As we've mentioned in these pages before, lounging around in a dressing gown surrounded by pornography is a luxury afforded only to Hugh Hefner and freelance games journalists. Naturally, it's the former that concerns us here, as Playboy: The Mansion enables you to virtually don the silk robe of the revered porn baron and attempt to run his glamorous empire. And with PC ZONE's hardy triumvirate of Woods, Sefton and Hill having recently paid a visit to The Mansion, we have some idea of what it's all about.
Sex you up
Part business-sim, part life-sim, the game can essentially be broken down into three areas: constructing the mansion, living the Playboy lifestyle and building your empire. As such, you can tamper with Hugh's famous Beverly Hills hide-out (five minutes from UCLA in a shuttle bus), building tennis courts, aviaries or maybe adding to the monkey cages that are already there (although we're not sure you'll be able to do anything about the rats that we saw stealing their food).
The famous Grotto also features heavily, and you might be able to do something about the slightly dank smell, and the fact that it's infested with the DNA of decades' worth of party guests.
Of course, you'll also have to provide enough bedrooms to house your stable of buxom beauties. Alleged to service a rotating squad of seven Playmates, keeping them all happy must be a difficult chore, surely impossible without scoffing down Viagra like Smarties. This is replicated to some extent in the game, with Hef able to indulge Playmates in a Sims fashion, with such options as 'sexy gossip' and a 'warm hug'. And while you won't actually get to see the old boy throwing them around the room, the issue of sex hasn't been skirted over. Guests are to be found rutting in a bush, for instance, the crucial areas disguised, much like recent shag 'em up Singles: Flirt Up Your Life. Unlike that game though, there will be no pubic hair (or genitals).
Breast Is Best
Unfussy onanists may be pleased to learn that breasts are on the agenda, with the game set to boast nipples that you could hang a wet duffel coat on. These will predominantly appear in the pages of Playboy magazine, with Hef taking a hands-on approach and organising photo-shoots in the mansion. Probably the major selling point for casual gamers (and hairy-palmed loners) is that models can be dressed in a variety of bikinis, or not. And while the E3 demonstration didn't actually reveal any toplessness, the breast physics appeared to be particularly well-honed, with fulsome udders wobbling like giant plates of blancmange.
There's no point having a shagging pad if you're not going to use it, and inviting your celebrity friends round for a knees-up is a key part of the Hugh Hefner experience.
In real life, there are parties at the Playboy Mansion pretty much every week, and this is replicated in the game. Depending on who's on the guest list, you lay on entertainment - and from our experience, ensure that there's a huge bouncer on the door to stop anyone from getting into the house. It might also be worth investing in a few more toilets, as with only four cubicles available, some of the more unruly element were discovered using Hef's grounds as an alfresco urinal. After all, as executive producer Chris Boxmeyer explains: "I don't think Hugh would like you pissing in his garden."