Things don't bode well for Sweet Potato. Ever since all this “Save the children!” hysteria started over Miss Bimbo, the online game site where she resides, the poor virtual paper doll hasn’t had a thing to eat. Not that she eats much anyway.
Most days, it’s just a glass of milk. Occasionally, her corporeal creator allows Sweet Potato a pear to take the edge off. But her 30-something real-world keeper hasn’t visited the animated trollop in days. And as Sweet Potato is already “waif thin,” in keeping with the game, she doesn’t have a lot of extra calories to burn.
It’s not that Sweet Potato’s adult keeper is bored with Miss Bimbo, which is allegedly geared towards the ‘tween set. On the contrary, like a lot of other adults, she enjoys her daily 20-minute foray into the amateurishly-designed Web world where plastic surgery, body image, boyfriends and trampy clothes earn her Attitude points like Dungeon & Dragons for Paris Hilton-esque celebutards.
Unfortunately, since big media started heralding Miss Bimbo as the catalyst of destruction for the young female psyche, Web traffic continues to crash both the recently released English version of the site, and the French originator, Ma Bimbo. Now nobody can access Miss Bimbo. And if Sweet Potato doesn’t get a “dose” of milk, her creator will have to shell out valuable “Bimbo dollars” to bring her trampy avatar back from the dead. (Remember Tomgotchis?)
“This sucks!” Sweet Potato’s keeper recently told Netiquette. Wishing to remain anonymous to other Miss Bimbo gamers, Sweet Potato’s keeper isn’t alone in her annoyance. Grown-up players unable to access either Ma Bimbo or Miss Bimbo’s online forums are forced to complain elsewhere. From political bulletin boards to beauty product chat rooms, adult Miss Bimbo fans rage on about news reports and parent groups they say have it totally wrong.
“Miss Bimbo Web site promotes extreme diets and surgery to 9-year-olds” screams the headline in the British Times. The report, quickly picked up by U.S. news agencies, is chock full of quotes from the experts.
“This is as lethal as pro-anorexia Web sites,” Dee Dawson, told the Times. She’s a medical director of Rhodes Farm Clinic in England, which treats 8- to 18-year girls with eating disorders. “A lot of children will get caught up with the extremely damaging and appalling messages,” she says.
“What parent in his or her right mind would let a 7 or 9-year-old on a site with “bimbo” in the name?” says Sweet Potato’s keeper. “Parents can’t be all, ‘Oh, my stars! I thought that nice Bimbo Web site was a safe place I could trust to shape my daughter’s worldview on womanhood.’ It’s such a manufactured controversy.”
The irate woman echoes other adult Miss Bimbo players in her criticism of the brouhaha. And well, she has a point. Either parents know their daughter joined ‘The Miss Bimbo site’ or they have no clue what their wee one is doing online. In the case of the latter, they ought to thank the heavens their little girl only stumbled onto Miss Bimbo and not “2Girls1Cup” (a particularly scatological video popular with the kids).
Who loves Miss Bimbo? According to Sweet Potato’s keeper, it’s ironic hipster chicks, granola-y “Keep your laws off my Birkenstocks” women who want to walk on the online wild side, and males of the species who enjoy playing virtual dress up.
“Oh, and the tiny tots of crappy, crappy parents,” she adds.
In one of the rare minutes Netiquette is able to access the site, the Bimbo challenge board reveals 50 Bimbos in the game. The majority list their real-life ages in their 20s, a bunch a 30s, a few 18-year-olds, a 40-something, a ‘tween and two 8 to 10-year-olds. And since no one lies about anything on the Internet, that proves there’s no problem.
Meanwhile, it’s easy to see Miss Bimbo’s goofing-off appeal for hardworking grownups. The game is only worth ten to 20 minutes of play per day. You can shop for some new (and atrocious) threads, hook up with a fake boy, and play Sudoku and puzzles, all of which earn your avatar precious Bimbo Attitude points and Bimbo dollars. You also get to face off against other bimbos in tacky challenges.
These contests of skank pit bimbos head-to-head. Participants can play against each other to win righteous Bimbo dollars, or just the satisfaction of besting a lesser bimbo. The site software judges the Bimbos on their Attitude points and high-priced duds. Sweet Potato likes to compete in her hot pink cotillion number teamed up with her rhinestone “Bimbo” belt and matching tiara — it’s the most expensive outfit on the site. (More than $21K in Bimbo dollars!)
Accessory pets add big Attitude points for Bimbos. But you can’t be a Paris Hilton about it. If your Bimbo doesn’t properly care for her living doo-dad (feed it, clean its litter box, give it attention, dress it accordingly), the Bimbo version of ASPCA will take it away.
What’s more, you have to take care of your online paper doll — feed her, take her to the gym, etc. Sweet Potato visits her psychiatrist almost daily. Players also work toward long-term goals, such as building a relationship, landing a good apartment, and moving up through the working ranks. For example, Sweet Potato is training to be a nurse. She also spends a lot of time in the Miss Bimbo library, which increases her I.Q. At 174, she’s one smart strumpet!
Inevitably, if you want to level up quickly in the game, you’re going to spend some real-life Bimbo dollars (a.k.a. money). That alone should separate the grownups from the kiddies and their Bratz dolls. If your kid has access to your Paypal account … well, see “crappy, crappy parents” above.
In the end, we need not fear for Miss Bimbo destroying the future for our daughters. We only need recall the wise words of British comedian Marcus Brigstocke, who chimed in on the alleged dangers of computer games ages ago. “Computer games don’t affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we’d all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive music.”
Oh wait …