Playboy The Mansion (2005)

The product of Playboy enterprises is that of a lifestyle, a want list for the aspirational, fancy mansion, luxury items, and of course The parade of women willing to throw themselves at you and your entourage. In 2005, a game gave curious readers a taste of what it would be like to build an aspirational empire of your own, in Playboy: The Mansion.

Meet Hef! (I guess a giggity is in order)

You play as Hef (looking more like a more handsome Quagmire) starting at a sparsely furnished mansion. You want to earn money quickly, and you do so with monthly magazines. Magazines require the following features: A covershot, a centerfold, an editorial, an interview, and an article. You hire writers and photographers, and of course Bunnies, willing to be photographed, while inviting A to C-list celebrities to your pad, to schmooze and produce content for your magazine. While getting celebs to come to your mansion is relatively easy, producing a consistently entertaining magazine isn’t, and while the wants and needs of your entourage will require some serious schmoozing, to build up your publishing empire.

The interface is simple enough, for all that it throws at you!

Playboy The Mansion is an absorbing mix of The Sims and one of those Tycoon games from the mid-2000s. Each character will have stats and needs, and you buy objects to facilitate those needs, your main source of income is your magazine, and you need fresh content for each monthly issue. Although, the pressure is off for the player, as you are not officially constrained by the calendar month. Aspiration is the byword of the Playboy, so efforts have been made to make this process rather straightforward, most interaction can be done with the mouse, and the interface is somewhat intuitive enough for the information it needs to convey.

Your mansion starts out sparse, but you can tailor it to your whim.

Nudity is treated rather blasé in the halls of your mansion (although this is entirely up to you), as is the subject of coupling. You can have relationships, each character has certain interests, from sports to politics, and this can play into the types of articles, and which writer is good at getting the best content from them. In one play-through, my Hef maintained a rather monogamous relationship with an up-and-coming stand-up comedian, though the amount of partners you can have is also entirely up to you. From schmoozing with Politicians or Film Stars to your staff/bunnies, you can help grease the wheels of a successful magazine, and live the lifestyle. You can also earn credits to unlock a plethora of bonuses (this being an officially licensed game) from famous interviews to famous covershots. While this isn’t exactly a novel inclusion, it is nice to see Playboy push the boat out for honouring their legacy whilst letting the player build up their own.

Schmooze with the best of them, like Felix da Housecat!

Playboy: The Mansion provides a deceptively complex simulation, yet simple and somewhat satisfying to pick up and play. The mixture of The Sims and magazine tycoon is a fun concoction, one that I’m surprised isn’t emulated more, without the liberal attitudes to nudity of course. Both sides feed off each other, providing a succinct sphere out of two semi-spheres. With a couple magazines under your belt, you’ll find building a publishing empire a snap with Playboy: The Mansion.

Just one of the many articles that you can publish.

If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree or disagree? or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!

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