Wow. Um, OK… Look, I usually don’t review dress-up games, largely because they’re self-explanatory. I know they wouldn’t interest me and I’m not in their target audience, so it really doesn’t matter. I may be a dick, but I’m not a total ass, so I leave dress-up games to the eight-year-old girls they’re designed to entertain and focus on more general fare.
This warrants further investigation.
Just so I know we’re on the same page here, a short history lesson. For those of you who don’t know, in 1986 writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbon, with the assistance of colourist John Higgins (who doesn’t get enough props), created Watchmen. A twelve issue limited series comic book, it was eventually compiled into a graphic novel, and is considered one of the finest pieces of 20th Century literature. Concerning the lives of a bunch of middle-aged former superheroes in an alternative universe America who are forced back into spandex when one of them is murdered, it’s a remarkable read.
Of the masked heroes, the only one with any actual superpowers is Jon Osterman, who was involved in a lab accident that turned him into a being able to control matter at a molecular level. Dubbed Dr Manhattan, he spends much of the book walking around naked, so cut off from society that he no longer sees the need for clothing. This proved to be a quite the bone of contention when Zach Snyder's film adaptation was released earlier this year. But the important thing to remember is that Dr Manhattan is basically God and he has a real desire not to wear pants.
So how exactly do we get from this:
I really don't know what the train of thought was here. I'm honestly stumped, and I've played some really out there games in my time. I mean, if this game was based around any other superhero I wouldn't bat an eyelid. If this game was based around any other hero in Watchmen, I'd probably be more amused than anything else. But... why Dr Manhattan? Dressing up is the one thing he doesn't do. Is this the product of a Watchmen fan working for GirlsGames.com who really, really wanted to do something to celebrate the movie? Or is a clever net nerd giggling away at the thought of little girls playing with Rule 63 Manhattan? Or maybe this is just a precursor to the eventual Saturday morning Watchmen cartoon show? Don't you want to see a spunky, young female sidekick to Dr Manhattan? No? Oh.
I don't want anyone to think I'm upset about this, just confused. I guess, as dress-up games go, it's pretty good. I don't really know - like I already noted, these games usually aren't on my radar - but you can pick a few different poses for Miss Manhattan, each one with a slightly different skin tone. The faces are kind of cool, varying from from ice cold evil devil queen to cross-eyed blue-skinned Valley Girl. I was able to make a really nice sparkly Manhattan with an outfit made of stardust and rainbows... or something.
And then I went in the total opposite direction and made an evil space bitch with an S&M style bikini. Wow, I just read that last sentence back and it's only hitting me now that I made a female Dr Manhattan with a fetish for leather and BDSM sex games.
Just when you think you've finally got a handle on things, the Internet finds another way to out-weird itself.
So, Miss Manhattan - it's... I don't know. I mean, it's well-made, for what it is, but God damn, why? Seriously, why Dr Manhattan? Why the naked blue guy that blows people up with a thought? I always figured there was very little overlap between the readers of Watchmen and the players of dress-up games, but clearly I was mistaken. I'm sorry, but you can only look at this game for so long before you have to say "What is going on here? What am I looking at? Why am I bleeding from the ear?" I accept a hell of a lot as a comic and sci-fi fan, but this really doesn't compute. Am I overthinking it? Am I putting too much energy into trying to rationalise what cannot be rationalised? I don't know. All I know is, I need a lie down.