Lizzie McGuire 2: Lizzie Diaries

[19 January 2005]

By Jason Thompson

Hilary Mania!

I have to admit I’m out of the loop, kids. Well, not terribly, but as a 32 year old guy, I can’t see much fascination in the whole Hilary Duff/Lizzie McGuire franchise. I get it that young girls like it, and that’s cool and all, but I’m still just kind of scratching my head about the whole thing the way I did back nearly 15 years ago when my nephew was into the Power Rangers. And they’re still going. Will Hilary Duff luck out into the same kind of longevity, or will she be forever tied to Disney and Lizzie McGuire, no matter if she does branch out into other areas such as high fashion like the Olsen twins, or infomercials like Cher? Only time will tell.

It’s funny, considering that Duff’s “evil nemesis” Lindsay Lohan can warm the cockles of most any guy’s heart these days. Who cares about her music? Just look at those… eyes. Yes, I’m objectifying the poor girl here, but a point is also being made. Whereas the clean cut Duff comes off safe and pretty like Herman’s Hermits, Lohan has been the Keith Richards antidote—suckering not only the female contingent, but also the male population into her flicks and TV appearances as well. Who cares if she can’t sing and if her boobs are fake… or not? Not I. To me she just has “it”, and Duff has some catching up to do, but I have a feeling Hilary will be sticking to the wholesome route and within no time at all Lohan will be appearing in Playboy then have a nervous breakdown of some sort and be plastered all over The Smoking Gun’s website being linked to some form of contraband. Hey, it happened to Dana Plato. It can happen to anyone.

But I digress. We’re here to discuss Hilary Duff and/or Lizzie McGuire and this game of sorts called Lizzie McGuire 2: Lizzie Diaries. It’s times like these I have to wonder about the state of video games and how they are sold to the female populace. I know lots of women, ladies and girls out there who love to play video games, but either feel they’re getting the short end of the stick and often being sold nothing more than a dressed-up kids game, or being objectified constantly what with most games featuring women busting out of their tops and looking like they pay a personal trainer 10 large a day for those fabulous bods. I can sympathize. As a dude who isn’t chiseled or “built” in any sexy fashion, I keep waiting for a game where my kind isn’t portrayed as a beer guzzling slob looking to get laid. Oh well. Perhaps time will be kinder to us all, ladies and gents. But then again, it is just entertainment, and these are only video games.

Which is how I always chalk it up. I don’t really sit and play these things, wishing I was some stud saving the universe. But I can understand the opinions as stated above when it comes to how people look in these titles. Unfortunately, Lizzie 2 doesn’t do much to offer up anything more than a kids game once again. Of course, this is being marketed to the kids who enjoy Hilary and Lizzie, so no duh to that. But even so, this game could have been a lot more engaging. I don’t even think it’ll hold much interest for those past 14 years of age, if that.

Basically this game is your standard platform affair. Lizzie has to complete various goals in school, on the beach, and other locales while the players get to enjoy reading her diary as she does so. These goals are fine and all, but not very challenging. Most of the time they consist of making Lizzie jump over obstacles and collect little diaries. It’s very reminiscent of Pitfall! and Donkey Kong, but not half as good as either of those classics. There are also levels featuring food fights, playing badminton, and running away from angry cheerleaders while trying to collect little diaries, not to mention the level where you’re running on the beach trying to dodge angry crabs and bouncing beach balls while, you guessed it, trying to collect little diaries.

It’s this repetition of level design that completely sinks this game. The first time you go through these tasks, they’re a little challenging and a bit engaging. I actually had some difficulty with the badminton level due to timing my racquet swing just right, but there never seems to be any complete and total loss of turns or “lives” here. It’s as if you can just keep going and going until you finish the game, which will take you about one or two hours, depending on how good and/or desperate you are when playing.

The bottom line is even kids deserve challenging and entertaining games. Just because you’re young doesn’t mean your brain can’t handle tasks that are engaging and stimulate the same brain waves that older gamers enjoy having tickled. Diaries just seems to be the lowest common denominator for a kids’ title, nothing more than another product Disney can push without much thought behind it. It’s not entirely terrible; it’s just not very good. And as I said before, even the older young gamers probably won’t find much to latch onto here. But hey, if you’re a Hilary Duff fan, you might find something of interest here briefly. In the meantime, I’ll be waiting for Lindsay Lohan to start pumping out the titles. Certainly she’d make a better game than that Britney Spears dance game that came out not too long ago. Or maybe not. But it’ll still be cool to see her get into trouble with Tara Reid. Coming soon to an interactive outlet near you.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/lizzie-mcguire-2/