This RPG Sets Feminism Back, Oh, A Good Hundred Years

This RPG Sets Feminism Back, Oh, A Good Hundred Years

Girl’s RPG: Cinderellife is the newest game by Level-5. Far from the puzzle solving of Professor Layton or the giant armoured suits of White Knight Chronicles, this title is directed toward the female gamer demographic.But does it about a strong female protagonist, trying to make it in a man’s world? Or is it a more stereotypical girl’s tale about princesses, unicorns, and evil witches? Despite having one too many Y-chromosomes, I decided I had to find out. But nothing could have possibly prepared me for what Girl’s RPG: Cinderellife really is: a game romanticizing the life of a Japanese hostess. So please, join me in this insanity as I share with you my notes of the first hour of gameplay.

00:00 The title screen — made entirely out of varying shades of pink — starts with the theme song asking questions like “How can she be so beautiful?” and “Isn’t everyone else jealous?” and stating that “her beauty will bring happiness to the world.” Remember, girls: outward beauty is the most important thing.

00:30 The warning message (and all other text in the game, actually) shows the phonetic reading for all the Kanji (Chinese characters), proving this is indeed a game aimed at young children. Not teens or adults — but impressionable young girls.


02:00 Oh goodie, time for character creation. Let’s see, my possible choices of body type are: 1) Anorexic and flat 2) anorexic and busty, 3) thin and flat, and 4) thin and busty. Remember, girls: No fatties allowed.

03:00 Apparently this guy on the jumbotron went from being a normal high school student to a billionaire CEO in just one year. Now his greatest goal is searching for the beautiful legendary “butterfly of happiness.” Young, hot, and rich? I smell a love interest!


05:00 Oh but how can a plain girl like me ever compare to these beautiful hostesses? I mean, I have pig tales and straight black hair! Truly so very ugly. No make-over could ever make ::gasp-sob:: me beautiful!

06:00 Alright. So far in this game, I’ve been “propositioned” to work for a hostess club and now live and work in a flower shop.

15:00 Oh no you guys, my character’s cell phone totally has Twitter. If it has Tumblr too, I may never progress in this game.

18:00 My character has just discovered the hostesses she met earlier were in fact hostesses and not professional models like she had assumed. Also, men frequenting the hostess club seem to be the majority of my flower shop’s customer base. Poor deluded saps… Welp, off to the club to deliver some roses!

21:00 On the main street, I just passed an Irish pub called “Bar Never Knows.”

25:00 In the club — named “Castle” just in case we needed to make the modern-day Cinderella cliché clearer — my character has come across an old high school friend. She is now telling my character all about the romantic life of working in a hostess club — which, as far as I always understood it, is pretending to be interested in a guy while getting him drunk on very expensive sake. I don’t think my definition matches hers….

26:00 …And now “just for fun” they’ve hoed me up like a hostess. How nice of them. M-Maybe I can actually ::gasp:: be beautiful!?

27:00 So I’ve been left all alone in these expensive clothes and now have to enter the ballroom. But isn’t that where all the male customers are? I can sense a misunderstanding coming.

28:00 The “Princess” of the “Castle” just entered the main ballroom. Apparently, men orgasm at the mere sight of her. Women, on the other hand, turn lesbian and THEN orgasm at the sight of her.


30:00 A rich foreign (read: white) guy, recently come to Japan, has decided to be my escort for the evening. My first actual choice in the game is A) complementing his Japanese, B) offering to show him around, or C) asking him what he’s seen so far. I chose the Japanese stereotypical reaction and complemented his Japanese… it was the right answer.

31:00 The more of these conversations I do, the more I see that I should just agree with whatever he says. Remember, girls: don’t be yourself, present yourself as whatever men want you to be.


36:00 WTF! The Princess just cockblocked me! (or whatever the female equivalent may be). Here I am, in the middle of a conversation mini game, and she sends a butler over to interrupt and demand to speak with my date. It is SO on!

36:15 Um, wow. The Princess has both a crown and little roses literally blooming off of her at all times. I… I don’t know how to compete with that.

40:00 Welp, I did so well pretending to be a hostess that the club is offering me a gift: The chance to do it again, of course!

41:00 So, at this point, they are offering me the choice of becoming a hostess or not. I wonder if picking “no” at this point is really an option. Only one way to find out.

41:30 Selecting “I don’t want to be” starts a conversation loop where everyone peer-pressures me into joining. Remember girls: if ever you feel hesitant about making yourself into a sex object for men, just be sure to let your friends force you into it. Surely they know better than you. *Note: if you say no a second or third time, it just keeps looping.


47:00 Wow! Now that’s a sudden change. I’m currently watching a pair of scientists examining a giant glowing crystal and containers full of butterflies in their search for the “butterfly of happiness.”

