Monday, November 21, 2005

Playing with dolls

I have this theory that all these cool grown up computer games we play are really just a kind of virtual substitute for the toys we played with as kids. I mean obviously all these simulation games are thinly disguised train sets, but MMOG's are really just playing with dolls.

Ok, I'll call them action figures if you perfer, but we all know deep down that action figures are just the name some clever marketing guy came up with so that he could sell dolls to boys without the social stigma that would normally be associated with boys playing with dolls.

Hmm. Maybe we can hire the same guy to re-brand comics so it's acceptable for adults to be seen reading them.

Look at the evidence; the classic MMOG is a heroic fantasy with dragons and wizards and heroes with swords and all that. It's fantasy action figures on a stick.

But the real revelation comes with City of Heroes/Villains. You know what the most successful part of this game is? The bit that everyone comments on and which wins it awards? It's the character creator where you get to design your character and then play dress up with them, choosing your costume from hundreds of different styles and colours. As you progress through the game, there are milestone points where your level of success allows you to add another costume or a cape, or special effects. The whole reward system of the game is geared toward playing dress up with your virtual doll.

But that's probably why I like it so much.


Anonymous said...'re definitely onto something here. Although we've already had the guy who renamed dolls for boys as "action figures" take a shot at renaming comic books "graphic novels." I'd still have to say the budgets of big Hollywood films have done a lot more to make them "respectable" to the general public. The only thing most people "respect" is money, and if you can make a lot of money doing something, it doesn't matter what that thing is called.

I am not endorsing that position, mind you, merely making a cynical observation.

Now as for boys liking to play dress-up with their dolls -- ahem, action figures -- if you don't already know about Captain Action, you should visit this page ASAP.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean, "toys we played with as kids?" Many fancy Japanese toys are now labelled with a tongue-in-cheek "for fifteen and up" when the toy companies know full well that their products are purchased by adults. All those adults with fatter wallets than children hit the stores when a cool new toy is released, leaving many kids behind who could only dream that, someday, when they are all grown with their own money, they would be able to get all those toys they wanted when they were little.

It's a vicious cycle.

Jeremy said...

That and the fact that toys nowadays are nothing compared to the Transformers, GI Joes, and Ninja Turtles of old. Hell, to buy an action figure costs $20 today.