A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while the gameplay involved in this story-based puzzler is simple enough for younger gamers to handle, the subject matter is very adult. Nothing is ever graphic, but the stories that Gaby the blogger uncovers range from [SPOILER] a secret celebrity wedding and the surprise reunion of a boy band to a plastic surgery epidemic among starlets and a love triangle that leads to an unplanned pregnancy and a physical fight. It really is the kind of material you'd find on a celebrity gossip web site -- only amplified to cartoonish levels. Gaby is a terrible role model for kids and constantly does unethical and sometimes criminal things. Teens (and tweens) will glom onto stories like these, so parents should exercise caution is choosing this game.
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What's it about?
GOTCHA! CELEBRITY SECRETS follows Gaby, an amateur blogger, in her quest to gain the biggest Internet audience and thereby win an exclusive interview with a hunky megastar. Gaby travels to places where she knows celebrities will be, then seeks out informants (in a Where's Waldo-style seek-and-find game). She puts together the clues she gets from them in order to unearth -- and then publicize -- celebrity secrets. She uncovers a private wedding, the birth of a baby, the surprise reunion of a band, plastic surgery, and romantic affairs.
Is it any good?
Gotcha! Celebrity Secrets is designed as a casual game and it succeeds, providing hours of enjoyable, not-too-difficult gameplay. Fans of Where's Waldo and I Spy games in particular can have a lot of fun with the increasingly challenging people hunts (people you need to seek out are first assigned to you as full-body shots, but as the game goes one, you may get headshots only, or silhouettes, or just verbal descriptions). And the brain-teaser type games in between give a much-appreciated dose of variety. The major problem with Gotcha is that the typical fans of Where's Waldo and I Spy are kids, and it's safe to say that this game is not for kids. All the over-the-top behavior in the game is meant to be tongue-and-cheek, but young players may not get the farcical humor of it all and merely take it on face value. Tweens and teens may easily be attracted by not just the gameplay style, but the salacious subject matter, so parents need to be sure they're around to filter the messages coming through. Still, the game is fun -- if you're old enough to understand its humor and to not take its inappropriate blogging methods as modeling good behavior.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about celebrity gossip. When someone is famous and in the public eye, does that mean that people have the right to know about their personal lives? How do you feel about celebrity gossip magazines and websites?
Parents can also discuss plastic surgery with their children. Gaby seems disappointed in all the celebrities who get plastic surgery in the game. Why do you think those stars -- and real Hollywood celebs -- get plastic surgery? Is there an irony in Gaby's disappointment when it's often celebrity gossip sites like hers that make celebrities feel they need to get plastic surgery?
You can also talk about rationalization for what is essentially criminal behavior. Is the public's desire to know something a good enough reason for making that information known? What kind of informaiton would be important enough to break the law for? If this were real life, do you think any of the celebrities in the game would take action against Gaby's blog in court?
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