If you're an "America's Next Top Model" watcher who can't get enough of the CW network reality show, you might be interested in this. Thanks to a new tie-in, you can play your own version of the game on your cell phone. It's a product of CBS Interactive, the new-media wing of CW co-parent CBS; and Hong Kong-based avatar and mobile-game company Artificial Life--yes, the creator of the V-Girl cell phone girlfriends. (Artificial Life also created the far awesomer V-Penguins.)
But the "ANTM" collaboration doesn't seem to be a virtual-girlfriend kind of deal. In fact, it reminds me more of--dare I say it--Tamagotchis or NeoPets. Participants select an avatar of a real contestant, and complete a series of "challenges" that resemble the TV show's modeling training. To mix things up a bit, a "least favorite" contestant's avatar will occasionally play a dirty trick or two. There is, in addition, a series of player-to-player features that will pop up in the game.
The game will cost you $5.99 plus any applicable data traffic fees. But not everyone can play: It's only open to Cingular and Sprint users, and only certain cell phones are supported. But if you're interested, you can download it here.