Hasbro’s Dream Life for Girls: One Mother’s Full Step by Step Review

Every holiday season, our television sets are riddled with new products, hot products, and sales pitches that could drag down the toughest of shoppers, and year after year I can’t get the constant “ooohs” and “Ahhhs” and “But Momma pleases” out of my ears. Last year it was the mini chopper, the year before that a bicycle, and before that an indoor hockey table. This year though, my tomboy turned into a full fledged drama queen when she saw Hasbro’s newest simulation game. Aimed at young pre-teen girls, Dream Life makes every young girls’ fantasy world seemingly come to life. So what exactly is this game then, and is it really a dream or just a plain nightmare further perpetuating the cycle of a materialistic society? One mother and daughter’s review of the new age must have: Hasbro’s Dream Life.

Dream Life’s commercials were everything a tween girl could ask for in a game as well as in life. I can’t think of a single tweenager that wouldn’t be hooked on the idea of creating their “dream-selves” , hang out with their “dream- boy”, and creating their “dream school year”. Hasbro definitely did their homework with this one. I watched as my 8 year old’s eyes became the size of giant saucers and the recorded game play showed girls her age shopping, dying their hair, decorating their bedrooms, and hanging out with friends all while a female voice confidently announces that with Hasbro’s Dream Life game you can have “The power to live your dreams… You decide what your doing and when…” At first I was less than thrilled with this game, but as my daughter reminded me… “But momma, you play the Sims and it’s the same thing as the Sims, but for my age.” The more and more I had thought about it, she was kind of right. Besides I’m sure I would have killed for something like this when I was her age so with no promises made I told her we would have to see.

After dropping her off to school the following week, I decided to take a look at what this game was all about. I went from store to store and was repeatedly told they had sold out. In my final stop I could find the game nowhere on the shelves, but lucky for my daughter, I was stopped by an old friend working in the store and was told the system showed the toy in stock. We searched and searched before finally finding the remaining 4 games which had been conveniently and severely misplaced. Looking over the game and packaging I began to feel more positive about this purchase. What hadn’t been mentioned on the television commercial was that while everything my daughter had seen in the commercial was correct, there was a price. In order to truly build and live your “dream life”, you must first study and maintain your grades in this simulation game as well as do chores and attend after school activities that your child’s “dream self” chooses. At the holiday sales price, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try and brought it home. Nearly one month after Christmas and my daughter’s first mega drama “Oh my… Is this for real” upon opening her “dream gift”, has this game continued to be a dream for us both?

Much like the notorious game “The Sims”, you start by choosing the perfect you. You can name yourself, choose your own intelligence, athletic ability, personality, hair color, facial shape and skin tone, and fashion sense ,among many others options in designing your “dream self”. You can then visit your dream best friends house to name and create her. She will be one of many hang out buddies and study partners, but most of all she will be your “guiding light” in a sense. If at any time you need advice, visit with her. Your main place in this game is your bedroom. This is where you will start the game at all times, end the game or save the game. This is also where your daily planner and address book will be kept and where you can study for big tests, do homework, practice after school activities, try on clothes your dream self owns and more. In the kitchen chores will needed to be finished daily and in town you can visit the rec center, best friends house, salon, shopping mall and school. Even in “Dream Life”, school runs Monday through Friday and just as in reality has homework, tests, marking period grades and more. Chores must be done to get an allowance, and certain purchases; such as computers, personal telephones, ipods, and video games; cannot be made unless your “dream self” brings home A’s on tests and report cards.

I hadn’t realized the magnitude of this game until one day my frustrated daughter asked me why the game wasn’t letting her buy a dress for the school dance. I looked up to the screen to find she had only $12.00 in her dream-selves account but was trying to make a $300.00 purchase. I just shook my head and laughed. It was about time she fully realized the value of a dollar and saw just how long it took to earn and quickly it disappeared. I was definitely impressed with the way she began to understand that you must work hard and take care of your responsibilities in order to achieve your goals, money, and rewards. In this game, just like in “The Sims”, the length of a day, week, and year are different from that of true life and you have only 90 virtual days to succeed in all of your dream-self’s goals. After the 90 days is up you will receive a grade before starting a new dream life. This is where my only problem falls into place.

In the end, your dream self is graded in three categories: fashion, lifestyle, and friends. To gain a high level in the friends portion, you must make enough friends over the course of the game which is okay, and to make a higher grade in the lifestyle department there is a positive and negative involved. We’ll start this out with the positive first. Every time your dream self attends a school dance, or masters a new after school activity like soccer, dance, or swimming the lifestyle bar will rise which is good, obviously. The part I do have a little bit of a gripe about though, is that for every “cool” new electronic gadget your parent’s allow you to buy because of good grades, your lifestyle points will rise. I’m not really sure how I feel about this because you would not have received the cool new “in” thing had you not done well in school, but your lifestyle points are not really going up because of your grades, but rather for the new item. The third and final grade received is for fashion. This is where it bothered me a little more so. In order to make your fashion grade rise, you must not only buy the new hot fashions, but really must make purchases often to gain much of anything in this points box. I guess regardless of this game our kids would be made to feel that to succeed in life we must buy, buy, buy in this materialist “mine is newer, bigger, better, more expensive” society, but to start at 8 years old and in such a sneaky way was a bit surprising to me. It seems a little silly to have thought any age could be too young, I know… But they sure were clever to slip them into the game in a such a way that could go somewhat undetected with positive-negatives. I guess that has always been my fault though, over analyzing and reading deep enough to inadvertently see the subliminal suggestions. With the right parental support and guidance though, the messaging here seems minimal in comparison to anything else in stores or on television and at 8 years old, I don’t even think she cares much about her “Dream Life” grading scale. She’s having far too much fun doing all that she could never do at 8 years old in real life like dying her hair, shopping, and wearing make up. I’m shocked to find my tomboy becoming a pre-teen girl, but overall this game has been fun and well worth the $30.00.

Nearly one month later, this game is still in play daily and although I do have my complaint or two I must admit that I overall have enjoyed this game and for the first time in history my 8 year old is actually still playing it with high interest as if she had just gotten it yesterday. A huge fete for this child! On a scale of 1 to 10, I would definitely have to give this one an 8 or 9 and if I were able to go back into time, I would definitely buy this one again.

1.)Plug and Play- meaning just plug the game into your televisions A/V inputs and play… no extra accessories, add ons or fees 2.)The cute little game console come with an easy to hold, use and understand wireless remote which is used to play the game and can be stored in a compartment located in the console
3.)Kids are taught the value of a dollar, responsibility, and more
4.)Certain products cannot be purchased without parental permission and good grades in game play
5.)It’s a fun game that allows kids to experiment with hair, makeup, and clothing without actually doing it in real life
6.)It’s reasonably priced at anywhere between $30.00 and $45.00


1.)The way that your skill(fashion and lifestyle grades) points rise because of the amount of and popularity of materialistic things owned or obtained during game play

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