Written by  :  blakegriplingph (247)
Written on  :  Aug 12, 2017
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.29 Stars3.29 Stars3.29 Stars3.29 Stars3.29 Stars
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Summary

Pixelated paper doll fun in a pinch

The Good

For American Girl doll enthusiasts, it's a real treat. You've got the likes of Felicity, Josefina, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha and Molly in the roster, along with supporting cast from their respective story arcs. The game is very much open-ended so there's a lot of possibilities in it in spite of its limited selection of props and such. Another neat bonus is the Director's Guide which serves as a reference on the ins and outs of theatrical production, along with historical facts and backstories for each of the characters, something that the developers and American Girl, then known as The Pleasant Company, put a ton of effort into.

There's also a rather ironic appreciation for the robotic text-to-speech voice feature, which is used by most players to humorous effect. A serious user would've instead resorted to recording their lines over the microphone, but it seems obligatory to make Felicity sound like a robot spewing bizarre stuff.

The Bad

The graphics are too grainy, and while this is somewhat forgivable given how the developers wanted it to run on even a potato of the era (e.g. home office PCs running Cyrix or Celerons with a basic S3 Trio 64 video card installed, kinda' like what my family had at the time), it's kinda hard to see the character's facial expressions and other subtleties. This is also further compounded by the way the actors were digitised during development, as they appear either off-colour or with noticeable artifacting brought by how they were blue-screened.

Premiere's UI can also be a little too intimidating at times, especially if you are very much used to a non-linear editor like Sony Vegas, as there is no timeline to quickly scrub through.

The Bottom Line

The Learning Company and American Girl may not have succeeded in some ways with this game (though it did sell well and received accolades from parenting organisations), but while American Girls Premiere is largely a licenced reskin of the earlier Opening Night game from 1995, it's still a fun edutainment game to mess around with and have a laugh at. Not to mention that it seems to be a little-known period piece from the doll line's history, as not many fans, especially those Truly Me-toting tweens on YouTube and elsewhere, seem familiar with this quirky yet hilarious little gem.