The Idea: YooStar 2 uses your Kinect camera to beam you out of your mundane, horrible life and transport you into the magical fairy-land of Hollywood, where you star in iconic movie scenes and feel what it’s like to be rich, talented and timeless.
The Reality: A poorly-lit cardboard cut-out of yourself is sloppily pasted into a well known movie scene, which wrecks both the movie scene and your self-image.
YooStar 2 Proves You are Ugly and Useless
Nothing highlights a person’s lack of talent or attractiveness more than putting them in a scene opposite a superstar. According to 1970s psychologist M. Scott Peck, an unwavering devotion to Reality is the hallmark of mental health, so using YooStar 2 to truly understand your own ugliness and lack of artistic skill may lead you toward a more realistic self-image and thus enlightenment, but true self-awareness requires a lifetime of devotion and sacrifice, and I doubt you really want to walk down that road.
Like Jack Nicholson said in a movie scene not included in YooStar 2, chances are “You can’t handle the truth” and you probably shouldn’t try – psychological health is ultimately for people who live in big cities and/or have a lot of time on their hands, and the fact that you’re interested enough in my opinion of weirdo 360 game YooStar 2 to read this far is evidence enough that you’re not too concerned with self improvement. Surely you have something better you could be doing with your life than continuing to read a video game review after I’ve already called you ugly and talentless? Have you no self-respect?
In spite of the unwanted mirror YooStar holds up to gamers’ failure, it’s not a bad little game, provided you play it with interesting/talented people. Like karaoke, it’s all about the performers. In the right group – IE: a small cadre of outgoing people who enjoy performing and have a little acting chops, charisma or comedic sensibilities – it’s kind of fun to play YooStar 2. I played it with G4’s Mike D’Alonzo and Dana Vinson – both of whom have a ton of improvisational comedy experience – and we spent a half hour or so making each other laugh by over-acting and butchering classic film scenes. Then we got bored and went to Chipotle for burritos. We said, “oh, we should play more later!” but we never did. It’s that kind of game.
YooStar 2 Encouraged Me To Re-Read Umberto Ecco’s “Travels In Hyper-Reality”
Later, I took YooStar 2 home and played it by myself, and it was here that my trouble began. In spite of the game’s slick presentation, single-player challenge mode, and social-networking focus, there’s something disheartening about sitting in your living room, playing a party game by yourself. It’s like catching a glimpse of yourself in a mirror masturbating.
(Are you STILL reading this?)
The Kinect does an admirable job of separating you from the background in your room, even if you’re not against a solid background, but it can’t really find your edges reliably, leading to a blurry image surrounded by electronic interference. It’s as if you are the words ripped out of a magazine to make a ransom note.
Also: The lighting. Part of the language of film is the lighting and composition of shots. You will get these elements wrong in YooStar 2 because you are a worse cinematographer than you are an actor.
Also: When you complete a scene and upload it to your facebook, no one will be impressed. They probably won’t say anything, but your online friends will pity you a bit for having so little going on in your life that you’d bother to figure out how to make one of these YooStar 2 scenes and upload it. It’s exclusionary, too. You can’t embed your performance in your blog or on your Tumblr or Orkut or MySpace or Friendster or YouTube or Bebo or Adult Friend Finder.com or GooJa, or Zorpia or Habbo or Twitter or whatever. You can only see it on YooStar 2’s facebook application, so your friends will have to install the program to see your performance. They’ll resent you. Trust me.
A Brief Story About Your Mom
When your parents were young, and they went to Sears to check out the appliances, there were probably some video cameras hooked up to televisions, broadcasting people walking by. It was kind of a novelty for your parents to see themselves on television, and your Dad probably took a minute or two to wave to himself (and maybe even think of how conceptually odd it is to wave to oneself), but those days are gone, baby. Everyone on earth has grown up seeing themselves on a screen, whether it’s home movies, or webcams, so YooStar’s “OMG! I’m on TV!” idea is really lame. Who cares, am I right?
Capitalism is Terrible
It was impossible for me to play YooStar 2 without imagining terrible people meetings in Los Angeles board-rooms, planning how to develop and release this game. Movie industry executives are the worst people on earth, and imagining a tong of them sitting around drinking expensive coffee, then sinking millions of a video game that sells out our shared cultural cinematic heritage so crassly and totally is depressing enough, but when you figure that this game won’t even make them money, it’s nearly unbearable. I’ll bet no one will even lose their job over this game totally tanking, either. What a world!
There are like 80 famous movie scenes from all eras of film included here, and it’s a pretty good selection, too. Terminator, Casablanca, Bride of Frankenstein, Godfather, and other huge flicks are shown off here. You can also download extra scenes from some online store I didn’t bother looking at. You’d have to be some kind of cretin to actually download these extra scenes – like 80 classic scenes aren’t enough? I don’t know what they cost, but whatever it is, it’s too much. I predict fewer than a thousand people will download these scenes, total, before this scene shop is shut down.
Here’s something good about this game: There are many achievements that are very easy achieve. I played it for like an hour and earned nearly 300 Gs, without trying. Point: YooStar 2.
Finally, The Verdict
The verdict on YooStar 2: Don’t buy it. Instead, if you’re really curious, rent it/wait a couple months for it to hit the ten-dollars-and-under bin. The technology that powers YooStar 2 is somewhat impressive, and it works as a mildly amusing toy, only the most hardcore movie junkies and wannabe actors will give enough of a sh*t to warrant the price of a full purchase.
Also: If your parents buy this for you for Christmas this year, because they know you need games for your 360, please pretend you’re really excited and happy that they gave it to you – it’s the mature thing to do.