If anyone is worried about what Grand Theft Auto games might do to boys, then, my former colleague Tracey John, writes for Wired, you might want to worry how a different set of games influences girls.
Tracey has pulled descriptions for 11 upcoming DS games aimed at girls. These are games about make-up, boyfriends or learning to become a detective. Skeptical about the values these games might instill, Tracey extrapolated the implied lessons in their gameplay.
Princess in Love (THQ, Sept. 14) What it's about: customise Princess Isabella with clothing and accessories. As the queen-in-training, players must mind their manners and plan gala balls while searching for Prince Charming, who can be wooed by learning the right dance moves. What it teaches girls: No, really, you need a man. Being a princess isn't just about wearing pretty dresses and waiting for your knight in shining armour all day: You've got to work. If you want Mr. Right, it's up to you, not him, to make the first impression. So get dancin.'
Tracey's not being completely serious with all of her write-ups, but she sharply observes the patterns: games that value an obsession with looks, a dependency on finding boyfriends or just an awareness that, hey, you're a girl. You'll always different. That's not all negative. But the themes are strong and worth examining.
Check out 10 more of these games getting this treatment over at Wired's GameLife blog.