Search icon


14th Jun 2019

I played the Love Island simulation game and learned that God left us a long time ago

Ciara Knight

I’ve got a text notification!

Honestly, at this point in the Love Island cycle, really, if we’re going to be true to ourselves, we might as well just lean into it now and go hell for leather.

Love Island is a major part of our lives either directly or indirectly, and will continue to be so for the next two calendar months. You can try to resist it, but in the end, the sensation of missing out on some high quality meme content is going to eat you alive.

There is in existence a Love Island simulation game. That much is true. The easy option is to sit here and scoff at the mere idea of a game developer bandwagoning on a popular show, but that attitude is boring as hell. Instead, we must embrace it as tightly as the show itself. Why? For banter.

So I downloaded the game. I played it for short intervals over the course of three days. It consumed my life, I had fun with it, but ultimately it destroyed me and everything I stand for.

This is my story.

The game starts with an inspirational message. Nothing too hectic, just a vague statement in which you could replace the word ‘love’ with any number of nouns, such as ‘a good hairdresser’, ‘free wifi’, ‘a ripe avocado’ or ‘decent journalism these days’.

Next, I had to take a harsh look at my entire being and select a close representation of my appearance. The only gender option available in the game is GIRL, which fortunately is in line with my personal beliefs.

Luckily, the options for appearance were limited, so I avoided having to face up to the fact that I will never have perfect teeth, luscious hair or an adorable dimple when I smile.

The first attempt at conning me out of house and home took place within the opening minutes of the game. The app wanted me to use their special Love Island currency to pick a nicer swimsuit than the default one. Unlucky for them, I do not care about clothes in this fictional universe or the real one.

Also, 15 mythical gems is not a worthwhile price to look like you’ve just been mown over by the gardener as you were sunbathing in the back garden.

Once the issue of vanity was taken care of, I met my first fellow islander. I assumed the characters would mimic the current cast of the show, but a sassy girl named Hope with an aggressive posture quickly removed any such assumptions.

At this point I was prompted to enter my name. Rather than going down the responsible route and using my legitimate name, I foresaw the potential for humorous interactions later in the game.

Unfortunately, so did the game because it forbid me from inputting my name as ‘Bitch’, sadly. Anyone that is legally named Bitch will suffer the same fate with this game, so it’s worth giving your Mum a heads-up before she downloads it (lol).

Still whet for banter, I went for a semi-unacceptable name, one that the database wouldn’t pick up straight away as being overtly explicit, one that stuck with me since I was 8 years old and heard it being used as a very tame insult on EastEnders.

Yes, I called myself Slag. I have a Masters. I am 28 years old. I pay taxes. I can legally vote.

It’s a bad word, but it’s about time we reclaimed it and took away the power it holds over us all. To be called a slag is bad, but to deem yourself one before anyone else can is lowkey revolutionary. Also, fun fact, ‘slagroom’ is Dutch for whipped cream.

Before long, a new player entered the arena, with a stance even more intimidating than Hope’s.

Lottie quickly wanted to know what I do, but more importantly, her phrasing of the question gave me that sweet first hit of hilarity that I craved when I chose this particular name.

Imagine during the real Love Island as the girls were all meeting each other for the first time, one of them just casually said “What about you, Slag?” to her fellow contestant whose name was actually Tracy. To me, basically a child, that is very funny.

At this point I was faced with some multiple-choice answer options to field Lottie’s queries.

True to the spirit of Love Island and all who inhabit it, obviously I told my new friend Lottie that I was a social media influencer, which wasn’t technically a lie because one time I uploaded an Instagram post that got 52 likes and also Zayn Malik once liked then immediately unliked a tweet of mine for just long enough that I got the notification.

But that wasn’t enough. Lottie, classic Lottie was out for blood. She wanted more information which frankly I wasn’t prepared to give away at such an early stage in our friendship.

