Friday, November 11, 2011

American Dream

Ever had a dream? Did it include making millions of dollars off the stock profits of celebrities? Then you've found the right game in American Dream, the artsy Flash project thing that mocks consumerism! Yay!


American Dream is a rough approximation of the actual social dynamic of the western world, though pushed to somewhat ludicrous limits. Your goal is simple: make $1,000,000 bartering on the stock market each day, buying and selling stocks that are... well...

Yeah. Celebrities. Bill Cosby, Mr. T, Rick Astley, Michael Jackson... each one is worth a bit more than the last, and you need to buy and sell your way up the ranks to eventually earn $1,000,000 and win the game. Yay.

But there's a catch! See, you're a trendy, go-getting little industrialist-type, and so you need to keep your home well-furnished so that people will go to your parties and appreciate all of your stuff. Naturally your furniture becomes outdated in a hurry, so replacing it all on a regular basis is a necessity. (Like, almost immediately after you buy the stuff.)


American Dream is pretty simple. You use the arrow keys to navigate the menus (or your house), and the action key (z) to confirm, well, actions. My browser cut off the actions printed at the bottom of the screen and wouldn't let me scroll down, so I floundered about on the keyboard until I discovered what was what. If this happens to you, keep Z in mind.


American Dream is... okay. I like the 8-to-16-bit look of the house, but the rest of the game is pretty crude, the stuff of the Commodore 64 era. Which is fine, since it's supposed to be an ugly subject, though I will admit that I found the weird flashing pictures of peoples' faces rather annoying. They are meant to be obnoxious, however, soooo... mission accomplished?


The music in American Dream borders on the edge of old, harddrive-generated music, albeit slightly better. I enjoy the jaunty The Sims-esque song that plays whenever you're in the house, but the weird techno stuff that plays whenever you go to work is... bleh.

Challenge Rating

Though it takes a while, earning $1,000,000 in American Dream is pretty damn easy. Do as your 'advisor' says and buy low, sell high. Jump on stocks in the negative and sell 'em when they're in the positive. The stocks fluctuate every time you go between screens, so you won't have any trouble getting your investments to soar. Then buy better stocks until you make your way up the playing field. (Oh, and despite the early pressure to buy new stuff for your house, you don't have to at all. There's no penalty for ignoring your house, as far as I can tell.)

In short, American Dream is not challenging. I don't think that's the point of the game, however, so... shrug?


American Dream is an odd experience. It's an art game with a message, but getting to the message isn't fun. You just mess with prices and buy new stuff until you win. I suppose that's exactly the way the programmers wanted it to go, but the end result isn't terribly compelling. Still, it's worth playing for the rather grim picture it paints of the world of high finance.


No comments:

Post a Comment