Finally A Game For Girls! Lady Popular

By John Walker on October 10th, 2011 at 12:49 pm.

If I bake cookies, will I be good enough?

Are you a lady? Then finally there’s a game for you! While too many games are pretending that ladies enjoy the same things as men, like shooting, building cities or exploring alien worlds, Lady Popular properly recognises what it is that makes a true, strong, independent lady: shopping, hairstyles, and having a boyfriend.

“Every girl dreams to become a smart, talented and successful woman,” says the press release for Lady Popular. Not being a girl, but certainly having ambitions to be smart, talented and successful, I thought I’d take a look at the free web-based game to see what it takes for the unpenised to make it today. Which begins with the tutorial.

To get out of my parents’ house and into the real world of successful ladies, I had to complete three tasks. Three tasks that would set me on the path to womanhood. I had to:

- Change my hairstyle, getting two “cool” pigtails in black.
- Buy at least one thing I like from a store in the mall.
- Rent my own apartment.

I’m well on my way to being good enough!

This completed, I’m given a new selection of goals to complete, in order to level up again. Perhaps these will be the ones that begin me on my path to strength and independence! They are:

- Start the Cookiegirl course.
- Go to the hair stylist, pink just came into fashion…
- Buy at least two more items you like from shops in the Mall.

and one other:

- You have been invited to a party with your partner. Oh no!

Oh no!? What’s wrong? I click for more details.

“You don’t have a boyfriend at the moment! Visit the Club and go flirting, you might meet someone hot.”

Shit, I’m incomplete on so many levels! No boyfriend?! So it’s straight to the enigmatically named Club.

And now I have a boyfriend! His name is Car washer, and he gives me $50 a day.

But even with my new pink hair, $758 headscarf and working class boyfriend, I still don’t feel like I’m a proper lady. I need a job. And that’s why I’m required to take the Cookiegirl course, so I can have the sort of career a lady needs. Also available for job training at this point (although not achieving my goal) is hair dressing. The Cookiegirl course will last until this time tomorrow, and now I’m a level 2 human female!

Even still, there’s more to being a proper woman. For instance, the game’s welcome message instantly informs me that I need to be 57KG (9 stone, 126lb).

Remember that excessive weight loss or gain is not healthy and will make your lady unhappy, she might even get sick. So try to maintain her weight in the ideal range. For this purpose, there are various options available in the game such as sports, nutrition and so on.

Oh, and my level 2 goals?

- Join a gym.
- Change my clothes in the wardrobe.
- Change my hair colour and style yet again.

Astonishingly, hidden amidst this is a message regarding flirting. After requiring that I flirt in a club in order to win a boyfriend – a boyfriend who is then ranked according to his job and the amount of money he gives me every day – hovering the mouse over a tiny ? icon reveals the following text:

Flirting is fun, but remember that love is built upon the solid foundation of trust and understanding. The frequent change of boyfriends does not lead to anything good. If your lady is a loner, she can flirt – one never knows when their soul mate will appear on the horizon. If she’s involved with somebody, but he does not meet her needs, she can break up with him – then both of them will be free to look for their luck somewhere else.

So it’s lovely that when I click on my boyfriend’s profile picture for more details, it takes me directly to the Club to replace him, although warns me that I’ve currently reached my “daily limit”.

Oh, and going to the gym? Well, I can’t do that without getting a gym card from the market, and to do that I’m going to have to buy an appropriate outfit!

Of course all these things can be supplemented by buying “diamonds”, which unsurprisingly cost real-world money. Although quite who would want to demean themselves to such a degree I’m not entirely sure. It’s probably not surprising the game’s press release is too embarrassed to remember to include any links to the game. But it does, however, contain this:

The evil witch has been hiding the Ghost city for centuries and no one has succeeded in breaking the spell yet. With every passing year, and with each of the thousands of unsuccessful attempts to break the spell, the witch becomes stronger and is now more powerful than before. But! There is a way to break the Ghost city’s spell and take away the witch’s power – you can weaken her magic by stealing everything she has. That’s right! Once all the possessions of the evil witch are in the right hands, she will lose all her magic powers and the Ghost city’s hiding spell would be broken.

Yes, it’s still talking about the same game.

__________________

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180 Comments »

  1. Vexing Vision says:

    Are you now more in touch with your feminie side?

    I remember having to write specifications and community campaign for a “My First Pony”-clone. Weeks later, I still saw the colour pink everywhere I looked.

  2. wodin says:

    Lost for words…but seems more realistic than any so called realistic shooter…

  3. jellydonut says:

    what. the. fuck.

    • Buckermann says:

      You sound like a car washer! Most excellent.
      You don’t happen to fancy a old, ugly guy and have 50 monies a day to spare?
      I’m at the club tonight.

  4. Teddy Leach says:

    She doesn’t have any bits.

  5. Risingson says:

    Amazing. Sexism in the most obvious blatant levels. It must be so fun!

  6. Bull0 says:

    That last paragraph sounds quite fun. Like a side-mission in Oblivion.

    • Sarkhan Lol says:

      Paradoxical statement.

    • StenL says:

      But the side missions in Oblivion were at times brilliant, it was the main quest that was naff.

    • Orija says:

      Contradictory statement.

    • Bull0 says:

      Anyone who thinks the side-quests in oblivion were bad obviously never played the dark brotherhood or thieves’ guild quests.

    • Tatourmi says:

      Oblivion had some of the best and most varied sidequests I can think of. The one with the painter? The shivering isles? The thing about the dead messenger? The mage guild quests? The imp malediction? The paranoid dude? These were all amazing, and they are only the first few to come to my mind.

      Truly if you think oblivion’s side quest were stale, boring and lazy, I beg you to give me the names of the rpg’s that you think are doing it right.

  7. WhatKateDoes says:

    What. the. flying. F***?

    I prefer manshoots lol

  8. Dominic White says:

    I was watching a Let’s Play last night, wherin an Aussie lass was completely and utterly demolishing Devil May Cry 4 on the hardest difficulty, with a level 1 character.

    It was a sharp, gleeful reminder that gamers are gamers, regardless of gender. Unfortunately, the marketing drones behind abominations like Lady Popular think otherwise.

  9. Danny says:

    The Car Washer can give a lady $50 a day? That’s a lot of money to be able to give to a lady.

    I’m in the wrong career! Being a writer means I earn a pittance. Meanwhile, these Car Washers have $300 a week to spend on woman.

    • EOT says:

      Maths isn’t your strong point is it…

    • RaveTurned says:

      Six day work week – seems pretty fair.

    • Danny says:

      I do words not numbers, damn it!

    • Starky says:

      A guy I know does mobile car valeting (with a van) and earns like £600-1000 a week – granted most of his work is business and industry customers rather than private – but yeah he’s a car washer who could probably afford it.

    • Tony M says:

      The guys NAME is Car Washer. If he wants to have a girlfriend, he better be prepared to spend alot of money. Seriously, what were Mr and Mrs Washer thinking?

    • mejoff says:

      That it’s a better name than his brother Halfinch got lumbered with?

    • luckylad says:

      The fact that the boyfriend is judged only by his money that he can give you and not by say… his personality, really goes to show you how far we have come.

    • tunnel says:

      Couldn’t you abandon your wife and kids in King’s bounty for one with better stats? Didn’t everyone think that was awesome?

      I find the obvious cynicism of this game charming. I bet there are smart girls enjoying this in the same way smart guys can enjoy postal or any game where you play a douchebag.

      Should games aimed at girls all provide positive role-models, because they might not distinguish fantasy and reality? As a guy who loved playing disturbing, violent and juvenile games as a kid I’m bothered by the notion that games will subtly brainwash you and modify your personality.

      How many of you would allow your boy to see Dragon Ball Z, but forbid your daughter from reading twilight?

  10. drewski says:

    The scariest thing about this game is that some number of people (and one is too many) might play it and think it’s remotely accurate.

    Eugh.

  11. Coins says:

    Thanks, now I want to hit things. :(

  12. mandrill says:

    This has to be satire, yes?

  13. CaptainHairy says:

    BLOOAGHGHAAHAHAAAAA

    [*wipes vomit from quivering lips*]

    Just a moment I think I’ve got iBOLAOOOOOOFFFUFGFHSGFGGAAGAHAAORF

  14. Zeewolf says:

    “And now I have a boyfriend! His name is Car washer, and he gives me $50 a day.”

    So it gets relationships right, at least.

  15. Moth Bones says:

    Yes. This is a hyperextended version of what exists elsewhere. I changed my gender on Facebook and was instantly assailed by ads for shoes, diets and, um, single dads (yes, there appears to be a dating website that hoards single dads).

  16. The Sombrero Kid says:

    lol you were missed John. I don’t approve of enabling imperial system addicts though.

    • John Walker says:

      Being taught units in the late 70s/early 80s, my brain is a mess of imperial and metric. Such that KG mean nothing to me, but I can’t understand a yard. I measure in metres and miles, and weigh in grams and stone.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Kieron means nothing to me either since he left RPS.

    • arienette says:

      I think that’s indicative of British people in general, I was educated mid-90′s onwards and it’s the same. I don’t have a proper grasp on either metric or imperial.

    • frenz0rz says:

      Too true, I’m a young nipper compared to you old farts (being born in ’89) and I still get confused as hell wih any sort of measurement, imperial or metric. School uses metric, parents use imperial, some things use both and some use one or the other exclusively. Either way, I only know my height in feet and inches, only know my weight in kilos, only think in miles, and only know my beverages in pints.

    • Mollusc Infestation says:

      It really doesn’t help that our road signs, speedometers and beers are imperial.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      I can work with either Imperial or Metric, but only in what my brain decides is the right context, which ends up being a random assortment.

      People are measured in feet and inches and weigh stone and pounds. I know I’m 5’11″ and 11st – I don’t really know what that is in Metric. My cats however are weighed in Kg (3.5, 4.5 and 5), and I don’t know their weights in imperial.

      Long distances are measured in miles. Short distances are measured in metres. I can’t really work in Km or Yards/feet. My garden is 32m long, the local shop is a 1/4 mile away.

      Beer, Cider and milk comes in pints. All other foods come in grams and ml (what does a pound of mince look like? I have no idea).

      I gets really weird at times – if you tell me a person is 170cm tall, I’d struggle to picture how tall they were – I’d need it in feet and inches. However, if you told me a fence post was 5′ 6″ long, I’d also stuggle to picture that (I’d literally have to imagine a 5′ 6″ person stood next to it.) – if you told me it was 170cm long I’d be fine.

      I can just about work in inches for small objects, but I’m much more confortable with cm.

    • thegooseking says:

      My girlfriend made fun of me last week for pronouncing ‘kilometres’ with an emphasis on the ‘lo’. She insisted that the emphases in ‘kilometres’ should be in the same place as they are in ‘millimetres’. I insisted that most people pronounce it my way.

      I’m not really interested in who was right or wrong; she got so upset with our argument that she left me for a guy named Car washer.

    • Tams80 says:

      I’m pretty much the same as Ergates_Antius. Well I only have one cat and am taller.

      Km mean nothing to me, yet inches also do. It really does depend on the context for much else. To me, you weigh a person in stone and pounds, but not food.

      thegooseking: You ARE wrong.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      You can tell when I’m bullshitting cause I switch to imperial – “about 100 yards” means “no fucking clue”

    • westyfield says:

      Killermetres is a much more fun way to pronounce it. It’s like, back away from these measurements boy, they will fuck you up.

  17. Pigeonreaper says:

    After the first few paragraphs, I was thinking “Alright, it must be for preteen girls, they love this dressup stuff”. After the rest of the article, I bloody hope not.

    • codename_bloodfist says:

      I think a better target audience would be women having a mid-life crisis (or, for that matter, transvestite men in the same stage)

  18. inertia says:

    Welp, this seems like my cue to begin drinking myself into oblivion for today, even if it is only 1:05PM.

  19. RaveTurned says:

    I find this significantly more offensive than CoD’s No Russian mission, or the sex scenes in Mass Effect. I suspect if Fox News got a hold of this they’d hold it up as an example of family friendly gaming, if that didn’t go against the blanket line of “games == evil”.

    • Kandon Arc says:

      To be fair FOX, being a conservative outlet, is pretty against the sexualisation of girls and “moral decay” so I’d think they wouldn’t like it either. Though this is far too small to get their attention.

    • The Colonel says:

      On the other hand Fox have a good strong masculinist/patriachal and neo-liberal history with a strong focus on “American” values such as shopping and safe white middle-class habits.

  20. Gap Gen says:

    This is to feminism what Call of Duty is to the horrors of war.

    Also, the nude shot *is* super weird. Also, don’t think of the word “grinding” and how it applies in both senses to the club scene like I just did.

  21. sonofsanta says:

    I’m slightly creeped out by the fact that your character has apparently had a pre-titles run in with Medusa.

    Well, that and all the rampant sexism and stereotyping.

  22. bleeters says:

    This must be what going mad feels like.

  23. wearedevo says:

    “His name is Car washer, and he gives me $50 a day.”

    This is where I lost it and began to cackle like a loon.

  24. manveruppd says:

    Bet you feel silly now, complaining that The Witcher and Duke Nukem Forever were misogynistic… :p

  25. thegooseking says:

    Let’s be honest, the kind of lady this is describing is the female equivalent of a man who’s only interested in shooting, racing and sports, though, isn’t she? Just because this kind of airheadedness isn’t representative of womankind as a whole (and, on a serious note, what is?) doesn’t mean that the vacuous demographic suddenly doesn’t exist. Won’t someone please think of the vacuous demographic?

  26. Dinger says:

    So, it’s kinda like Kudos meets Farmville then?
    I’m sure if you spend enough diamonds, you can get a man worth having. Although Mr. Washer seems to get a lot of action.

  27. destroy.all.monsters says:

    That has to be the most expensive mall in the world.

    And for all the comments on sexism there is a rather sizable percent of the female population that buys into all this – even the ones who state that they are feminists.

    Traditional gender roles for the lose (which is to say – to everyone’s loss).

    Edited to add: Is the evil witch capitalism? Your shallow, self centered character? Because if the goal is to get women to become empowered politically active Mao suit wearing socialists through subterfuge this could be the greatest thing ever.

  28. Nallen says:

    I’ve never been punched in the face with confusion before, so at least this article ticked that box.

  29. Moni says:

    Oh, I’ve been doing it wrong. I’m supposed to pay a woman to be my girlfriend, and change my name to my occupation.

    • Mollusc Infestation says:

      There doesn’t seem to be any explicit indication that he actually works as a car washer though. He could be an investment banker with a funny name.

    • c-Row says:

      His name would surely be Investment Banker then.

    • thegooseking says:

      He’s obviously an artist of sorts. Only in the art world would you find someone so pretentious as to insist that his surname remain uncapitalised.

    • Durkonkell says:

      You forgot the most important stage! After changing your name and drawing out all your money, you must report to a club (in your working clothes) and wait to be flirted at. At this time, you may introduce yourself (by your profession, naturally) and state how much you earn. It is important for a lady to know these things – but do not bore her with pointless prattle about what you are into or what you like doing outside of work. It is impossible for a man to have anything in common with a lady anyway. You will now proceed to give your new girlfriend everything you earn per day until she decides to replace you with someone who earns more.

      (I am unable to make a serious comment about this thing due to being over the horror limit for today).

  30. Ergates_Antius says:

    If only this had been around when Mrs Ergates was a young lass. She needn’t have spent all that time and effort going to university and persuing a career in academia. All she needed to be happy was to change her hair colour regularly, and go to clubs to pick up clients boyfriends. Being a hairdresser is probably quite a bit easier than being a university lecturer too. Silly Mrs Ergates! Still, if we have a daughter, we now know how to bring her up properly…

    • j3w3l says:

      you shouldn’t have crossed out client, i think the game would make more sense in her being an exclusive escort and the money received her daily take.
      ona side note i need to shoot things now just reading about this

  31. The_B says:

    I feel sorry for the Washer family, surely their career options are very limited with names like those?

  32. frenz0rz says:

    Hang on a sec. Dancing for 15 minutes costs $20 AND decreases your hygiene by up to 10 points? Thank god she didnt go dancing for a couple of hours – she’d be $160 down the drain and would likely smell like some sort of swamp creature.

    That said, I’m not sure what to think about the fact that, out of any of the myriad of things I could complain about in this game, I am most annoyed about the apparent ease of renting an apartment. Ah, if only I could afford such a thing in these economically distraught times! A whole apartment! A man can dream though, a man can dream…

    • Llewyn says:

      Surely the solution is simple. You wait at the Club for an empowered, independent, cookie-baking level 2 woman with her own apartment and impaired personal hygiene to come and flirt with you.

    • aldo_14 says:

      Clearly the ‘dancing fee’ is actually code for ‘pimp money’, which has to be earned back through ‘boyfriends’. Upon earning enough money, the unfortunate ‘lady’ can pay to complete her botched gender reassignment surgery.

  33. DeanLearner says:

    That’s all very well, but when are they gonna start making games for us men? :( That’s just mean.

    • Rinox says:

      I agree. About time we get some games aimed at us straight males, what with all these gay and feminist agenda games.

    • JackShandy says:

      And I tell you what, I’m absolutely fed up with the hugging simulators. When are we going to be able to express ourselves via in-game violence? WHEN?

    • thegooseking says:

      I don’t know about violence, but you would think there would be a game out there that would at least let me do manly things like playing foot-to-ball, or racing horseless carriages in circles at imprudent velocities.

  34. c-Row says:

    Gonna add “unpenised” to my vocabulary right now.

  35. Lars Westergren says:

    I introduced the parents of a brainy maths-interested girl to Portal, they are playing it with her. They’ve told me she loves the game, and the fact that she can play a female hero. Just as a small antidote to all this vileness.

    >”With every passing year, and with each of the thousands of unsuccessful attempts to break the spell, the witch becomes stronger and is now more powerful than before. But! There is a way to break the Ghost city’s spell”

    Penny Arcade were so spot on.

    “If enough merchandise is bought, the Merch wakes up from his coma long enough to share some keen insight, then falls unconcious again. Not enough people bought Merch merchandise at Christmas in 2005 and so he transformed into The Fleshreaper. He began to fly from house to house and collect torsos. “

  36. HexagonalBolts says:

    It’s all very well for the comments thread (and the article), to laugh and joke about this game, it is hilariously bad, I’m not denying that. But by making all our analysis of that game in to jokes we’re making light of what is ultimately is a rather horrific manifestation of misogyny, an attempt to normalise an existence where feminine satisfaction is obtained through consumer-capitalism (which is awfully convenient considering their payment structure) and I don’t even dare start to read in to the commodification of sex, flirtation and social interaction as part of this vacuous economy. Not that it would make a difference to the disturbing nature of the message this game provides, but I’m willing to bet very large quantities of money that no female was involved in the design of this game because her soul would probably have drained away with horror well before completion.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      I think that was the main point of the article actually, what the game presents as a desirable life for a woman was so horrible that commenting on it was redundant. If people are laughing it is in disbelief.

    • jezcentral says:

      @HexagonalBolts

      Re: “an attempt to normalise an existence.” I think you are giving them a bit too much credit. They are attempting to MONETISE an existence.

    • JackShandy says:

      I’ve never felt that getting angry and shouting about things on the internet is going to change anything, help anyone, or be very entertaining.

    • the_p says:

      My word, sir. If you have not participated in the form of joking in which one, with full awareness of the subject and its horrors, laughs about a truly miserable subject, I’d suggest giving it a go. It makes many things a lot more bearable. Chin up, old boy.

    • Sassenach says:

      A serious analysis of this would imply that someone could miss the problems with it. And it is very funny.

  37. Rao Dao Zao says:

    This game is totally inaccurate, the lady is able to leave the kitchen.

  38. Dawngreeter says:

    I have issues with this game. And this is serious!

    The game doesn’t seem to cover the biggest issue at all – what if I want to be Lady Popular but am currently of the male confession? I can’t play this at all :(

  39. Drake Sigar says:

    I’ll be so proud of my little girl when her carwasher boyfriend offers her a heartfelt poem on Valentine’s day and she screams “A poem?! I wanted diamonds!”

  40. Hoaxfish says:

    Okay, I get the whole mocking of “girl games”

    But I don’t understand how you find “the right time” to do it?

    I mean, at some point your brain has gone “lets mock these terrible games” and you’ve gone and done it.
    Something has to have prompted that, unless you follow this sort of thing regularly for some reason.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      @Hoaxfish

      I don’t think it is “girl games” so much as BAD girl games that are mocked.

      As for the rest of you post, I don’t understand at all what you are driving at. An effect generally has a cause preceding it…?

    • JackShandy says:

      Someone sent them a link to this game. They proceeded to investigate.

    • Srethron says:

      This is how most journalism is done. Companies send the journalist’s site a press release based loosely on keywords their marketing department has grouped sites into, “reviews games” in this case. The journalist then investigates, without ever having to leave his desk. Truly it is the future.

      This would be a great time for me to expound on all the similarities between journalism and Steam. I can buy and play games without having to stand up. The future!

    • John Walker says:

      Like I mentioned, there was a press release today. That’s how it got my attention. It’s hardly a condemnation of my journalism skills that this occurred.

    • serioustiger says:

      Quite right John. Your journalism was completely random long before this story.

    • sinister agent says:

      Journalists have to do everything a press release tells them. It’s true; I read it in a book.

    • Srethron says:

      In case my text gave off the wrong impression, I’d like to make it clear that I enjoyed the story and was not intending to call anyone’s journalistic skills into question, especially not John’s.

  41. WombatDeath says:

    Sounds good. Sold.

  42. Jimmy says:

    The potential for commercial tie-ins is mindboggling… It’s not much different from what tweenies read in magazines.

  43. Sunjammer says:

    The name’s Car. Car Washer.
    I think I just found my name for my Skyrim character.

    Come on guys, you can’t be surprised. This is the lay of the land. Games like this have been around for ages and ages, albeit without microtransactions as far as I know.

    It’s appalling and ridiculous. But I’d be angrier with the parents that would allow their kid to play this.

  44. Zepp says:

    so bad yet so true :P

  45. LGM says:

    ROFL, so your characters boyfriend is a car washer who gives you fifty bux a day. So this game is about how to be a prostitute? Seriously, is it April Fool’s Day or something? How long was I asleep?

  46. JackShandy says:

    Finally, the escapist masterpiece I’ve been waiting for.

  47. rustybroomhandle says:

    Car Washer?

    Does he work for Speed Racer?

  48. mbp says:

    As a father of daughters I have long been aware that there is an entire subculture of video gaming going under the general heading of “Dress Up Games”. A Google search will quickly confirm that the sheer volume of such games available from dodgy sounding Asian flash game portals is enormous. I have long felt somewhat uncomfortable that Rock Paper Shotgun, while claiming to be the best source for PC gaming has to date been apparently oblivious of this vast segment of the PC gaming market. Good to see you making an attempt to redress this shortcoming John. Can we expect this to become a regular feature?

  49. ResonanceCascade says:

    Thank god they’re rebooting this as an FPS.

  50. Zarunil says:

    Outrageous!

    Quick! Someone call Fox News!

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