For most of recorded history, video games have been played and designed mostly by boys. You might picture a young John Carmack (the founder of id software) spending hours and hours in front of a screen so that other young men can do the same thing shooting bad guys in Wolfenstein and Doom. But recently, things have begun to change. More and more girls have got involved with gaming – and the industry, recognizing a sizable untapped market, has been keen to let them. Many of the most obvious examples of girl-oriented gaming are adaptations of girl-oriented toys: Barbie Horse Adventures and Detective Barbie spring to mind. And then there have been more women represented in mainstream games: nowadays, you’re just as likely to see a woman onscreen as you are a man.When did girls start to get in on the action? The truth is they’ve always been there. Polling by the industry indicates that girls make up roughly half of people who play games, even if not quite as many of them identify themselves as ‘gamers’. Women tend to choose games of a different sort to men. Soccer management games and transport simulators that require hours and hours of obsessing over details are mostly played by men; women, on the whole, tend to prefer more casual puzzle games, along with story-driven RPGs.Of course, we’re generalising here. There’s no reason that girls can’t play any of the games available here on the Gamepix site, just as there’s no reason that boys can’t play any of the games listed in this section. But there’s no denying that the games listed here have a distinctly feminine flavor. They’ve been designed specifically with the tastes of girls in mind, and involve activities like dressing up, styling hair, and running small businesses. And they’re all unblocked in HTML5, meaning that they can be played on any device!
Things you always find in games for girls
What girls like and appreciate is a topic of great mystery, especially for mostly-male game designers. But there are a few things we can be certain of. While girls make up a minority of the character-base in mainstream shoot-em-ups, beat-em-ups and RPGs, there are plenty of games that are built to appeal to the female of the species. Dressing up, applying make-up and looking after the occasional infant are pastimes which these titles are concerned with. No-one in the games listed here is about to be shot, or eaten by a bear or run over by a tank. Instead, they’ll be poring through several dozen sorts of lipstick in order to determine which will make the greatest impact on the high-school graduation prom. This section represents something of an island of tranquillity amid a sea of testosterone. That’s not to say there aren’t consequences of failure in these games. After all, getting that winning outfit even slightly wrong can lead to the ridicule of your female peers, and possibly even ostracism, which is something that no girl wants. Dress-up games are great for experimenting with colour and style combinations which can then be applied to the real world – just don’t expect the results to be quite the same.
GamePix’s Collection of games for girls
So, what games are available for girls? At the top of the pile are our dress-up games like Fashion Designer. This game offers you the chance to dress your character up in a wide variety of ways, using a vast selection of skirts, dresses, tops and pants. As there are so many items available, there are billions of combinations – and that’s before we even get to hair and accessories. Games of this sort let your imagination run wild! In a similar vein is Superstar Kitty Fashion Award, where the models you’re dressing up are actually human-shaped giant cats; then there’s Fun Summer Holiday, where you’re preparing for a day at the beach; and there’s also Geisha Make-Up, where you make up Jun Ji-Hyun, one of the most famous and glamorous actresses to ever come out of South Korea. In the latter case, the player is thrust into the role of stylist because the regular girl came down with an illness – and it’s up to you to make the most of the opportunity and ensure that Ji-Hyun comes out of the dressing room looking as spectacular as possible. In a similar vein is Panda Hair-do, which involves looking after the hair and outfit of a girl who is going to be looking after the pandas at the local zoo. In real life, caring for an enormous mammal who lounges around eating bamboo all day might not be a job that requires a great deal of glamor – but in this game, the panda-keeper wants to look her best! As well as dress-up games, there are more traditional puzzlers which come with a skin that will appeal to girls. In Calming Lia, you’ll have to clear a traditional match-3 board of rotating fruits – but you’ll need to do so on behalf of a girl called Lia and her teddy-bear, Bao. As a bonus, this game comes with soothing music and graphics, making it a great way to unwind when you’re not hard at work. Then there’s Beauty Cat Salon, which is another game involving cats, except this time they’re not gigantic, but normal-sized. The objective is to actually give the cat a quick haircut. The only problem in this instance is that the owner of the cat actually doesn’t want you to give it a haircut, and if she catches you doing it she’ll throw you out of the salon. Fortunately, she spends most of her time distracted, chatting on the phone, and so you have plenty of opportunity to sneak in. Another common theme running through our games for girls is royalty. In Your Queen Destiny, players must train to become a monarch. In Princess Curse, players must cure a monarch who’s been turned to stone. Who said games for girls can’t be serious?