Sunday, February 25, 2007

Dress-Up Games for the Instant-Messaging Age

Back in the early days of the Web, avatars consisted of simple smiley faces. Today, avatars have become sophisticated, animated images that can be customized to suit the user's personality.

With so many girls online these days, it was inevitable that their love of dolls and dress-up games would find its ultimate expression in designing stylish avatars and cartoon dolls (dollz). What I didn't know was that there was a whole community of girls devoted to dollz and avatars.

A Web site called The Doll Palace lets users choose from a huge number of dress up games, so girls can create their own personalized avatars to use in chat programs, forums, or even competitions. These games for girls go far beyond the old dress-up games of changing a doll's dress or hair style.

The Doll Palace offers a seemingly endless variety of dollmaker tools and options for playing fashion games. You can start with a certain style or look, including fantasy and fairy dolls, celebrity dolls, dolls with holiday themes, hippies, and dolls in Goth and Emo themes. With dolls in the "Guys" category, girls can play tomboy and dress up like a soldier, weightlifter, or even Superman.

Then users can choose from a mind-boggling variety of body styles, hair colors and styles, faces, tops, pants and skirts, and other clothing--and wings. And that's not even mentioning the shoes, bags, and other accessories to choose from. Add in backgrounds, furniture, and other items, and you've got a complete scene.

For Academy Awards season, for example, users can choose the right background for their dollz--at the podium for an acceptance speech, out on the red carpet (with or without cheering crowds in the background), standing next to the huge Oscar statue, etc.

The Doll Palace also has forums and chat rooms where users can discuss dolls and the challenges in creating them and ideas for crafting specific designs. All in all, this site offers an amazing variety of options for girls who want to play dress-up games.

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