activities

Of Course, “Video Games For Girls” Have To Include Fashion

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Fashion Hazard is a new mobile device game that I downloaded this morning because I couldn’t wait to see what this new “video games for girls” was going to be all about. Spoiler Alert: It’s pretty lame. It’s brought to us by Interactive Product Group unit of Condé Nast, and is loosely based on Temple Run.  Instead of collecting coins and dodging monkey obstacles like in Temple Run, in Fashion Hazard you strut down a couture runway and dodge items that are deadly to high fashion models, like lattes and cheeseburgers. And sleepy models who are lying across the runway, like they just quit in the middle of a Dolce and Gabbana fashion week show and decided to take a nap. And you have to jump over cobras, because if there is one thing always prevalent at fashion shows, it’s cobras, and 1980’s jam boxes because the producers of the shows on Fashion Hazard have never heard of using DJs in their shows, they just leave boom boxes all over the place playing cassette tapes of Kajagoogoo on the catwalk. You also get to collect coins that are stamped B, for “bling” because girls like bling.

I’m a gamer. I have a family of gamers. We own pretty much all the systems, and we enjoy playing games together as a family. I’m always on the lookout for new games that will appeal to me and my young daughter, so we decided to give Fashion Hazard a try.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The group didn’t set out to design videogames, but Juliana Stock, the unit’s senior director of product and business development, got the idea last year as she watched her tween-age daughter avidly play “Temple Run.”
.”A lot of [popular] games have a male aesthetic. You’re a juvenile delinquent, you’re Indiana Jones,” says Ms. Stock. Girls’ games often involve making cake, slicing fruit, or dressing dolls. “I felt that’s a weird message for girls.”

And strutting down a runway avoiding flying hamburgers isn’t? It’s great that a company wants to develop games for girls, and according to the Entertainment Software Association, girls and women make up the fastest-growing gaming demographic, but do these companies have such a limited view of girls that the best we can offer them are games based on playing at virtual fashion model or taking care of fluffy baby animals in the popular Ubisoft Nintendo DS Games?

My daughter, age 7, had this to say about Fashion Hazard:

“Well, it’s hard. And there are four different cities. It’s sort of fun but I don’t know why people keep throwing things at me and do I have to keep playing this?

I then asked her what she wanted to play in a video game and she replied:

I would like to see more video games with animals and bricks in them. And London. I would like games where you get to go to London and buy toys and eat ice cream and you could get bricks and build houses.”

So basically, Minecraft. 

When it comes to kids and gaming, especially girls, I don’t think we need games based on what we assume kids will like or outdated sexist stereotypes, fashion and housekeeping for girls, breaking and killing stuff for boys. The most popular games in my household either involve open-ended play where kids get to showcase their creativity, like Minecraft or the Little Big Planet franchise , or games with addictive gameplay and super wacky storylines, like Parappa The Rappa or Katamari Damacy . It’s like how we don’t need Legos for girls, we just want normal Legos that have different colored bricks. At a price of ninety nine cents, Fashion Hazard isn’t the worst game you can buy, but I doubt it will get a lot of play in my house.

(Photo: Adage)