American Idol - Box

American Idol
Ages 10+

OK girls – you have been asking for a game where you can play at being a rock idol. Here it is. Based on the TV show, American Idol - Search for a Superstar with three judges to crit your performance you go through the steps to becoming a star. Singing lessons (game includes a microphone), dance practice and endless attention to your image – talk and dress – and that means shopping. Does what computers can do best – lets you play at being somebody else – even a guy.

Start out by picking a character – boy, girl, skin color, eye expression, stage name and basic costume (you'll get more later). Two can play the game at the same time – or you compete against the computer. The next step – recording your song - requires some preparation. You need to hook up your mic and test it. Listen to some or all of the 40 songs and figure which one you want to sing. You can sing on all 40 but you can only record each song once. So, don't pick your favorite to start out with before you have flexed you voice. You pick one song to accompany you throughout the game – so make it good.

That done – you go on the Road to Stardom where you have interviews, pick up more clothes, collect money for doing charity work, practice dance steps, singing and design your stage sets and lighting. The object is to collect 1000 points of star power while honing your talents. Spending lots of money helps you get star power.

The TV Studio is where you put together dance tracks, voice tracks, set and lighting to make a complete video performance. When you are ready you can upload your performance to and tell your friends to vote for you. Take a look at the site to find out what makes for a winning video. Dance moves that are varied and are in sync with the music, an "in" costume and attention to lighting, background and camera angles will give you high scores. The voice over that you record is for your own personal file. The video you upload to the American Idol site will have the original artists – but you get to do the moves and presentation.

This game is complicated enough so that you should really consult the manual. I noticed that games are not coming with pre-printed manuals. So too with this one. You need a browser to read it. You also need a Windows browser to upload your video. The game is guaranteed to give you fun times– even if it's only recording the songs.

Editor Review 12/02

The judges return from their box with your final score. You watch them with bated breath as they announce the winner of the American Idol competition. And the winner is …You! You are the new American Idol! You have beaten out all of the other contestants in tests of skill, grace and prowess, and deserve that title.

Having never seen the highly celebrated TV reality show American Idol, I did not know what to expect when I started this game. The instructions were simple enough. You choose a character, choose a name from the provided list, and choose what song you wish to perform. Then, you are whisked off to a menu which offers you several choices. You can start, Road to Fame the actual game) can create a music video, (unadvisable until you finish the Road to Fame at least once) and the chance to post you're work on the internet. Road to Fame starts at the elimination of the other players. (Note: You always get into the top two) Then, you are transported to a monopoly type game board where the judges fill you in on the instructions. After that, it gets pretty monotonous. You can gain or lose money, buy stage backgrounds and choreography, and perform to gain "star power". The judges comment on your choices, but hey only have a couple phrases. I must say the best part of the game came after the Road to Fame. After I had been through it a couple of times, I headed over towards the music studio where I spent hours making my own music videos. I used all of the lighting, effects and moves that I had bought in the Road to Fame.

I think that the graphics were okay, but all the girls were tall and skinny with long legs and all the guys were tall and buff with long legs. Although they were good, they were totally non-lifelike. Also, if your star did too many moves, they ended up dancing off the stage. The sounds were very good. Everything seemed lifelike, and the program responded to the sound waves and rhythm of your voice. You can play this game with another girl. There is a two player option when you start the Road to Fame. However, it might be hard for a girl of a younger age to watch their friend beat them at singing and dancing. I agree with the stated age range. Watching my sister struggle with the controls at first, I find that older children take to the controls more easily then younger children. Anyone under the age of 10 would probably have some trouble with this game. On a scale of 1 to 10, this game would rate about a seven. It was fun, but rather boring after the first couple of times. I cannot say how it related to the real TV show, since I never have, and never will watch the American Idol show. Still, if you like the show, then you probably will like this game. And if you don't like the show, you also might like this game, because it is an interesting idea.

Reviewed by: Vivian Baker Age 14 - 03/03

  • American Idol
  • © Vivendi Universal $29.99
  • Windows 98/Me/2000/XP Plus a browser.
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