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I have an idea for the ultimate video game for girls. I call it What Goes With What. I haven't worked out the details of the game yet, but you could imagine lots of varieties around the core concept I will describe.

Imagine at the beginning of the game your screen is filled with images of shoes, purses, scarves, pants, blouses, and all manner of human adornments. The screen is totally packed with these images, all smallish. The computer randomly highlights any one of these images and you have 30 seconds to click on all the other things on the screen that would look good with the original item.

This combines the joy of shopping with the skill of quickly deciding on style and fashion. I believe this would be pure catnip for girls.

Another version of the game might involve furniture, carpets, window treatments and the like. Again you'd have a time limit to figure out which things went well with other things.

It's a running joke that females enjoy shopping. While there are plenty of exceptions to the stereotype, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that evolution probably wired women to find pleasure in shopping in much the same way boys are wired to enjoy blowing up stuff. The video games that work best are the ones that connect to those most basic urges.

As custom requires, several of you will tell me there is a video game that does exactly what I described. Then you will provide a link to a game that is different from what I described.
 
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May 18, 2009
Are you kidding? There's a whole genre of internet games called "dress up games" which follow that idea. But, they're mainly aimed at boys, since you can take all the clothes off and see a naked girl.
 
 
May 18, 2009
Evolution? Sure. But societal evolution, not genetic.
 
 
May 18, 2009
An even more Ultimate Game for girls would be one where the main character, a woman or whatever age/appearance the player decides upon, in any environment the player decides upon (school, work, etc.) has to go through the motions of pretending to love and care about a computer-controlled male character (there would be many types to choose from, each of different personality and difficulty), earn his trust, get him to fall in love with her, and then rip his FKN heart out. This would be pure catnip for females.
 
 
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May 18, 2009
I struggle with the pigeonhole of a girl not being interested in games and fighting and blowing things up. I might be reading my own drama as a female gamer and a martial artist who is also pretty and likes to dress up into your post but when I see a blanket statement such as, "this would be pure catnip to girls," I start feeling uncomfortable. I really do think that the game would do well and that a lot of girls would play it (I mean, look at the success of the Bratz dolls and other things like them) but I'd probably not introduce the game to my daughter because her papa and I are trying to teach her not to give into consumer culture and stereotypes about what a woman or girl should be. I'd rather see her play a game with a confident, accomplished heroine than a glorified matching game.
 
 
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May 18, 2009
Underlying psychology which predispositions me to like shopping and decorating because I have girly bits? Hmm... must have left it in my other pants.

And, while there certainly is a fabulously exploitable market for a game involving matching clothes (it may not even be made up of *just* females,) it makes me sad for you, Mr. Adams, that you assume that matching clothes and accessories would be "the ultimate game for girls" (you know what they say about what happens when you assume things).

Oh, and Roseme, I agree with you, (both times) there really aren't enough female protagonists like Alex Vance to balance them all out.
 
 
May 18, 2009
I have my own theory as to why most women seem to enjoy shopping more than most men. Thousands of years ago, men did the hunting, women did the gathering. These innate drives never really left us. Blowing stuff up is just a mutation of hunting. Shopping is gathering... searching for stuff, bringing it home.

I'm a girl who likes to watch stuff get blown up and I'm not overly fond of shopping. Based on my experiences, I didn't come across a lot of other females like me, even though I'm sure there are thousands of us. I hate stereotypes, but it seems willfully blind to ignore the roving packs of teenage girls in a mall.

There are a few fashion games out there. I know Mattel licenses a Barbie one and there's a fashion solitaire game on Yahoo! games, I think. Nothing like has been suggested in this article, but those two games at least are very popular with the women in my family.
 
 
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May 18, 2009
Yes, Scott, that is correct. Men and women ARE very similar.

Female gamers have already spoken. They don't want games that talk down to them. They don't want games that pander to stupid stereotypes -- girl gamers are already breaking a stereotype, just by simultaneously liking video games and having uteruses. What girl gamers want is representation; normal, fun games, that happen to have girl characters as protagonists. We want more than just Sonya Blade and Lara Croft, who are really just eye candy for boy gamers.

But of course, nobody makes cool, fun video games that have equal numbers of female protagonists, because everyone knows that girls don't want any more action than the bloodlust over the last purse at Macy's annual 5-day sale. Also, boys don't want to play as a girl character because that would turn them into sissies, and also possibly gay.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 18, 2009
Yes, clearly that is exactly what we need. Yet another incredibly stupid video game targeted for girls that reinforces gender stereotypes - because all women must LOVE shopping! And all men must hate it!