Cutting a little too close to the bone, I settled for ‘I play games online’ because tragically in that very moment I was playing a game online. I could feel these fictional girls judging me almost instantly, but I didn’t care because their postures were trash and would likely lead to severe lower back problems down the line.

A few more girls were introduced, all excruciatingly thinner than the last because even in AI form, the Love Island remains closed to bodies that are less than perfect and hairstyles that fail to achieve a salon finish at home.

I quickly learned that Lottie was full of shit and Hannah needed her split ends eradicated as soon as possible. I prayed that a hairdresser would enter the equation.

Instead, we got Marisol, a fictional woman who cites Amal Clooney, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, as her style icon. It didn’t take long before Lottie hit me with a sly dig in front of our new pal, made all the more cutting by her decision to use my fake name, Slag.

Not a moment too soon, I got a text, meaning I would soon be living my Love Island experience to the fullest. Someone had text me. What did they want? A chat? To put their eggs in my basket? To make me a cup of peppermint tea?

*Pauly D from Jersey Shore saying ‘Cabs are here’ voice* THE BOYS ARE HERE. The boys had arrived into this fictional villa and it was time for Slag to get to business.

As luck would have it, I was first up to take my pick from the boys. First there was Gary, a man who said his favourite dinner was his nan’s roast. Sadly, none of the reaction responses were ‘Looks like he’s going to perish almost instantly under the Mallorcan sun, needs to take his eyebrow dye down a shade or two, may be related to Gary Barlow’.

Then Noah, a 25-year-old librarian whose third interesting fact was simply ‘shhh’, which shows that he is either lazy / very much into banter, or the script writer lost the will to live in that very moment. Either way, you simply have to respect that kind of hustle.

Rocco’s profile felt like a very specific dig at someone that one of the game developers had previously dated, and I took great comfort in that. Whatever dizzying heights your career might achieve, you’re never too old or noble to rinse someone in a very public forum. Ever.

Ibrahim was Mr June in this year’s Men of Golf calendar, which was lowkey quite impressive, but then he said this…

Bobby brought his own apron with him, which made little sense because the islanders never cook and also the mere presence of an apron is a clear sign that you’re not a very good chef because you spill shit all over your clothes instead of into the designated pots and pans. Smdh, amateur.

The most interesting thing about Bobby was the fact that he had brought his own apron into the villa with him, so the less said about that, the better.

I felt physically sick when I realised that the boys had to step forward if they liked me. Despite being nothing like Slag, it was important that everyone in that villa fancied me at all times, even the camera operators and especially Caroline Flack.

As it transpired, everyone except Noah the librarian stepped forward. Book nonce.

After a quick chat, it was my turn to decide who to couple up with. Purely out of spite, I went with Noah because how dare he not step forward for Slag.

It was then time for the other girls to pick their guys, which all went smoothly until Hope entered the hunger games arena.

Blatantly out of spite, Hope picked my disinterested librarian because she is a messy bitch who lives for drama. Why couldn’t she pick apron man, or the golfer. Book nonce was mine and Hope came in like a wrecking ball. She made a powerful enemy in this entirely fictional world.

Relegated to the subs bench like some undesirable swine, I waited for the rest of the girls to match up with their boys. In the end, one was left over.

It was apron nonce Bobby, of course. I didn’t want to start a relationship with Noah, I merely wanted to interrogate the boy about why he didn’t step forward for me, then find out if the ‘Shh’ thing was a joke or he’s just very boring. Instead, I was denied the opportunity and landed with a guy who lives by the BYOA rulebook (bring your own apron).

At this point the game tried to trick me into paying money to speak to Bobby privately. Unlucky for them, I didn’t want to chat to a guy that wears metallic purple shorts, so quickly refused the option.


Determined with a renewed sense of self and an eagerness to win back my man completely out of spite, I attacked part two of Love Island with the spirit of a thousand battle-hungry warriors.

