Top Girl is a socially offensive reminder that ladies only care about looking pretty, shopping, and finding a man
Ever since Barbie stormed onto the scene many years ago, she epitomized what was wrong with marketing to girls. Sure, she’s gotten way better over the years, and her proportions have started to get a tad more realistic, but she’s still all-plastic, all-American, female fakery. Top Girl has managed to destroy every stride that marketing to girls taken in the last 30 years in one fell swoop. I know I’m not Top Girl‘s target market, but I shudder to think how the creators of this game feel about theirs.
Essentially a social collectathon, but oddly minus anything social, Top Girl is all about fashion, boys, modeling, shopping and clubbing. You’ll start out with a nearly-naked avatar with impossibly huge breasts sitting atop a waist that looks like it would snap from the weight it was supporting. Once you get your basic look down with some clothes and a quick hair-do, it’s off to the modeling agency to do some jobs to earn money to shop for more clothes so you can go to the club, get a boyfriend (by laying a single kiss on him, which suddenly means you’re in a “relationship”), keeping him happy while replenishing your energy at the coffee shop to do more modeling gigs to earn money to buy more fashions that make you hotter in both daytime and nighttime attire…
Good lord, this is all there is to do. The gameplay in Top Girl is so ho-hum, it’s really barely worth mentioning. You’re doing nothing but managing numbers with pointless decisions. There are no mini-games or interactions, and the only reason to spend your real money on the game is if you’re too impatient to wait for your energy to return or just have to have that certain in-game item right now. And given how little Top Girl‘s developers think of their audience, they may just fall for it.
No, what’s really offensive in Top Girl is what goals you’re given, and the rewards they bring. Despite my having a steady boyfriend (Bryan, a handsome computer programmer with a manliness rating of 25), Top Girl insisted that I needed a new quest to go to Club Zen and hook up with another guy. I was happy with Bryan, so why should I dump him?
You’ll want to trade up your man in Top Girl, since higher level men bring better bonuses by dating them. Some increase your closet size so you can gain more self-esteem by having more clothes. Other men pad your material desires to own more things by giving you cash bonuses when you work.
The whole thing smacks of serious, awful sexism. Somehow, Top Girl manages to objectify both men (as disposable playthings, all of whom are skinny, toned and standing oh-so-provocatively) and women (who only want money, clothes, clubbing and aforementioned impossible thoraxes).
The game itself brings absolutely nothing new to social gaming. In fact, other than the technical connection to OpenFeint, there’s nothing social happening period. No way to visit girlfriends to compare boys and things (or is that a redundant statement?), no way to see how your friends are progressing in level (to see if they’ve unlocked more clothing/shopping/clubbing options than you have so you can feel worse about yourself than you already do).
The final insult in Top Girl is the single, short clubby track that’s so poorly done, that it doesn’t even loop properly. After about 15 seconds, no matter what you’re doing, it will hiccup and start over. It’s like they stopped trying.
One would hope that in 2011, a game like Top Girl wouldn’t exist. One would be wrong. Bringing absolutely nothing new, let alone anything of real value, Top Girl should be ignored for the terrible idea that it is. Dump her, and go for something with more substance – just about anything, really.