A few weekends ago I found myself inside of a Toys R Us store in the final days before the retailer closed for good. I had stopped by on a whim to see if there were any good video game deals, but unfortunately the store was mostly picked over. Most of the gaming department was empty aside from one sad looking case full of copies of Just Dance for the Wii and Skylanders figures as far as the eye could see. I was ready to leave the store empty-handed and defeated, when out the corner of my eye I spotted a section that I had missed on my first pass. There were only about a dozen or so games scattered about the shelves, but there on the end cap of misfit games I spotted something unique, and I knew that I was there for the right reasons.
The Bachelor for the Nintendo DS was released in 2010 and is based on the hit television series of the same name. In case you’re unfamiliar with the show, the premise is simple: a group of 25 or so women (or men in the case of The Bachelorette) move into a house together and vie for the love of one man. They go on group dates (which usually involve some sort of competition) and one on one dates, which give one lucky contestant the chance to try to make a lasting impression. At the end of the week they hold a rose ceremony in which The Bachelor eliminates a few unlucky gals and the process is repeated week after week until only two women remain. At the end he must choose one woman to walk off into the sunset with, typically proposing to her in the finale.
I’ve been a fan of the show for several years after Adam turned me onto it, and I was curious to see how they could translate a full season of the show which features over 20 hours of flirting, fighting, drunkenness & make out sessions into a video game for the Nintendo DS, so I brought the game to the checkout counter and slapped down my two dollars and forty cents as the teenager behind the counter gave me a look halfway between curiosity and pity. I raced home and grabbed my 3DS off of the shelf which had been collecting quite a layer of dust, and after recharging the long dead system I was ready to find my soul mate.
Let’s Do The Damn Thing
Now let’s make one thing perfectly clear before we go any further, this game is hot ass trash. It’s just…. really bad. It would be difficult to call the television show “good”, but it has a certain guilty pleasure quality that makes it irresistible. It’s a train wreck of human behavior but I just can’t look away. The video game on the other hand is just a disaster of poor design and terrible execution.
As the game begins you’re given the choice of whether or not to compete in The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. I choose the former although it really doesn’t matter at all which you pick because there’s no discernible difference other than just flip-flopping the character art. You’re then shown whose heart you’ll be competing for which includes an incredibly small bio about the person. But again, it doesn’t really matter who the person is or what their interests are because their personalities are completely inconsequential to the game.
Each “season” of the game takes place over the course of 3 episodes with each episode lasting roughly 15 minutes. That might seem like an incredibly short amount of time, but after a couple of episodes you’ll be grateful that it doesn’t drag on any longer. The episodes are all identical in structure and are divided into three-part, the group date, the one-on-one date, and the rose ceremony. The group date includes 4 mini games which have you competing against another contestant while the one-on-one has you playing one of those same games, but just by yourself.
The Game of Love
The mini games are a collection of Mario Party rejects which manage the impressive feat of being both completely unentertaining and having nothing even remotely to do with the material the game is based on. One game might have you tapping the screen to collect casino chips as they fall, while another has you tapping the screen to fill up a meter and inflate a hot air balloon. On a future date I found myself tapping the screen to collect feathers as they fell, followed by tapping the screen to fill up a meter to…. wait a second…. something seems off. Yes, the developers created only a handful of games and then reskined them to give the appearance of variety, making this collection of games as shallow as Corrine Olympios (that’s a deep cut for you fans of the show).
Now, this structure could have maybe worked if they had created minigames that took advantage of the source material. How about a game where you have to carefully time your interrupting of another contestants poolside chat with the Bachelor? Or perhaps a game which has you choosing from a series of dialog options to spread just the right awful rumor about the other housemates? Or a game that has you attempting to walk your drunken self back to your bedroom without falling into the hot tub? There was actual some potential for them to create some funny games had they taken advantage of the trashy nature of the show, but instead they feel dull and uninspired.
After completing four games for the group date, and one more for the one on one date (even though contestants never get both on a single episode of the show), you finish the episode with the Rose Ceremony. I use the term “ceremony” very loosely, since it just boils down to showing you a screen with a rose that says “You Win!” if you won enough of the games. It’s a pathetic and anticlimactic ending to each episode that leaves you bored and wondering if the developers had ever even seen an episode of the show.
Take A Moment, Say Your Goodbyes
There’s really not much more to say about it. There is an extra mode which lets you take a personality quiz to test your compatibility with real life Bachelor and Bachelorettes, but that’s about it. It’s a short, boring video game that has nothing at all to offer a fan of the show who wad maybe hoping to see the series translated into a game. I was hoping for one of those “so bad it’s good” type of games, but The Bachelor is just plain shit and somehow manages to not be worth the $2.40 that I spent on it. After I completed my season I felt like one of the rejected contestants on the show. Disappointed, embarrassed, and hanging my head in shame.