Have you ever seen one of those gross “girly” beauty games? They’re getting pretty extreme these days. It used to be that you gave a princess a pleasant makeover: some blusher, a layer of foundation, perhaps a new lippy. But now you can pull Snow White’s teeth out, shave Barbie’s beard (I kid you not) and pull all the snot and hairs out of Princess Elza’s nostrils. Yeah.
Disgusting stuff, sure, but isn’t this perhaps a little closer to what maintaining our looks is like? You have to take the zit-popping with the lash curling after all. That’s just how it is. And I think this is what’s currently missing from student project The Barber Shop. It has you working in a 1930s barbers where you shave the customers’ beards to whatever combination of under-nose bristle and chin-strapped fur they want.
Given that you’re meant to be a professional the cuts should be clean and smooth. You can achieve a rugged stubble by exclusively using the clippers while more demanding gents will require you to switch to a more precise razor for pencil mustaches and goatees. It is possible to hurt your customer by pushing the blade beyond the ears and to other parts of the face, but your mistake only produces a large red “-5.” That’s not enough.
(Image by Alpha Beta Gamer)
My most recent shave had me looking like a primitive cannibal after a particularly bloody meal. And thank goodness that I’m the only person who had to see that. I’d love to see The Barber Shop embrace this side of shaving and its potential for dark comedy, just as those girly games do. It’s what made Surgeon Simulator so popular too. Let me accidentally cut a dude’s face and see the blood drip down his cheek. I’m not a psychopath, honest, it’s just that The Barber Shop is ripe for this.
After all, the students who created the game have used the Unreal Engine in order to give us the satisfaction of seeing each individual hair fall away. There’s an effort to simulate the act of shaving here. But it falls a little flat as soon as you realize that this stern-looking guy you’re shaving is impervious to the messier realities of shaving. At least let me smother him in shaving foam.
All that said, I love turning a full beard into clean skin in the game, which is the only pleasure I get from actual shaving, funnily enough. I’m useless at grafting the more experimental facial hair types but that also reflects my real-life experience of shaving. Hopefully these students continue to work on The Barber Shop and add more details—both pleasing and repulsive—to the ordeal.