|Image courtesy of Janine Hawkins|
Janine Hawkins has an excellent article in Paste Magazine today entitles "How Grand Theft Auto V Is Just Like Barbie" about the intersection of dress-up play, fashion and video games, and argues that whether it is in a video game centered exclusively around fashion, or is an incidental part of the overall game, it is an intersection that is both crucial and fascinating to explore:
When you think of the intersection of fashion and gaming, it’s unlikely that Grand Theft Auto V is the first thing that surfaces in your mind. Instead, you might think about those “Girl Games,” almost invariably packaged in a shade of pink equal parts magnetic and repellant, interspersed between the “good” games on a store shelf. If you’re up to date on your mobile gaming, you may just think of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and the polarized reception it received. Fashion is a common subject of many games targeted towards girls and women, and it’s also easily one of the most derided in gaming...
...My point isn’t that there are good fashion games—it’s that placing an importance on fashion-play doesn’t taint a game. If you don’t believe me, just look at Grand Theft Auto. The fashion system present in Grand Theft Auto is a significant part of the experience of existing in its open world, and has been developed and refined with each installment... Players now post videos on YouTube modeling their favorite outfits and the latest clothing DLC for GTA V and Grand Theft Auto Online, and these videos have nothing to do with what pieces provide the best stat bonuses or buffs.
This is absolutely true, and not just for the GTA series. One of the key appeal for the WWE franchise of videogames to me from the 32-bit era and beyond has been the ability to completely customize and create your own wrestlers' appearance, from the exact body proportions to every pattern and stich of clothing. The last few installments of the series even let you create 3 seperate outfits: one outfit for cinematic scenes, another outfit for your wrestler to wear during the entrance to the ring and a third outfit to wrestle in, plus 4 other "alternate" attire outfits and clothing layering. That's a lot of outfit designs that's just for aesthetics, but still a big part of the game!
That's how I spent a bunch of time creating the jobber parody of "The Apex Predator" Randy Orton called "The Apex Redditor":