My Secret, Shameful Love Affair with Girly Games

There are exactly zero people in my life who would refer to me as a girly girl. It’s not that I eschew things that are feminine — I’m wearing both makeup and the color pink as I type this — it’s that I don’t have a natural inclination toward stereotypical “girly” things. I own less than five pairs of shoes, I can’t figure out how to do things like apply nail polish or eyeliner, I don’t know how people wear scarves with their outfits and make it look good, and I genuinely can’t remember the last time I wore jewelry.

Obviously, none of this is a big deal. The truly stereotypical people I meet are few and far between, and I’m pretty content with my level of girliness. There’s just one problem. One strange, secret problem.

I love girly video games.

Barbie Fashion Game

It all started when I attended a summer computer camp as a kid. We had a free-time block where we could choose from a huge selection of games. This was pretty thrilling on its own, but things got even more interesting when I realized they had a Barbie game. Back then, most of the games I played didn’t even have female characters, and the idea of a game that revolved entirely around girl stuff was exciting. I took Barbie to the hairdresser, got her ready for dates, and had a jolly good time.

From there, a secret love was born. I still played Zelda and Final Fantasy and all the stuff I’d always loved, but I also played Purple Moon games and fashion design games to my heart’s content. Even then, I sensed that this interest was something I should keep hidden. I’d talk up Harvest Moon to anyone I met, but girlier games were carefully hidden out of sight.

DOA Beach Volleyball

Keeping this secret only got trickier as I approached adulthood. My passion for frothy pink games was embarrassing when I was a kid, but it was still socially acceptable. I couldn’t bring myself to take my goofy dress-up games up to the cash register, even if I pretended they were for someone else. I had some outlets, like The Sims or the dress-up-heavy Dead or Alive: Beach Volleyball, but for the most part, my hidden passion faded away.

All that changed with the release of a game called Style Savvy. It had all the clothes and hairstyles my heart desired, but it also had pretty good gameplay. More importantly, it was receiving great feedback from other adults. I took the plunge and bought the game. I never looked back.

Style Savvy

My time with Style Savvy had me wondering why I was so ashamed to love girly games in the first place. Sure, they’re sometimes ridiculous and aimed at little girls, but I’m obsessed with Pokémon and have a sizable Skylanders collection. What made these games so different?

As much as I hate to admit it, a lot of it has to do with the negative perception of all things girly. There’s a lot of weirdness about ladies who play video games, and, on some level, I don’t think I wanted to be a girl who played “those” games. I had no problem proclaiming my love for stuff like visual novels or dating sims, but girly games were where I drew the line.

Well, no more. Last week I bought myself Girls’ Fashion Shoot, and I am loving every second of it. I am buying frilly dresses and adding sparkles to my magazine layouts and having a grand old time. No longer will I hide away my love of all things pink and glittery.

My name is Mandi, and I love girly video games.

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8 years ago

I don’t really play girly games but I’ve taken flack for liking games that look or sound cute or whimsical. I remember when Twilight Princess came out my roommates hought it was a Barbie game and made fun of me for buying it.

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