I do apologize for this brazen oversight — my master spreadsheet claimed that Barbie Beach Vacation already had corresponding screenshots in MobyGames when it clearly does not. That means I have to extend the Barbie coverage another night.
The first thing I notice about Beach Vacation is the different — and dare I say, creepy — art and animation style:
I’m a little surprised that Barbie’s appearance varies so widely between the assorted titles in her gaming oeuvre. This is the kind of thing I would expect Mattel to keep tight control over. But maybe only Disney is that strict, which is perhaps why they keep most game development in-house nowadays.
Barbie and her friends hit the beach, apparently one on a remote, private island. As I was jotting down notes to that effect, it dawned on me: Isn’t Barbie’s canon backstory that she lives in Malibu, California? Is it really necessary to cruise to a remote island to catch some rays?
Moving right along, the game is a collection of 7 minigames/activities. Actually, “minigame” pretty well describes all of the components since there are usually very concrete goals and you are basically prohibited from proceeding until you satisfactorily complete the task at hand. Tasks include surfing, water skiing, diving, and photographing marine life.
In the foregoing activity, Barbie — and when I say Barbie, I mean you, the player — is tasked with creating sand castles for a sand castle competition. At first, I tried to let my limited creativity flow with the tools at my disposal. That effort was dashed when Barbie kept reminding me that she didn’t think what I was doing was a good idea. You see, on the top of the screen are the components you absolutely must use to create a castle during this round. Look, Barbie, let’s not forget who’s helping whom here. If you tell me exactly what components I need to use in the sand castle, then you’re going to get letter-of-the-law nonsense as shown above so that I can keep the screenshot recon moving.
After winning the grueling multi-round elimination sand castle tournament on the beach, Barbie walks in on her similarly malevolent-looking pal practicing her dance moves for the big party. Barbie dons a new outfit (it’s important to note that Barbie gets to choose from a selection of new outfits prior to embarking on any activity) and practices her own dance. As she shakes it, it is your job to… I’m not sure, something about clicking on the left and right mouse buttons as musical notes move in to assault Barbie.
This minigame baffled me more than perhaps any other game played for this Gaming Pathology effort. But the game was sympathetic to my plight as it chose to just randomly end the dance after awhile.
Then it’s on to plan the big beach party. Choose from 2 locations, a number of hanging decorations, as well as a number of sitting decorations that were hidden in bottles recovered throughout other activities. Decide where to place the DJ and every single one of your friends. Be sure to place Ken near you and not near one of your girlfriends, and press the button to make the party transpire.
I have heard the horror tales about brides who try to micromanage every finest detail of their weddings. I think it’s obvious that these women got the idea that such fine-grained control over a party is even possible: they played computer games like this.
Tanned, rested and ready to tackle another wild adventure, Barbie and her friends depart from the island. I can’t be sure, but I think that this crab — an extraneous prop that is generally a filmmaker’s shorthand indicating that the action takes place on a tropical island (see also: scorpion as shorthand for desert) — is actually flipping them the claw.
- Barbie as Princess Bride
- Barbie as Rapunzel
- Barbie as Sleeping Beauty
- Barbie Magic Genie Bottle
- Secret Agent Barbie