So, for once, the tables were turned on Simon Cowell when his virtual alter ego judged his performance as a Pop Idol contestant in the game: "I get fiercely competitive when playing the game," says Simon, "The further you go in the game, the harder it gets, and it is strange to be on the receiving end of my cutting remarks for once. However, if I've played badly the criticism is justified, so I just deal with it and start again."
Neil Fox also had to face virtual Simon's judgement: "I've been practising away on the game. It's great fun but rather bizarre being on the receiving end for once – the judges' comments can be pretty cutting, particularly those coming from a certain Mr.Cowell."
For Nikki Chapman it was creating a virtual contestant and styling them that plugged her into the gameplay: "I think that girls are going to love it - they can create and style their own Pop Idol contestant, choosing their hair, make-up and clothes, then they take control of their singing voice and take them right through to the finals – just like competing in the TV show itself. It's also great for family entertainment and may well replace the usual old board games this Christmas."
Set to be the mass-market smash hit video game this winter, Pop Idol – The Official Video Game launches for PlayStation 2 and PC on November 7, with Game Boy Advance shortly after, during the thrilling second series of the smash-hit reality TV entertainment show, co-produced by Thames Television and 19TV, on ITV1. For all the latest on the game, see the website at: www.codemasters.co.uk/popidol