DJ Pauly D – Beat That Boardwalk: A Guilty Pleasure

When it comes to trashy reality television, the US has a lot of the major bases covered. We’ve got Housewives shows from all over the country, the Bachelor keeps getting more and more like a trip to the Bunny Ranch, and then there’s the king of it all, MTV’s The Jersey Shore. If you don’t know about it, Google it. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Now not everyone likes the show, but as is usually the case with these types of things, one or two people tend to break out and form their own careers. With The Jersey Shore, it seems to be DJ Pauly D, the chiseled man with the blow-out hairstyle. And guess what. He’s got an iPhone game named DJ Pauly D – Beat That Boardwalk. Could it possibly be any good?

A Qualifier

Although I’ve been known to watch the show The Jersey Shore, I find it to be more of a guilty pleasure more than anything. I enjoy watching the people screw up, get crazy drunk and do stupid things, and in the process of watching the shows I’ve found that two characters are particularly relatable, one of them being Pauly, also known as DJ Pauly D.

The game starts with a how-to that makes it pretty clear how to play.

The game starts with a how-to that makes it pretty clear how to play.

When I heard about the game, it was on a temporary sale — free, just for a day or two. What was the harm? Worst case scenario, I figured that I’d have something to make fun of on Twitter. But then I played it. And I liked it. A lot.

Heading to the Shore

But why? Although this game was built to represent a modern character, it looks like it’s straight out of 1987 and the original Mega Man. Yes, this is Pauly in 8-bit mode, and on a 2-D platform to boot, so you don’t have a lot of freedom to move. Just tap up or down and you’ll move up or down the boardwalk, and to jump, you tap the button on the left. This makes using it easy and quick, and a lot of fun.

It's your standard 8-bit side scroller, but with a Jersey twist.

It's your standard 8-bit side scroller, but with a Jersey twist.

The Plot

Although it’s pretty loose, the basic premise here is that you’re Pauly, and you’re trolling the boardwalk for women, who are easy to pick out from the “grenades” (his term for unattractive women) by their waving hands and tan bodies. In his way are the aforementioned grenades; “juice heads,” his term for built up, presumably steroid-enhanced men; plus his boss from the T-shirt shop on the TV show.

For 99 cents, you can download the Italy level which gives you a scooter and an extra life.

For 99 cents, you can download the Italy level which gives you a scooter and an extra life.

To pick up girls, you just run into them, just like you were picking up a coin in Super Mario Bros. Other bonus items include gold jewelry, headphones and boomboxes, so pick them up along the way as well.

The Power Ups

No respectable 8-bit game would be complete without its share of power ups, and this game holds true to form. In the first season of The Jersey Shore, Mike (the guy known as The Situation) coined a term that’s been used ever since: GTL, which stands for gym, tan, laundry. For the characters on the show, it’s important that they GTL as much as possible, because it keeps them looking good (or rather, what they consider to be attractive).

Power ups give you cool 8-bit rewards.

Power ups give you cool 8-bit rewards.

Your life meter in DJ Pauly D is a tan meter, which has a few different bars in various gradients of brown to indicate how tan you are. When you get more and more light skinned, a warning comes up: “Dangerously Pale!” and you have to find a tanning salon quick.

As you go down the boardwalk, gyms, tanning salons and laundry shops are randomly placed, and you just walk in to get your bonus. A quick 8-bit graphic appears, and then you hit the road with either a power up, fresh change of clothes or a darker complexion. If you hit the three shops in GTL order, then you get a bigger power up that lets you wander right through opponents for a limited time.

Bad Guys

It takes a bit, but eventually you run into your first boss fight, which in this case is a huge grenade. After dodging its screams and yells, then your next boss is the network executives, a nod to the business side of things which I found humorous. after them comes the Blabbermouth, a girl who spits out words that you have to avoid or risk dying.

That's a huge grenade.

That's a huge grenade.

Taking Out the Trash

Ultimately, it took me a long time to decide whether or not I should review this game for the site. Although I enjoy watching the antics showcased on The Jersey Shore, it’s also one of the greatest signs that American culture is on the decline as we continue to worship these tan-trash pseudo-celebrities. Should I even promote them at all? What will the readers think?

But then I came to a pretty basic conclusion. If  you didn’t know anything about The Jersey Shore, and you took that element out of the game, what would you have left?

You’d have a fun to play, side-scrolling 8-bit game where you avoid bad guys, pick up power ups and avoid the big bosses at the end of every level. And is that fun?

Yes. Which is why I decided that it belonged here on the site.

That said, knowing the background of the show does give you insight to the characters and why you’re doing certain actions, and definitely adds to the overall experience. But the show itself doesn’t negate the fact that the app hits all of my key criteria for an iPhone game: It’s fun to play, easy to pick up and put down (like if you wanted to play while waiting for an appointment), and the controls are easy to use.

Final Thoughts

Someday, historians are going to look back at this period of time and think that we were a bunch of barbarians, watching ourselves de-evolve right there on the television. They may be right, and if so, The Jersey Shore certainly plays a fair share in that process.

But when it comes to this game — DJ Pauly D – Beat That Boardwalk — it’s just plain fun to play. Forget the societal critiques and all that drama, just pick it up and play it. It’s good, clean fun.

Yea, buddy.


Play as Pauly from MTV's Jersey Shore and wander the boardwalk looking for women and avoiding grenades in 8-bit splendor.