Where the magic/questionable decisions happen.
1. Lindsey Weber, editor at Vulture.com: $0
Okay. I personally have spent no money on the game. But I was writing about it a bunch for work, so I did the magical hack (you can Google how to do this pretty easily) because I had to make it go a bit faster for my purposes — so I could see the entirety of the fame letters (E to A) without wasting an entire weekend.
However, I strongly believe that you shouldn’t have to be spending money on this game! It’s actually enough of a well-made game that you can spread it out over time (as it intends you to do —aside from the fucked-up-ness surrounding the idea of in-app purchases, which are arguably necessary to fund the game!) This is very unlike games like Candy Crush — which puts up actual barriers between stages that you have to wait out, pay $0.99 for, or “ask friends” to push you through. The only thing you’re paying for in Kim’s game is go through it faster, essentially. Yes, it’s a silly concept, but it’s actually really well made game-wise: It’s at the same time self-aware and accurate, and there’s new stuff at every turn. Even the way you can interact with IRL friends in the game is pretty genius.
2. Claire Carusillo, writer: $4.99
I’m back home in Illinois for a few weeks while I contemplate next steps. I’ve never slept well, particularly as a stressed high schooler, and even before that as an anxious middle schooler, and being in my childhood bedroom with literally no clue what I’m doing with my life dredges up a lot of dormant (heh) sleep issues for me. For reasons I won’t ever understand (or recommend for my own conditional, potential child), I’ve been prescribed Ambien pretty liberally by my GP since I was about 13 or 14 years old. I learned probably earlier than most that sometimes, abusing Ambien can heighten experiences? I love reading/Wikipedia-ing/etc. on Ambien, but I consider myself to be pretty responsible about it all and never do anything wild outside of the confines of my hot pink childhood bedroom.
ALL THIS BACKSTORY TO SAY: Last night I was feeling a little down about myself, reading that part of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando where she’s with the gypsies until I just couldn’t with it anymore, and had precious little else to look at as a source of comfort besides Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Also important: I had a bottle of two-year expired Ambien in my bathroom cabinet!
Gameplay is indeed very boring because it’s always like, Simon shut upppppp. And I always forget if the photo shoot studio is in downtown LA or in Beverly Hills, to the point where I play on my iPad, and have a note in my phone about each venue’s location so I don’t waste money on the bus when I could be spending it on a cat.
Anyway, my kustom avatar (modeled in my image, but hotter) was looking for gossip at Hollywood’s hottest dive bar (?) The Brew Palms when I somehow clicked on the little cell phone icon and the first contact in my phone was “Andrew Bailey — a server.” I couldn’t remember when or where I had met him, but he wears a bucket hat and mermaid hair which made me laugh a lot.
In that moment, I was convinced he couldn’t subsist on his waiter’s salary in one of the United States’ most expensive cities. I wanted to treat him right, impress him. I have a bit of a savior complex!
I had already squandered my in-game savings fashioning my avatar a new look (a Lanvin stunner Kim had worn to the Met Ball earlier this year). With an Ambien-addled brain that also tends to make my heart swell, I went for the in-app purchase for $4.99, securing me 5000 Kardashian Dollars. No hesitation. I spent more than half of those on Andrew Bailey, expecting him to become an A-List celeb instantaneously. Nothing happened, really. He’s a waiter and American social mobility is a myth!!!!! JK, kind of, but still.
At the end of the day, we all just want to be liked. And in the earliest hours of the morning, I wanted to be liked by Andrew Bailey, a virtual server.
3. Jenna Wortham, New York Times reporter: $14.97
I bought 3 of the $4.99 K packs! It’s mostly for the outfits and hairstyles. The good hairstyles all cost so many points! I bought a cute shaggy bob and then I had to get the beige bathing suit thing with the sheer robe to go with it for the Triste launch party at Chateu Nuit. I would say it embarrasses me to admit that, but I’ve stopped trying to rationalize it. I also didn’t realize how hard the K points would be to get; I had a bunch early on and adopted that stupid stray cat because the game said it would make me more popular, but I should have bought the dog in the bag, which I could at least wear out. The cat lives in my crappy apartment next to So Chic, and I only see it if I stop by the apartment which I never do because the landlord just makes me pay rent.
4. Matt Ortile, BuzzFeed: $14.97
Just last night I spent about $15 on Kim K stars and dollars to secure my appearance at the night club in Vegas and finish a date with an imaginary lawyer. Small price to pay to live the life I want to live.