55:00 I like how in the game hostesses aren’t called hostesses; they’re called “Neogennu” — a made-up word that means nothing but sounds foreign. It’s like calling a prostitute a “Iminashi” and expecting that to quash any moral implications.

58:00 My high school friend just came by and gave me a $US500 signing bonus so I can go buy a new dress. Let’s get our shopping on!

1:00:00 But do I really have the hips for this? I just don’t know…


Girl’s RPG: Cinderellife was released in Japan on March 8, 2012 for the Nintendo 3DS. There is currently no word on an international release.


  • The author is a virginal boy who thinks that if he pretends to be a feminist, chicks would actually like him.

  • They forget the number one skill of any hostess: being able to pack away stupendous amounts of alcohol without appearing drunk. Bonus XP if you can wake up fresh as a daisy the next morning and completely conceal the skull-exploding hangover during a shopping trip with annoyingly bubbly co-workers.

  • I saw the title and went “Na, this is just a harmless kids game”

    But it’s not. It’s basically prostitution without the sex. It sounds weird, but it is kinda shocking. And it’s aimed at little kids. And the title is terrible. If it was “Hostess Life, fine. But “Girl’s Life?” No girl lives this life! Unless they are an almost whore!

    Don’t work in a hostess bar. Evar.

    • So? What’s wrong with being a whore, or indeed “an almost whore”? Some people actually like working in the sex industry. I’d fucking love to be a porn star, and I totally would be if my parents wouldn’t crucify me, disembowel me, and never speak to me again. I can’t think of anything better than having sex for a living.(except for maybe being an official taste-tester for new varieties of donut)
      It’s what we were designed to do, after all.

      • Oh yeah, and I should have mentioned that I worked as a hostess in Japan, and guess what? It didn’t ruin my life. Probably killed a few braincells due to the alcohol consumption involved, though – hence why I only lasted a fortnight. Otherwise it’s pretty fun, and way better than working in a goddamn call centre.

  • And the worst message this game promotes?

    There’s only one way to be a “correct” (insert gender here).

    Who cares about silly things like, y’know, individual happiness, self-determination, and choice? Because we all know the most important thing in the world is doing what society expects of you [/sarcasm]

  • Sounds like fun. If only I knew Japanese though, because I’m doubting an English release. Details please if there is one.

  • Its funny that an hour ago from when this was published the reviewer had posted an article about the rise of “Hostess Clubs” in video games in a somewhat positive light. Were as this article is very negative.

    Lets be honest as a girl myself. I don’t want to be obese. Healthy yes but not fat, nor do I want to be overly skinny. But frankly in games yes the choice is usually skinny and big chested. This game appears to have the option of having healthy meat on your bones and breasts or not. That’s not a problem in my eyes. Sure you can still be skinny but look at Asian women as a whole. Their body size is quite different to Caucasian women, they are much smaller.

    I don’t see this game as anti-feminist at all. What is wrong with wanted to join a hostess club. Wanting to fall in love and be happy. Sure this isn’t the life for me but I don’t have the right to look down on someone who wants to do that. I don’t want to be a lawyer or a doctor either.

    As to saying no and it looping well duh. That’s what the game is about. It’s like starting pokemon and when they ask you to pick one you say “actually I don’t want a pokemon”. Whats the point then!

    Also a hostess club is about seeing to the clients emotional needs. Your meant to laugh at his jokes and complement him so naturally the choices would lean to that.

    It appears as though you haven’t looked at the content of the actual game. like you’ve picked up halo and expected a puzzle game or something. I mean what else were you gonna do in a hostess club.
    on a side note in japan they also have host clubs for women to go to not just men.

    Feminism isn’t about not doing one thing, like being a stay at home mum or a homemaker. Its about having the choice and not being looked down on for it. You want to be a stripper good for you. You want to raise 5 kids at home while your husband/wife works go right ahead. You want to be Prime Minister why not.

    • Thank you very much! =D

      Your last paragraph pretty much points out what fly’s over most peoples heads when the finger pointing from these kind of articles begin

  • having lived in Japan for several years, and having been to a snack bar,I can tell you that Japanese men have a bizarre expectation of hostesses to pay them inordinate amounts of interest.Farr and away getting the prostitution that no doubt happens, its about a big illusion,a parlor game. men get to blow of some stream and women get paid some attention for once.the author is quite right, this is another stumble for Japanese gender equality, but the problems are far more endemic.this is a symptom, not a cause.

  • So am I the only one that isn’t surprised, given that feminism never happened in Japan?
    Seriously, in Japan the word ‘feminist’ is used for a man who is does nice things for women.

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