Earlier today, I mentioned how excited I was about Girls’ Fashion Shoot and lamented the fact that I’m probably one of the only ones. The fact is, fashion games don’t get much respect in the gaming world. They’re typically deemed “games for girls” and shuffled off to the side, recommended or purchased for kids. People couldn’t be more wrong. There are a number of fantastic fashion games out there that not only deserve your respect, but a chance to prove how fun they are to people who normally would ignore them.
The best argument for fashion games being more than mindless fluff is Style Savvy. Both the original game and it’s 3DS sequel, Style Savvy: Trendsetters. On the surface, both games may seem like an excuse to be all fashionable and pretty. You couldn’t be more wrong. It’s more about making other people all fashionable and pretty. As a boutique manager, players are tasked with choosing a theme and style for their shop, making sure the stockroom has season and theme appropriate clothing, knowing what style a customer likes based on their current outfit, adequately assessing and providing the right clothing item or outfit for a customer’s needs, making sure enough money is available to keep buying the newest clothes, dressing in your shop’s clothing to influence customers and people in town and taking part in fashion contests to boost your popularity. That’s a mouthful, and a lot of work! It’s more about shop management and customer service, with dressing up being a bonus.
Another intriguing installment in the world of fashion games is Pop Cutie! Street Fashion Simulation. Surprisingly enough, this rare game from Koei did make it out of Japan. Players are fashion designers who own their own store. The goal is to become the most successful store in the area, which is accomplished by catering to customers, creating new clothing and trouncing the competition in contests. Customer service actually involves picking out clothes for other people, perhaps even full outfits. Creation means going to the streets to pick up certain words from people’s conversations that will inspire new attire when combined. As for contests, you’re given a theme, a select number of clothing items and must dress a model better than your two competitors. It takes a surprising amount of work to succeed, as well as various business strategies like hiring models to walk through town in your clothing to generate buzz and dressing mannequins properly.
Finally, there’s Kira Kira Pop Princess. Some may recognize it as Pinky St. Kira Kira Music Hour. Odds are, no one recognizes it at all, because it’s pretty rare and was only released in Japan and Europe. This is primarily a music game, but fashion is key to a player’s success. See, each of the dancing challenges is in a different district in town, and the way to win the battles is to dance accurately, while also wearing outfits that appeal to people in the area so they’ll root for your character. Proper coordination is key, which lends a certain depth to the game. Not to mention collectability! I imported this game from Japan and couldn’t help playing until I’d won or purchased every article of clothing.
As you can see, fashion games can be about more than looking pretty and amassing a stockpile of clothes Beyonce or a hoarder would envy. They can combine other game elements to create a deeper experience that would not only appeal to people who care about fashion and dressing up, but anyone interested in an adorable simulation.