Review of Paperazzi by Activision

review-of-Paperazzi-by-Activision-photoI had no memory of this software. The neat thing about the review is the difference between the operating systems used for testing.

Originally published on December 22, 1995.

Before you get the wrong impression, I really like Activision s recent release, “Paparazzi!  Tales of Tinseltown”.  It was certainly a case of “good things are worth waiting for”.  But since I have to give my editor a reason why I was 2 days late with this review:

Through no fault of the installation program, I had quite a time getting Paparazzi! up and running.  Partly my fault, partly the price we pay for being in a very fast-moving industry.  From the “My Fault” department:  I ignored the fact that the system requirements were Windows 3.1, Win95, or something they referred to as a “Macintosh” (I m kidding, please, no letters from you Mac aficionados).  Since I was already late for dinner and my PC was booted to Windows NT Workstation, I figured I d give it a shot anyway. (For those of you not paying attention, NT is not listed as a supported environment).  After a 5-10 minute installation that went fine, I tried to fire up the game.  Crash city.  It even corrupted an NT system file called CTL3DV2.DLL that toasted my MS Office toolbar to the point I had to reinstall it.  But like I said, my fault.

After booting to Win95, I repeated the installation.  Again, no apparent problems, although I do have one nit:  After installing the program from the CD, you have to go into the QTW directory and execute Quick Time for Windows  setup program as well.  It would have been nice if the Paparazzi! setup triggered the QTW setup as well.  Anyway, Paparazzi! and the latest version of QTW are now installed.  Again, I fire up the game.  Everything looks cool for the moment.  Paparazzi! uses the on-screen metaphor of a hand-held “Palminator” as your window into the game.  The Palminator is a multi-function device that allows you to watch TV, check your video messages, move around the city, and more.  I select Channel 1 on the TV and wait in anticipation.  And wait. And wait.  Nothing.  So I ask to see my messages and again wait in anticipation.  And wait.  And (you get the idea). This is getting personal.  I REALLY want to play this game.

After about a half hour of getting nowhere, I picked up the manual (I HATE it when that happens!) to check for troubleshooting tips. Imagine that. Page 6.  “Problem:  My QuickTime movies just show a line or are not appearing.  Solution:  You might not have the latest driver for your video card…”.  Not accepting defeat and now being VERY late for dinner, I head home.  Leftover lasagna and 2 kids and a wife missing daddy.  Played with the kids, read the bedtime stories, wife settled into watching the tube. Snuck downstairs to the home PC.  Installed Paparazzi! for the 3rd time (Win95 again) and viola!

Now for the good stuff.  Paparazzi! is different than anything you’ve played before.  You interact with the video on screen while it s playing.  There are over two hours of live footage in the game, and a cast of over 60 actors and actresses.  You select one of six personas to guide you through your 14-day journey through Tinseltown.  Your goal is to capture 24 celeb s photos and complete the game without going broke or getting booted out of town.  The personas range from total sleezebags to folks of fairly high integrity, which is key, as your admittance to various establishments and your payoff for various photos often depends on your persona.

To locate your subjects, Paparazzi! must search through clues found on TV, messages left on your Palminator, publications like The Entertainer (weekly) and Teen Heat, and more clues throughout town.  To make it more interesting, clues are accessible only at specific times on certain days.  Quite a challenge.  Your travels take you to Cheevers Cameras; Grand Habernet Hotel, the preferred abode of the stars; Tinseltown Municipal Court (where you re sure to catch some excited celebrities!); and various clubs, bars, parks, stores, and similar locales.  Your subjects include such luminaries as tennis player Andre McConnor, Rusk Limburger, pop singer The Virgin Mary, former first lady Jackie Rae Gunn, TV talk show host Okra Salad Raffle, and other obvious and not-so-obvious take-offs of our favorite media icons. Your observation skills are of paramount importance; make sure you have enough cash to hang out at the hot spots (or “negotiate” your way in); don t hesitate to buy some folks a drink if you need a tip (but watch out for bum advice from the competition); conserve your film; and watch out for those celebrity lookalikes.  And of course, be prepared the swingin  swill who prefer their picture NOT be taken.  All in all, a very enjoyable and engrossing game.  Kind of your “King s Quest” or “Leisure Suit Larry” series on major steroids.  Fun and recommended.

Paparazzi! was developed by independent software creator Museworthy, Inc., and acquired/licensed by Activision.  Museworthy has more stuff under development, also to be marketed by Activision.