April 10, 2008
Calming those wedding-day jitters, virtually
It's a good thing all this insanity comes with a "quit" function.
Wedding-themed video games for PCs and mobile phones are a small but growing segment of the industry that offers a fun, tension-relieving distraction for women planning a wedding. Yes, the plots are simple, but the games themselves rely on brainpower and observation -- a marked difference from the first-person shooters often found in the groom's Xbox 360.
In the wireless phone game "My Bridezilla" (AMA), you play Michelle, the scientist sister of the bride-to-be and default maid of honor. Your sister visits you at the lab and, while walking off in a huff, crashes into a cart of chemicals that turns her into a green monster whenever she gets mad. The player selects a line of dialogue to continue the action in this interactive adventure game. The wrong conversation will anger the bride, and too much anger turns the bride into Bridezilla, which forces you to replay the scene. In the final scene, the groom's sister becomes the spawn of Satan, and it's your job to get the bride so angry she turns into Bridezilla for the final showdown.
Given that the soon-to-be newlyweds are named Elizabeth Olivia Greenberg and Jake Winston Weiss, it's odd that the couple is getting married at Sacred Hearts Chapel. What, no synagogues or hotels in this virtual town?
"My Bridezilla" also features two minigames: One involves tackling people who try to steal food, dresses and flowers; the other takes a little more brainpower as you create cakes and antidotes in the lab. Once you beat the main game it unlocks the minigames, allowing you to play them as often as you want without replaying the entire game.
"Dream Day" Trilogy
The "Dream Day" trilogy (Oberon) -- "Dream Day Wedding," "Dream Day Honeymoon" and "Dream Day First Home" -- is a "Where's Waldo" homage to the big day for your Windows-based PC (98-Vista). This first-person puzzle adventure tests the player's memory by locating different items as well as solving hidden-object puzzle and memory games.
"Dream Day Wedding" has gamers visiting the florist, gown shop, bakery and other shops to find objects to make your friend Jenny's wedding day a dream. Minigames between shopping trips helps unlock a secret honeymoon level, and the "Choose a Story" feature allows you to explore how the couple met, fell in love and got engaged. And what would a wedding game be without a few crisis moments to solve?
Once you get the happy couple hitched, it's off to "Dream Day Honeymoon," where you help the happy couple solve their honeymoon troubles by uncovering hidden treasures in beautiful and romantic tropical locations.
And in "Dream Day First Home," Jenny and Robert return from their honeymoon and need your help choosing the house, shopping and redecorating.
While all three titles are highly addictive, anyone who gets a headache from staring at a screen too long might want to set a timer -- you can only search for a bowling pin in a jewelry shop for so long before you go cross-eyed. No word yet on "Dream Day Delivery."
Fans of the reality TV series, "Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?" will eat up this game version of a wedding planner's day from hell. "Wedding Dash" (PlayFirst) is from the makers of "Diner Dash" (it even features a cameo by Flo the Waitress) and is available for both PC and Mac.
As Quinn, you have to help the bride and groom put together their perfect wedding. But you have to deal with drunken guests, tipsy cakes and girls that put the "b" in bridesmaid, all the while trying to earn money to keep your business afloat. Piece of cake.
The game is gentle on the first-timer by starting out slow, but "Wedding Dash's" ending -- like plenty of titles aimed at guys -- is not so clearly defined and it's easy to get lost in the game play.
"My Fantasy Wedding"
For those who prefer planning their own wedding instead of someone else's, there's the PC game, "My Fantasy Wedding" (ValuSoft). Those who are in the midst of planning an actual wedding might find little entertainment in picking the groom, cake, bridesmaids and dress. But this game lets you also pick the location (so can have that beach wedding you dreamed of). In the end, you can watch the wedding of your dreams take place.
Although there's no rabbi, chuppah or family drama, this is still fun for gals who have a few years to go before their nuptials.
"Cake Mania" and "Cake Mania 2"
"Cake Mania" (Sandlot Games) is an arcade-style game featuring culinary school grad Jill. Her grandparents' shop is closed and it's up to you as the master baker to help them reopen. Grow your cake-making business by setting up sites in different locales (Why does anyone need a bakery at the circus or in the middle of a casino?) and keep your customers happy. Buy enough upgrades to make wedding cakes and really start bringing in the "dough." Warning: Cupids have a very short temper.
Available for the PC and mobile phones, "Cake Mania" might have enough action to keep even the most impatient fiancÃ(c) occupied as you're picking out the perfect invitations.
While these titles won't do much to help you plan your wedding day, they offer a much-needed break for a bride-to-be's brain (and that of her bridal party). Hey, it's cheaper than therapy.