If you’ve already pored over the pre-season interviews, marveled at the retro fashions and doodled on a minimalist “falling Don” subway poster or two, then it’s time to click on Mad Men: The Game. It’s worth it.
Created by the Fine Brothers (who gave the same nostalgic treatment to Saved by the Bell), think of it as a Game Boy-era diversion for the AMC set. Beginning with a frame-by-frame conversion of the title sequence into a pixelated video game cut scene, the game finds Don Draper in his corner office doing what he does in every episode of the show: drinking scotch and pondering life’s unanswerable questions.
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From there, it morphs into “Choose Your Own Adventure” mode, but instead of turning pages you’re hopping to new YouTube clips in Peggy, Pete, and Betty-themed storylines. And, finally, you’re in control of Don and his dubious decision-making capabilities.
So, do you give in to Pete Campbell’s demands after he blackmails you by revealing he knows you’re really Dick Whitman? Do you promote Peggy after she saves an account with a sharp idea, or steal the credit? And do you take off your shoes outside of Bert Cooper’s fastidiously designed office, or just barge in? These are important questions.
And, depending on how it shakes out, Don will wind up with a nice confidence-boost for the day, finding inner peace, dying a grisly death or, uh, inadvertently causing World War III. Yes, it’s been too long since an actual episode of Mad Men arrived.