The next chapter was entirely down to me, so I opted for drinking because I felt that everyone would loosen up with some juice in them, especially book nonce Noah who was in a hopeless state coupled up with Hope.

Hope set feminism back 50 years by suggesting that the boys fetch the drinks.

I helped out because I wanted her to feel envious when all of the boys, including Noah, decided that they fancied Slag more than her.

During the course of our utterly pointless conversations, Bobby hit us all with a chillingly deep statement, one that cut right through my icy heart and left me for dead. It was unexpected, chilling and real.

Perhaps Noah could’ve contributed to the conversation if he’d spent all of that time in the library reading Nicholas Sparks novels, which is frankly better than any education system currently in place in the Western world. But instead, he stood there mute, devoid of any home truths about love.

As we all sipped some bubbles together, Hope described the champagne as “delicious” and “so classy”, which didn’t hang in the air long enough for me to body because Gaz got a text.

It transpired that we would be playing a game of truth or dare now, which is always an excellent idea after three sips of champagne with a group of horny strangers.

Hope opted to go first and chose ‘dare’ because she clearly has something to hide. At this point it was very clear what the narrative of the simulation game would be going forward. Hope was going to flaunt Noah in front of me because she’s a spiteful little cow.

Her dare was to touch someone’s toes and obviously she chose Noah’s. With that, things descended into deeply pornographic territory.

Frankly, the whole thing was obscene and a far cry from the usual Disney standard of the real Love Island. This game took a dark turn and I began to lose interest. Unfortunately, Hope’s desire to reduce me to an undesirable Slag, didn’t.

Sadly it was my turn for truth or dare. I picked ‘truth’ because I have nothing to hide, also the calibre of previous dares were at best disturbing.

Adding fuel to the fire and despair to Hope, I picked book nonce Noah as the hottest, half to provoke a reaction, half to keep my sinister narrative going.

Hope took the bait and slag-shamed Slag. Classic Hope. Next it was my platonic other half Bobby’s turn to be truthed or dared.


For the first time in my life, I found myself in a love square and it felt mildly flattering, but mostly very annoying. Bobby and I were platonically coupled up, but that didn’t give him grounds to adore anyone else but me. I felt sick.

Then Rocco out of nowhere said he fancied me, which was inevitable, but he had no business getting involved in the battle for Slag’s heart.


He gave me the bog standard Love Island chat to make his interest known, asking if I felt the same. Spoiler: I was purely in this game to break Noah and Hope’s hearts at this point. Everything else was merely background noise.

Thankfully Gary’s embarrassing declaration of love was interrupted by another stupid text, this time informing us that a new islander would be entering the villa. Perhaps it would be a second librarian.


At this stage I was thoroughly bored with the game and wanted to die, but still pushed through because I needed some sort of closure and also I am contractually obliged to finish every dumb thing I start.

If nothing else, I had to reclaim some form of dignity before the episode ended. Everyone had to fancy me, especially Noah, so I could then pie him for rejecting me at the start.

The third part of the game began with talking, so much talking. Too much talking.

The only place my “head” was at was crossing the finish line of this tourist visit to hell. I wanted to wash my hands of these fictional lunatics and their horniness, or at the very least, delete the app having known that I won in some small way.

It turned out I was being played again, this time by the game. Hope tried to coax me into spending money so that I could get a better outfit and therefore guarantee everyone fancying me. Not only was she a straight up cow, it became clear that she was also working for The Man.

Purely out of spite, I chose the default outfit because it’s what’s on the inside that counts, also this life-ruining app deserved 00.00 of my hard-earned pounds and pence, thank you very much.

The boys fell for the scam, all purchasing new outfits, two of which I will now body beyond belief.

Bobby’s new outfit makes him look like a safari tour guide who’s on a work night out that started just as he was finishing his shift. Three beers into the evening, he will make an inappropriate comment to one of the female staff members and be asked to leave. Of the four unnecessary gold zips on his shoes, he will only return home with three.

