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Epyx Barbie first dress-up game?

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Posted (edited)

Good question. I don't know what might have predated it. There were dating sims earlier (see e.g. Don Juan for the Oric and Amstrad), but it was more in line with you're the guy trying to pick up a girl with compliments rather playing as the girl trying to dress to impress her boyfriend (and not suffer domestic violence if she failed).

 

The Femicom museum tries to catalog girl oriented games. So far they've only got 86 games listed, beginning with Barbie for the C64 and Apple II.

 

While it goes outside of your question, another early girl oriented game mentioned is the Infocom text adventure Plundered Hearts by Amy Briggs 1987. It has nothing to do with dress-up though.

 

I'm having a feeling there might be slightly earlier educational titles aimed at girls, but again even little girls supposedly have more interests than clothing dolls so it would not strictly relate to your question.

 

Edit: While it also has nothing to do with dressing up, I got reminded about face matching games such as Face Ache, Face Maker etc. Those tend to look like guys though, but in some respect could be considered a forerunner to the dress-up games.

Edited by carlsson
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Depending on how broadly you want to stretch the definition, there is Strawberry Shortcake Musical Matchups (1983):

https://atariage.com/software_page.php?SoftwareLabelID=512

 

One can mix-and-match the character's outfits, though there is only one "correct" choice. 

 

Of course asking an audience composed primarily of middle-aged men is probably not the best way to get an answer. Most of us had limited interest in this genre of games even back in the 1980s... 🤣

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Posted (edited)
On 8/7/2020 at 8:57 AM, carlsson said:

Good question. I don't know what might have predated it. There were dating sims earlier (see e.g. Don Juan for the Oric and Amstrad), but it was more in line with you're the guy trying to pick up a girl with compliments rather playing as the girl trying to dress to impress her boyfriend (and not suffer domestic violence if she failed).

 

The Femicom museum tries to catalog girl oriented games. So far they've only got 86 games listed, beginning with Barbie for the C64 and Apple II.

 

While it goes outside of your question, another early girl oriented game mentioned is the Infocom text adventure Plundered Hearts by Amy Briggs 1987. It has nothing to do with dress-up though.

 

I'm having a feeling there might be slightly earlier educational titles aimed at girls, but again even little girls supposedly have more interests than clothing dolls so it would not strictly relate to your question.

 

Have fun (I guess Artworx had the 'un-dressing' female games):

 

Leading (main) female characters in video games:

 

Odyssey:

Female player (Simon Says, Odyssey, 1972, selectable main character)

 

Apple ][:

Female player selection (Akalabeth: World of Doom, Origin, 1979, selectable)

Clair (Cave Girl Clair, Addison Wesley, 1983, main character)

Lauren (Lauren of the 25th century, Addison Wesley, 1983, main character)

Chelsea (Chelsea of the south sea Islands, Addison Wesley, 1983, main character)

Jenny (Jenny of the prairie, Addison Wesley, 1984, main character)

 

 

Arcade:

Ms. Pac-Man (Ms. Pac-Man, Bally Midway, 1981, main character)

Lady Bug (Lady Bug, Universal, 1981, main character)

Kissy and Takky (Baraduke, Namco, 1985, main characters)

 

 

ATARI VCS:

Billie Sue (Wabbit, Games by Apollo, 1982, main character), 1st human female main character in a console game

Dolphin  (Dolphin, female Dolphin, Activision, 1983, main character)

Lilly (Lilly Adventure, Home Vision, Alice (Alice Adventure, Quelle, 1983, main character)

Laurie Strode (Halloween, Wizard Video Games, 1983, main character)

Blond girl (Ghost Manor, Xonox, 1983, selectable)

Leading Lady (Beat ‘em and eat ‘em, Mystique, 1983, main character)

Strawberry Shortcake (Strawberry Shortcake, Parker, 1983, main character)

Chinese Girl (Dancing Plates, Dishaster, Bit Corp.,Zimag,  1983, main character)

Miss Piggy (Pigs in Space starring Miss Piggy, Atari, 1983, main character)

 

 

Inventa (handheld game & watch)

Snow White (Snow White, Inventa, 1983, main character

Sleeping Beauty (Sleeping Beauty, Inventa, 1983, main character)

 

 

Colecovison:

Anna Lee (Cabage Patch Kids, Coleco, 1984, main character)

 

 

Atari 8-bit:

Clair (Cave Girl Clair, Addison Wesley, 1983, main character)

Lauren (Lauren of the 25th century, Addison Wesley, 1983, main character)

Chelsea (Chelsea of the south sea Islands, Addison Wesley, 1983, main character)

Jenny (Jenny of the prairie, Addison Wesley, 1984, main character)

Kim Kimberly (Snowball, Return to Eden, Level 9 Computing, 1983, 1984, main character)

Candi, Marlena, Dominique, Lindsay, Dawn, Crystal, Cynthia, Janice, Suzie, Melissa, Marina, Sylvia (Strip Poker, Artworx, 1983, main characters)

Alexandra (Lode Runner’s Rescue, Synapse, 1985, main character)

Englishwoman (Plundered Hearts, Infocom, 1987, main character)

 

 

Sega SG-1000:

Papri (Girl’s Garden, Sega, 1984, main character)

 

 

C64:

Barbie (Barbie, Epyx, 1984, main character)

Trixie Trinian (The secret of St. Brides, Audiogenic, 1985, main character)

Alter Ego female version (Alter Ego, Activision, 1986, main character)

Edited by high voltage
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Good list to work from. Of course it could be a dress-up game with a male protagonist, though it would be more likely to be a female to begin with. Compare to those paper dolls which have been around all through the 20th century, those existed both as women, men and sometimes children.

 

Regarding the comparison to Strawberry Shortcake Musical Matchups, from what I remember in Barbie you only have a few "correct" choices of clothing and hairstyle for each event Ken invites you to. If you make a mistake, you have a few chances to correct it before the screen goes all black and it is game over. Some people have interpreted the black screen as that Ken loses his temper and beats Barbie unconscious for her lack of fashion. Apparently the less clothes she wears, the more happy Ken gets no matter if they're going to the beach, the movies, the restaurant or somewhere else which would be a safe card to play - bikini everywhere!

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On second thought, it seems that Rachel is only including those games with/for girls that she personally owns, which means a lot of those you mentioned would need to be in her possession, or she would extend the museum with a genre listing of items she doesn't own. I suppose that is the difference between a catalog, a library and a museum.

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