Girls and women of all ages have always enjoyed experimenting with different looks. Fifty years and more ago, a favourite present for young girls was a book with a cardboard model and a variety of cut-out clothes and hairstyles to try out by fastening them onto the model by cardboard tags. This early fashion game provided many hours of entertainment.
In the more sophisticated twenty-first century, the explosion of online games has meant that, at the touch of a key, or click on an image, the modern equivalent of that original fashion game gives an almost unlimited choice for clothes, hairstyles, make-up, jewellery and shoes. Not only can colours, hair lengths and so on be changed instantly, but it is possible to modify even the shape of a face and ethnicity for infinite variations of appearance.
Most of the online fashion games offer a choice of different roles for the model. These include such possibilities as fashion catwalk, secret agent, travel courier, holiday maker, night clubber, business person, beautician and zoo keeper. Once the basic scenario has been selected, the fun begins.
Take, for instance, the role of secret agent. The fashion games allow the imagination to run riot with endless disguises and situations, including being in the depths of winter, escaping from danger in a high speed car or boat and mingling with shoppers on a busy high street. If it is the glamorous environment that appeals, then the exquisite detail to such items as make-up, eyebrow shape and jewellery enhances the range of luxury clothing available.
Then there’s the wedding. Imagine being able to select not only wonderful dresses for bride and bridesmaids, with smart suits for the groom, but also co-ordinating outfits for parents and guests – all at no cost to the designer, unlike the real situation where weddings can cost many thousands of pounds.
An advantage of such fashion games being online means that rebellious teenagers can experiment with extremes of fashion, including such trends as Goth or punk, without spending a penny, or incurring the wrath of parents who might object to the latest fads. Another scenario that we all experience at some stage is that of the job interview. By giving the virtual model a similar appearance to the players, they can try out different combinations of clothing, colours and hairstyles to see which might be most suitable when it comes to the real thing.