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New Video Games For Girls

Video game playing is no longer just the turf of adolescent and teen boys battling it out in gory fantasy games and beat'em up techno worlds. A new breed of video games aims to capture the pre-teen girl with it's own pink brand of video game playing. How do these games compare to the slash and kill violence ridden games that have held our young men's minds captive the past 20 years?

The Clique: Diss and Make-up by Ninetendo DS

Players in this popular video game for girls assume various student roles in a private girls school where they move through a series of mini-games to earn points and money to do whatever it takes to fit into the popular clique, including gossip, develop your fashion sense, attend classes, and even work after school jobs to earn the money needed to be competitive in their attempt to climb the social ladder of school. This game is based on the book by the same name, by author Lisi Harrison and presents teen life as one misadventure after another to be cool and get invited to all the best parties, as well as finding the "right" friends and boyfriend to increase your cool quotient. The Clique: Diss and Make-Up game will be released this fall.

Message communicated in this game:

Be cool no matter what low level of behavior you have to embrace. Girls need approval of all the right people to be happy. Oh yeah, and the right clothes!

Love and Dating video games

Remember when the Dating Game on TV was the hot show to watch. There was a board game that came out where pre-teens would "play the game" to be chosen by the cute boy.

Well, An entire genre of video games along this model are popping up providing the same message to all of our young girls; you need a guy or your life is hopeless!

Love, Fashion and Friends, My Boyfriend, or A Girl's First Love, are all three examples of this type of popular video games for girls.

In everyone of these dating games, the girl has to contort herself into winning the boy to make herself feel complete and whole. Looking around the world at women everywhere, when are we going to stop modeling this behavior for our daughters? Now we need video games to teach them how to engage in the same destructive and demeaning behavior we've tolerated for the past 50 years? The messages we as teens picked up from popular television shows, movies and music videos have for the most part been centered in how women can use fashion, seduction, and annihilation of self to win the right man.

Message presented in dating video games:

Do whatever it takes to win the right man, transform yourself into his ideal and you'll live happily ever after. Change yourself and be prettier, thinner, sexier and sweeter with all the right traps to entrap your man.

Fashion and Style Video Games

Even if the emphasis isn't on dating and finding true love through deception, another genre of girl video games deals completely on fashion and style. Style Savy for Ninetendo comes out this fall. Players assume roles as the owner of an upscale boutique, managing the store inventory, finances and keeping up with the latest fashion trends to make more money.

This all begins so sweetly and innocently with our little girls dressing up their Bratz dolls or their Barbie. Then it's the first Barbie Fashion video game that sucks them in to this fashionista world.

Barbie has come a long way into the future with this new emphasis on outfitting Barbie in the latest fashion trends. When I was a young girl, I remember sewing together scraps of cloth to clothe my Barbie's magnificient breasts. Make pants was always challenging to get the wide enough to fit her bum and cinch enough at her hourglass waist. Now all a child has to do is click, click, click.

If the young teen girl wants a more realistic looking fashion model, she can purchase The Sims Fashion Game and send her model down a virtual runway, dressed in her own unique designs. http://fashionrunway.sims.yahoo.com/

Apparently the market for fashion video games is now moving over to young adult women, who can't afford all those fabulous designer clothes, so they're playing video games to live out their dreams and the Sims 2 Fashion Game is aimed at attracting more and more adult users.

Message communicated in fashion video games

It's all about the clothes! After all does it really matter to girls with the right clothes that they live on a planet where, according to UNICEF, "25, 000 children die each day due to poverty. And they "die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world."

July the 11th of this year ws World Population Day and the theme for 2009 is "Fight Poverty, Educate Girls". The belief is that if we educate our girls about human rights, gender equality and poverty, they will be empowered to change their world.

I wonder if we could design a video game that teaches that concept.

Resources used in research

Los Angeles Times


United Nations Global Issues

By Betty Malone - "There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning." - Thornton Wilder This is Betty's daughter. Betty Malone died unexpectedly Tuesday, N...  

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