AT some point during the fourth hour of playing a new video-game version of “Project Runway,” a sensation of nausea rolled in, like what happens when you finally pick your face up off the couch after a marathon viewing of the show.
“I liked it very much,” said the voice of Heidi Klum, who could find no wrong with the cartoon version of a model wearing a moss-colored knit dress with long sleeves and a block pattern, big gold hoops in her ears, mauve lipstick and, as a discreet touch of bling, a beret in the shape of a $. “I thought it was very chic.”
Chic? It was god-awful. But if this reporter — er, designer — has learned anything from watching seven seasons of the show, it is to always listen to Tim Gunn.
In the game, released this week for the Wii system, Mr. Gunn introduces each challenge (hip-hop couture, cutting-edge punk, cheerleader uniform) with a list of exactly what the judges want to see. It is the player’s job to sort through a virtual closet of items to locate and drag them onto the body of a model avatar.
Then it’s on to hair and makeup, using the wireless controller to apply blush and eyeliner. Chunky highlights? Check. Deep Blue Sea lipstick? Check. On the runway, you use the controllers to effect a perfect strut, blow kisses and strike poses; the judges respond with signature quips, which sound suspiciously like sound bites lifted from last season’s episodes.
The game, by the way, is targeted to girls ages 6 to 12 (and other fans of the show).
“Fashion is becoming one of the most powerful motivators for the teen and tween audiences,” said Jonathan Anastas, a vice president at Atari, which developed the game. “At the very least, we are giving an authentic expression of the runway experience.”
That depends on your experience. Since the virtual skimmy tops and skinny jeans are basically caricatures of designer clothes, the game starts to seem like a job at Forever 21. To win, you have to conform to the rules, which is an odd message from a show that encourages individual vision in a designer. So this one decided to throw it a challenge and see what would happen.
For a Harajuku look, a white shirt and silvery gray skirt were selected rather than the Victorian dress Mr. Gunn suggested.
“She just looks like tinfoil,” Michael Kors said.
At least the judges were paying attention.
By Eric Wilson from the New York Times:March 3,2010.
Im really excited about this because I have Wii and man do i love Project Runway! Mom will be purchasing this game! lol