Rocco looks like a guy that’s really into the healing power of crystals and promoting a clean and healthy lifestyle which for some reason doesn’t extend to his fondness for narcotics. He went to Bali once and it “changed his life” (a girl let him poo on her chest). Whatever the occasion, his toes are always visible and he smells like lavender toilet spray.

Chat up lines were on the agenda next, which tragically put forward a very real case for lessening our collective fondness for childhood vaccinations.

Chronic. Absolutely chronic. I this stage I felt that things surely couldn’t get any worse in this free game that I have chosen, through my own free will, to play.

At this point it became clear that we are all living a soulless existence. God left us a long time ago and he’s never coming back. He’s off somewhere laughing at us all, being told about Heelys and Juuls and Davina McCall. This is a joke to him. Our lives are someone else’s entertainment. We are all on The Truman Show.

Then Hannah got a text.

Apron nonce Bobby wanted to pull Slag aside for a chat before the fresh meat arrived, which was inconvenient because the options within the game wouldn’t allow me to tell him to fuck all the way off and when he got there, continue to fuck off again.

What would Bobby want to chat about? Cheese prices in Papua New Guinea? Brexit? That borderline arousing sensation you get when you clean your ears?

Oh cool, he just wanted to have a vapid chat about our compatibility. Unfortunately, I wanted to chat about the appropriate number of buttons to have open on his shirt at that given moment (no more than three), but again the response options within the game were limited to flirting and spending money on private chats.

Thankfully our excruciating interaction was cut short by the arrival of the new contestant. I could sense that the episode was coming to a close and yearned for some kind of closure, or at the very least, a character like Maura who would burst in with a demonic horny energy that would confuse us all.

Instead, we got Priya, a girl whose resting stance is that of a magician’s assistant who’s been told to act thoroughly baffled at the heavily planned tricks that unfold throughout the act.

There was some general chitchat, with a few of the girls being standoffish towards Priya. I was warm to her because even in this fictional universe, I simply wanted everyone to get along and feel comfortable. Except Noah because he didn’t step forward for me at the start and that will haunt me to my grave.

We all chatted about important things such as the implications of a hard border in Northern Ireland and what age we each were when we found out it’s called ‘Cheestrings’, not ‘Cheese-strings’.

Then Bobby made one last-ditch attempt to woo Slag.

I told him it was fine because as per the official Love Island rulebook, couples must share a bed together. Was I going to degrade myself by sleeping on the couch in this fictional universe due to my indifference towards this fictional character? No. Not this time anyway.



I was in disbelief. Not only had I suffered through this entire game with the sole intention of seeking revenge on those that had wronged me, I was then asked to pay money to fictionally fuck.

Before I had time to process the absurdity of the situation, the final text of the night came through.

And that was it. End of the episode. End of show. End of my waking nightmare.

In a way, this whole experience was a giant metaphor for life. You start out with a set of intentions that get a bit muddled along the way, then vow to seek revenge at any cost, get distracted by some horny freaks, then ultimately never reach your end goal because you lose sight of what’s truly important.

As the app bounced on my screen around while I lowered my finger to delete it, I reached a brief moment of clarity.

Love Island is a fun show to watch because it allows you to escape the mundanity of everyday life, distracting you from your impending mortality for a brief hour every night (except Saturday for some reason). But was there any need for a simulation game based on the show that in no way allows you to deliver brutal and violent repercussions for those that dared to withhold their desire to fuck you? No.

It’s important to let people enjoy things. You don’t need to comment ‘Who cares?’ or ‘Love Island is shit’ under every piece of content that appears on your timeline. Everything is shit to someone, but it’s also good to someone else. If it’s not for you, move on. Exhale. Live.

Regardless of your feeling on the matter, there is one single thing that we can all agree on – God left us a long time ago and he’s never coming back. Also, Love Island really didn’t need a simulation game.