How one writer lost her mind -- and her clothes -- by playing Britney Spears' new mobile game

By Isabella Biedenharn
Updated May 23, 2016 at 03:47 PM EDT

Because eight studio albums and a Vegas residency aren’t enough, Britney Spears has given us another piece of her — this time, in the form of a mobile game a la Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and Katy Perry Pop. Britney Spears: American Dream launched relatively quietly on Wednesday morning, and early impressions — from my other celebrity game-obsessed friends, at least — skewed toward disgust. But then, something surprising happened.

Here’s what you need to know: I have a weakness, and it’s celebrity iPhone games. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood swallowed my life over one frightening summer, and Kendall & Kylie (nope, their game didn’t even bother with a quippy subtitle) seduced me into a glamorous world of virtual social media fame. As someone who used to play Britney Spears’ “Lucky” on repeat while alternately coddling or killing my Sims in middle school, Britney Spears: American Dream seemed like a dream come true. Little did I know, it would soon warp into a nightmare.

It all started innocently. I became Isa, a local CD store employee — because in Britney Spears: American Dream, record stores are still profitable — and one day my best friend called me to say Britney Spears was in the Starbeans next door, and I better get there fast. In this off-brand wonderland, we ordered our Strawberry Whippuccinos. It’s on this ground that my bond with Britney was first formed:

Having met Britney, I closed the app for a couple hours. But when I reopened it, I was met with unexpected horror. My clothes, my hair, and even my skin pigment had evaporated, leaving me a nipple-less mannequin, perched at my table in Starbeans and completely unaware of my plight. Fortunately, no one else seemed to be aware of it either. (Side note: Pretty sure this happened because my phone has no available space, so the app decided not to download my skin and clothes. But still: HORROR.)

Unfortunately, I had to rush off to a performance or I wouldn’t get a manager. So I took my alabaster self to the stage, and performed in the flesh. No one even noticed.

Later, I went home to shower — strange, since I probably could have just Windex-ed my body clean. In my towel and slippers, I took a call from my friend-slash-marketing team, who told me to “wear something sexy and cool!” But when I opened up my “closet,” I was overcome with a creeping dread. Everything cost at least $400, and my life savings only added up to $262… probably because I work at a CD store in 2016.

What’s an aspiring popstar to do? And also, why didn’t the default outfit I was wearing earlier, ostensibly free of charge, show up in my closet? I guess I was renting it from someone. How dare they rip it back from me in the middle of a Starbeans!

Anyway, I still had to record a demo to impress my potential manager. Little did I know, we’d be shooting the cover art for the single, too. So here I am, on the cover of my electronic ballad, “Bluebaby,” spinning in vertigo with a guitarist I met on the street earlier, and my arch-nemesis, Aston Kole (she’s the squashed one).

I will say this for Britney Spears: American Dream — clothing aside, you have a lot more creative control in this game than in any of the Kardashian games. I named my own song (could you tell?) and created my single cover. In the Kardashian games, as in life, your greatest skill is just showing up.

After securing a manager, my problems were only beginning. Aston Kole started a rumor that I couldn’t sing, so I had to perform a live show at — you guessed it — Starbeans, or sink into a lip-syncing scandal of Ashlee Simpson on SNL proportions. I’ll admit I was excited — what does “Bluebaby” sound like? What lyrics did I write after I gathered “inspiration” from the simple act of performing naked?


And that’s not the worst of it: I was forced to “crowd surf” on top of my rival, at a Starbeans, in a crowd of approximately seven. Does someone in this universe want me to die?

In the end, though, I think I’ve been consigned to a fate worse than death: Invisibility. No matter how hard I try to sell my floundering single, “Bluebaby,” no matter how many people I can’t “network” with because I don’t have enough money, no matter what I wear, it doesn’t matter. No one can see me anyway: