a Tuesday afternoon I began playing Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.
I held off on doing this for weeks, even as the game became a $200 million runaway hit and the inescapable subject of a thousand whimsical think pieces like the one I am now writing.
By midnight on my first day I have a to-do list in the game that’s as complicated as the one I have in life. So the Kardashian game isn’t just about providing you and me with the opportunity to vicariously live the life of a professional celebrity.
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If we perform a task and get a reward, even a meaningless one, our brains release dopamine; if we perform that task but get the reward only intermittently, our brains release more dopamine when we do get the reward. I notice that just ordering the drink gets me a little doot-doot-doot digital fanfare and some kind of meow-meow bean that brings me closer to leveling up.
But the gameplay itself is an extension of the compensatory mythology of hard work that the Ks have created around their body of industrious nonwork.

But what you find out pretty quickly is that if you try to play using only your natural game-granted supply of lightning bolts, the Kardashian game is no fun at all.
Changing the clock on my phone seems like a recipe for real-life disaster, as do the various files you can download to goose your stats.
I straightened some stacks of jeans and counted out the register, and before long I was outside, ready to lock the doors.
But I’ve learned from experience after experience that mobile games should not and cannot be a part of my life. We shuffle through the options available and pick out a more Kim-like dress that has only one sleeve. Rob, the Kardashian who’s grown fat and listless and depressed over the last few seasons.
You’re aware that you don’t really control your fate, that the choices the game gives you are illusory, but hey, look, free fake money on the ground! She had some sort of wardrobe emergency happening and wanted to know if the store was closed.

My energy level has crept back up to a paltry five lightning bolts and Shiva the Destroyer’s cell phone is ringing.
At this rate I’m never going to claw my way up to the D-list, no matter how many Miami parties Kim invites me to.
And whenever my energy flagged I dipped into my Louis purse and spent a few more K-shekels on a few more lightning bolts.
And as we climb, Kim is always there, in chirpy avatar form, telling us we’re worth it, telling us our dresses look super cute.

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