5. Katie Heaney, BuzzFeed: $19.96
The first time I spent money on the game, I got a $4.99 pack of K coins and was like, haha, that is so funny that I am spending real money on this game, lol. I was on the E-list, in the middle of a pretty short photo shoot, and I knew that if I didn’t get more energy, I’d bomb. You get those little notifications, like, “Well, Katie was IN the Metropolitan Magazine spread for scuba wear, but it was just … okay.” And that really stings. So I figured I’d get through this shoot and move up to D-list and never put real money into it again.
But then I got into a pinch where I’d spent $4500 on that leather jacket + dress combo (which was WORTH it, because there was a small press item about how good I looked) and used my precious few K coins on a condo or something I didn’t even want, and needed more to gain entry to a photo shoot that Simon said would really raise my profile. So I bought another $4.99 pack. And a little later that night, another.
Two nights ago I bought a fourth. But it’s easier now that I’m on the B-list, almost on the A-list, and I’ve been wearing that outfit everywhere, looking great. $19.96 is pretty bad but I would like my mother and father to know that I have stopped using Seamless and make my own coffee and almost never take cabs.
6. Becca Laurie, manager, Ravenhouse LTD: ~$20
I have definitely bought stars for only energy. The GATEWAY drug for me was the bonus pack offered this past weekend: EXCLUSIVE SUNGLASSES, stars, and maybe something else? Now I can’t even remember, and that in itself is VERY embarrassing? It was $4.99. I love the sunglasses because I hate the eyeshadow colors so much.
The other purchase was for 100 coins (to exchange for energy). I was tempted to use the coins to buy a cute outfit but I stopped myself.
What was I thinking? “Not again.” I remember last summer, and all the money I spent on Candy Crush lives, money I will never get back. I feel like the money goes further in Kim game than Candy Crush, though, and I guess I rationalize it by admitting that I really do like playing the game. It makes me happy, and if the price of that happiness is roughly the same price as a fancy coffee or Oprah Chai, it’s worth it to me. At least right now. I will start to feel guilty if I spend *a lot* of money on the game I’m sure, but it really does feel like a small price to pay for a fun game? IDK, I sound like an addict!
7. Emily Gould, author: ~$40
I started small, but eventually was bored and drunk and spent $19.99 on K stars at once. Have not played the game since then because I can’t control myself, clearly. I think what was going on in my mind was the same thing that goes through my mind IRL: “I don’t have money to spend on this, but I LOOK SO GREAT IN THIS AND I JUST NEED IT TO GET ME THROUGH THIS MOMENT.” I will do the hack before I play again, for sure.
8. Emily George, college student: $100
I started this game two days ago, and I thought I would be fine and not spend anything, but I forgot I had my phone’s Touch ID activated [through which iPhone users can use their fingerprint on the home button as iTunes password], so I didn’t even think before I tapped to spend $100 on K stars and dollars. I was out of energy in the middle of a photo shoot, and I went to go see how much more would cost me. So I suppose I knew I was considering it, but I didn’t realize until after I did it that I had just spent real money! After I purchased it, I tried to rationalize by telling myself it was a good investment, but clearly it isn’t at all.
I used the cash and K stars to buy energy, clothes for friends so they’d like me better, and clothes for myself!
As soon as I did it, I regretted it. And I just got the bill in my inbox yesterday. I am sad.
But at least I’m an A-lister!
9. Frank Lowe, dad tweeter at @GayAtHomeDad: $130
I’m a 37-year-old gay dad, and I have spent about $130 on that stupid game. I hesitated because I thought, “Here I go down this rabbit hole,” and also because I thought I should keep Pandora’s Box closed. It kept getting worse and worse, that first day, as I became power hungry and ascended up the charts like a fresh-faced ingénue. I was scared to look at my iTunes bill the next day.
The first day alone I spent over $95. I bought K coins so I could get more energy and fly through the shoots. Then there was this one time that Dirk Diamonds wanted to buy the mansion I was looking at, and I was like “Hell no motherfucker,” and bought another $20 worth of K coins to beat his ass to the punch. As tempted as I have been, I have NOT bought the Louis Vuitton bag full of K coins, but I kinda want to just so I can hit rock bottom and move on with my life. I’m A-List and #1 now, though, so… I’m not too unhappy about it.
How much have YOU spent? It’s OK: we get it if you just really wanted the red and black bikini to wear around your vacation home in Miami. You’re among your own people here.
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