Desperate Housewives

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Desperate Housewives


Digitised housewives with stories to tell

Always wanted to be... a housewife?

Always wanted to be... no, not a pirate, nor a captain of a space ship, but a housewife?

Are you certain that your neighbours are hiding some terrible secrets - or do you at least hope that they were, to make it worthwhile for you to spy on them and provide you with some delicious gossip to spread around the neighbourhood? Is there some dark incident in your past that you guard closely - or do you at least wish that there was, to make your life more interesting? If so, you may soon get to live out that sort of drama in the game Desperate Housewives.

The game is based on the hit television series Desperate Housewives, an award-winning series and one of the most popular shows on primetime television. The show has even been called a pop culture phenomenon, and this game will be the latest addition to the show's spin-offs which also include a board game, clothing, ringtones for phones and a cookbook. The publisher Buena Vista Games is cooperating with ABC Entertainment and Touchstone Television to bring the Desperate Housewives franchise to gamers. The game is currently in development at Liquid Entertainment, and is scheduled to arrive on the market this fall. The script for the game will be written by Scott Sanford Tobis, a writer for the TV series. According to early reports, the title will resemble the popular Sims series of games.

Life of a housewife - cooking and gardening, or stealing and murdering?

With its emphasis on social interaction and dialogue, the game is supposed to appeal to women and particularly to those who are fans of the show. In this game described as a 'lifestyle simulation', the player takes the role of a new housewife who has just moved onto Wisteria Lane, a seemingly perfect and idyllic neighbourhood that is, however, steaming with scandals and secrets. The game will enable players to customise their in-game persona; their home and furniture, their appearance (from facial features and body type to clothing) and other such things apparently considered important for housewives.

Through controlling the character, the players can participate in the drama played out in the TV series: try to expose secrets and meddle in the domestic scandals that are familiar from the show. They get a chance to interact with their neighbours and live through a plot based on the world of the show, with an episodic story in which the player uncovers the mysteries behind the lives of her seemingly ordinarily perfect neighbours. To add to the secrets piled on one single neighbourhood, the player learns that she has been in a car accident and suffered from amnesia for the past 20 years - so there should be more than enough delicious (or notorious) secrets in her own past that she will naturally try to unlock.

As the story unfolds, the player has a choice of being either kind or mean to the other occupants of the Wisteria Lane. Some activities included in the game are such traditionally 'housewify' activities as cooking tests and gardening competitions, but also playing poker and sneaking into neighbours' houses. Perhaps to make the life of a housewife more interesting, such scandalous activities are also included as stealing things (or, better yet, somebody else's husband!), or trampling someone's flowerbed!

Will we ever see Eva Longoria (Gabrielle) in this game?

As those who have watched the show cannot have helped noticing, a sight that appears in nearly every episode is Gabrielle in her lingerie (which might explain why some husbands have been caught watching the show). However, the only one of the stars of the TV series thus far promised to appear in the game is Brenda Strong, the voice of the deceased housewife Mary Alice Young, who will take the role of the narrator for the game. Negotiations with other members of the cast concerning their appearance in the game are said to be under way.

The graphics, at least at this point, are nothing spectacular, although the houses and even some of the characters should be easily recognisable for those who have watched the show. Overall, the graphics give the game a relatively cartoony, Sims-like appearance.

Just how desperate are you?

The game is promised to allow the players to live out all the gossip, drama and intrigue of a true desperate housewife. To a real housewife such as myself, such a life sounds more than a little far-fetched - but then, why should the game be about sorting the laundry and cooking dinner when you can do more than enough of that in the real life? All in all, the game is said to include gossip, betrayal, murder and sex - all the things that women like, according to the producers (as a housewife but apparently not a particularly desperate one, I admit liking only one of those), but whether the game will turn out to be popular with the fans of the TV show and convert them into regular gamers remains to be seen.