If you've ever spent hours perfecting a new dress for your avatar, you'll already know why fashion games are so popular and enjoyed by millions around the world.
Every day girls young and old roleplay as the virtual fashionista online. From the simplest flash sites for kids through to sophisticated 3D dress up games for teens and older, there are many addictive offerings in the genre.
But what are the "X factors" that makes them so appealing? Let's take a look at the "best of the best" - the Top 10 features from the hottest dress up games out there today. Let's go!
- Runways - JoJo's Fashion Show 2
- Celebrities - Stardoll
- Fashion Design - Frenzoo
- Games! - RoiWorld
- Chat and Groups - IMVU
- Making Money - Second Life
- Role-playing - The Sims 3
- Music and Dancing - Nurien
- Building Your Label - GirlSense
- Cheeky - MissBimbo
1/ Runways - JoJo's Fashion Show 2
Working in a boutique may be cool, but being a designer with a runway show is the high point of glamour for the virtual fashionista. So, it's no surprise then that JoJo's Fashion Show has become one of the most played dress up games on the planet and gone on to produce a number of spinoffs and sequels. It all revolves around the runway show, which appeals to girls young and old - witness the popularity of America's Next Top Supermodel.
You play as designer Jojo Cruz and you must arrange runways shows and arrange your models in the styles the game asks you to. The gameplay is fun and frantic, asking you to pull together items, and results sometimes random as you don't know how the combination will be "judged". Sometimes a perfect combination scores lowly while a messy mix comes out on top, but then again the seeming randomness makes it unpredictable and fun, and very addictive.
2/ Celebrities - Stardoll
Celebrities are the most popular people on the planet, so it makes sense that celebrity fashion doll games are amongst the most popular destinations for young girls on the web today. And the largest of them is Stardoll.
Stardoll mixes up the usual shopping and styling with a huge range of celebrity paperdolls, which look sharp. Who can deny the attraction of taking control of Avril Lavignes wardrobe, or dressing up Selena Gomez in something really "out there"? And the beauty of celebrities is that there are always new ones coming up and plenty to keep the game fresh and fun.
3/ Designing Fashion - Frenzoo
Why buy virtual clothes the shop when you can design your own? Attractive with teens, Frenzoo is a new 3D fashion games community where the focus is on designing your own fashion, hair and accessories for anime styled 3D avatars.
The design tools are fun and within a few minutes you can make great looking designs to match with beauty and accessories. With practice the type of virtual fashions you can create with time and some practice are amazing. And once you've created your own perfect look, the site encourages you to enter a variety of competitions for fun and fame. Be warned though, for those who like being creative with dress up and design, the site gets addictive.
4/ Games - RoiWorld
If guys can have fun with the many action and fantasy MMOs on the net, what about girls? Fashion games are the answer. Now for every Runescape there is an RoiWorld. RoiWorld is a new fashion games portals, with close to 1000 fashion, beauty and celebrity themed micro-games to play from.
There are a few basic types of games, ranging from drawing through to dress up, memory and time challenges that mix things up and give some variety. Most of the games can be played without needing any account, which makes it a simple and fun place to waste time.
5/ Chat and Groups - IMVU
If you want huge chaotic group chat together with 3D avatars, IMVU is the place for you. With over 30 million members and a massive amount of fashions available in the shop, you are bound to find your niche underground fashion style and chat with other like-minded fashionistas. Unlike other chat worlds that can often be empty and boring, IMVU's chat is popular, in large part due to letting you show off your own unique style and a strong content creation for professional developers. Want to find a group to chat about neo-steampunk style tips? Easy...
The clothes range from simple and clunky to beautiful, but to buy any of the good fashions is going to cost you real money. Here you pay to play - the free credits you get at the start won't last you very long at all. And it's a shame that you can't create your own fashions like in some of the other sites on the list, although what it lacks in that it makes up in the range of choice already available in the shop.
6/ Making Money - Second Life
Open virtual world SecondLife is the adult fashionista's paradise with masses of 20 and 30-something logging on and buying a huge variety of fashions. Part of the reason for that huge variety of clothes is the lure of real money - SecondLife runs a very large economy where residents can sell items to others and earn real cash. Even though the amounts are very small for the vast majority of designers, the motivation and desire is there - the addiction of making a sale and seeing an avatar wear your fashions is a big force.
Being an older, more mature world (the average age is over 30) there is a lot of adult themed content and the interface to use Second Life is very complicated, but if you're willing to work past those barriers, those into realistic avatars and sophisticated dress up can find a lot to enjoy in SecondLife. And who knows, maybe you'll open your own boutique there one day.
7/ Role-playing - The Sims 3
"Everyone on the planet either is a Sims fan or knows one". The scary thing is that with over 100 million games sold that's not far from the truth at all. In The Sims, the emphasis is on roleplay and life simulation. That core gameplay allows you to make a family, become a pop star or choose any path you choose, and dressing your Sims up any way you want along the way... as a result a huge sub-culture has grown around the game for virtual fashion.
Some of the most creative and stunning avatar apparel on the net in any game, community or genre is created by Sims fashionistas - this group of ultra hardcore dedicated fans of the Sims who mod the textures to make unique items. Add on top the increasing number of real brand fashion spin-ins to Sims such as the popular H&M expansion plus the next massive installment of the franchise in 2009 with The Sims 3- expect the legion of addicts around the world to grow for years to come.
8/ Music and Dancing - Nurien
Time to start practicing your moves... Wherever there are fashion runways there is music, but it's surprising more fashion games don't go one step further and include dancing to go with the music element. Nurien, a Korean studio is coming at it the other way around, and starting with an avatar dancing as its core game, and then branching out into fashion catwalks and chat game.
The graphics in Nurien are great and the dancing animations are very smooth and fresh, which makes the feature addictive for those girls who like to dance and make friends. The fashion element is also strong, with beautiful fashions, however it's a shame you can't design your own.
9/ Build Your Label - GirlSense
GirlSense takes the dress up game concept and extends it into fashion design and creating your own boutique. The sites Fashion Design Studio is quite a powerful tool and lets fashionistas create a wide variety of outfits. It's a really fun way to roleplay as an up-and coming designer and build up your own brand and customers. You can even purchase "ad space" on the site to promote your new designs.
Although the graphics are all in 2D and very simple, it matches well with the young audience of tween girls that make up the community, and there are lots of them! In fact, over 14 million girls have joined so far...
10/ Cheeky - MissBimbo
Well, all of the dress up games in the list are fun and addictive, but one stands out for being different. You could even say MissBimbo's key feature is its "cheekyness". Starting with the name, which flips the normal negative Bimbo into something quirky and fun to aspire to, although of course not without a lot of controversy.
"Bimbos" can shop for new clothes, become social butterflies and gain fame and event undergo plastic surgery like in the real world to , although you have to ask if this is a good role model to be showing to young and impressionable tween girls. Love it or hate it, it certainly is unique and stands out from the crowd.
So there you have it. The Top 10 features from the very best dress up games out there. Feel any others deserve a special mention or disagree/agree with any on the list? Give us your feedback!
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