A common complaint among girl gamers is that most of the GOOD games have no female characters -- because clearly, girl have no interest in blowing !$%* up, killing zombies, stealing cars, or anything actually fun -- and that any game targeted towards women invariably sucks. And plays on the same old tired stereotypes.

Anrwlias hits on a good point - The Sims was a great game. It had male AND female main characters. You could design your own character. That's pretty awesome. And then, predictably, completely misses the point. Maybe girls liked that game for THE SAME reasons that men liked it! And it WASN'T just to go virtual shopping! Gasp.

[Because men and women are very similar? -- Scott]
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 18, 2009
Scott Adams apparently speaking to us here from some time in the early 1950s, where he has unaccountably become trapped.

It is to be hoped that he rejoins the rest of us soon.

[I'm pretty sure it was the 70s when it was popular to think boys and girls were exactly the same. -- Scott]
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 18, 2009
My wife and daughters would love this. I can just imagine them shouting at the screen the way I shout at Madden. "What do you mean those shoes don't go with that purse?!? Are you color blind?!?"
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 18, 2009
Wouldn't this be better marketed at men? In general, men are the ones who need help in this dept.

I'm with Dingbat and Kathryn, though. I could get a rat's... about those things, but I rarely fit the stereotype.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 18, 2009
Catnip? For me and my particular segment of the population (that is, people with two X chromosomes who enjoy gaming but not necessarily shopping,) I'm thinkin' not so much. Though, maybe if you added Gordon Freeman and a crowbar to the mix... ;)

It might make a good Nintendo DS game though. It could be one of those "Dreamer" games, like "Dreamer Series: Puppy Trainer" I mean, you'd have to have some sort of plot points somewhere, right? ...Maybe...?

 
 
May 18, 2009
If it could actually be used to train some of us to have taste, I might go for it.

I've had splotches of colors painted on my living room walls for about 6 months now. Last fall, I bought paint samples and slapped them up so that I could live with them for a bit to decide what I like. None of them look good and I've lost interest - so the walls look like a five-year-old's art project. I'm good with that. I probably won't do much better once I do decide to finish the project.

I guess I qualify as an exception to the stereotype. I used to let my husband help pick out clothes for me - since I'm not much better at that than I am at house decor. It finally dawned on my that his tastes had nothing to do with style and color and everything to do with minimizing the amount of fabric involved. There's not much help for the hopeless out there.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 18, 2009
If it could actually be used to train some of us to have taste, I might go for it.

I've had splotches of colors painted on my living room walls for about 6 months now. Last fall, I bought paint samples and slapped them up so that I could live with them for a bit to decide what I like. None of them look good and I've lost interest - so the walls look like a five-year-old's art project. I'm good with that. I probably won't do much better once I do decide to finish the project.

I guess I qualify as an exception to the stereotype. I used to let my husband help pick out clothes for me - since I'm not much better at that than I am at house decor. It finally dawned on my that his tastes had nothing to do with style and color and everything to do with minimizing the amount of fabric involved. There's not much help for the hopeless out there.
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
May 18, 2009
There is a video game that does exactly what you described. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Theft_Auto_(series)
 
 
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May 18, 2009
"...as custom requires..." Best line of the whole post!

Ever check out the IKEA site? If that isn't unfiltered "catnip" for the ladies, nothing is!
 
 
May 18, 2009
So, does the game keep a score and, if so, what's the algorithm to decide whether or not something goes well together.

So, having said that, I would note that one of the major appeals of the Sims games, for women, is that it emphasizes shopping for clothes and furniture. Obviously, this is different from what you're describing, but I think that it taps into the same underlying psychology.

[Experts would decide what goes with what in advance. -- Scott]
 
 
May 18, 2009
Do you know what's funny? You probably have an entire video game franchise you could develop with just that one idea.

You really need to start e-mailing these ideas to your agent first, because one can only assume that after the whole "pillaging the oceans for treasure" gets boring, some Somali pirate will turn to the internet to plunder your great ideas for millions of dollars.

You could even set up the game to have a "goth version" or a "preppy version" because after all, your rating system would have to have some concrete way of grading the clothing selections, no?
 
 
May 18, 2009
And this is different from a timed trip to the mall (Dad is outside waiting in the car) by only the interface provided to the player. Real life vs. Online. Think about it. More exercise if you take the kid to the mall (with friends, of course) and say that you'll wait 30 minutes and if she's back with matched outfits you'll pay for one of them. Cheaper than the computer/game and lots more exercise. And that's what's usually happening at the mall on any given weekend. Sport shopping.
 
 
 
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