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January 2015 Retro Gaming Article


February 9, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Despite all-pink, Barbie Princess Power could inspire a better super hero video game

Barbie Princess Power Visit a Toys R Us and take a peek down the aisle displaying dolls for girls. You may be blinded by the pink glow emanating from the shelves! It's sad that so many manufacturers still haven't taken the time to see that girls don't dress in pink from head-to-toe. Even if the staunchest goth has a pink miniskirt in her closet, pink should no longer be a "defining" color in toys & dolls!

Barbie dolls have certainly contributed to the pinkification of toys and dolls aimed at girls. Even Barbie video games largely adhere to that color along with cute animals. I'm wondering if the super hero theme of Barbie Princess Power dolls and movie might inspire a few new colors and a more powerful Barbie. I refuse to believe that girls would identify with a super hero Barbie that wasn't pretty damn Super!

If she's going to be re-imagined as a super hero, give her a tough side to go along with it and carry that over to any video game tie-ins. That girl needs to kick some ass! If She's a super hero, I'm down with it!

Barbie Princess Power The advent of Sony's first PlayStation brought quite a few Barbie games to the new platform. Sure, there were some "pink horse" styled games, but there was also an action sports title and an adventure game where Barbie was playing a Lara Croft sort of character.

Barbie Super Sports for PlayStation Barbie Super Sports (1999) for PlayStation offers more changes of clothing than sports equipment, but at least she has the opportunity to shred.
Barbie Explorer for PlayStation Barbie Explorer (2001) for PlayStation offers up a Tomb Raider sort of adventure.

The Wii console (and many before it) has it's share of fashion-oriented Barbie games. I'm hoping that Princess Power might inspire a real super hero game that can be enjoyed by a wider audience. I often play the female characters in games from Tekken to SSX and certainly in games like Resident Evil and Tomb Raider. Barbie needs to inspire girls, not pander to outdated standards.

Barbie Princess Power This contrast makes me wonder why Barbie games are mostly pink. Certainly the games I mentioned are of the Teen and Mature ratings, but Barbie doesn't need to cater to toddlers alone - especially in a video game tie-in. Barbie had a Commodore 64 game in the mid 80s from Epyx, so it seems logical to expand her from being a pink icon. Let's face it - Kirby took that away!

Barbie made appearances on the Genesis (1992) and SNES (1993) via Barbie: Super Model. She even had a shopping adventure on the original Game Boy in Barbie: Game Girl. She's come a long way to become a super hero.

It would be fitting to let her super hero side be a powerful force to reckon with. I'm thinking laser eyes, fist of death, and vocal decimation. Just a thought...

Barbie: Game Girl

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