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Dress-up is a game played mainly by children. It involves dressing up, usually to impersonate someone or something, like an animal or character in a fairy tale. The type of clothes they dress up in often resembles who they are trying to be, either adults' clothing or special play clothes designed specifically for dress-up like feather boas and jewelry.

Computer games in which users dress up characters have been published on the Internet.

Types of games[edit]

Halloween costume party with a ghost

This is a brief list of some of the things children play when they engage in dress-up:

Paper dolls[edit]

The extension of playing dress up onto dolls made of paper can be traced back as far as the mid-1700s.[1] They have enjoyed great popularity around the world, as they are relatively cheap to produce, yet still offer a rich, dress up experience. They had been published in books, in newspapers and in magazines. In the 20th century, the genre was dominated by dolls created by artist Tom Tierny.[2]

Virtual dress-up[edit]

Early dolls[edit]

In the mid- to late 1990s, webmasters began creating interactive virtual dress-up games in which a person could drag and drop clothes onto a paper doll-like image. One of the most notable early adaptors of virtual dress up technology were the Kisekae System Sets (KiSS), which were developed in Japan. These stand-alone games featured a manga-styled model and a small wardrobe. The next phenomenon was Dollz: small, pixel-art GIF images that were presented scattered on websites, and allowed users to be dragged onto the pixel dolls.[3]

Adobe Flash[edit]

By 2007, dress up games had changed. With the introduction of Macromedia (later Adobe) Flash technology, the number of dress-up games creator dramatically increased. Flash offered a visual-based way for artists to learn simple programming, and put a powerful tool in the hands of doll enthusiasts. The number of games and websites grew, as companies found easy success in a market that was previously under-supplied. The genre continued expanding, yielding an over-supply of mass-produced dress up game websites. The saturation is reminiscent of the video game crash of 1983.

Doll maker renaissance[edit]

In the late 2010s, a few websites managed by dedicated dress up fans utilized Adobe Flash to create dress up games that also allow complete customization of the featured character, advancing the genre to "doll makers". These applications also featured extensive hairstyle and clothing choices, allowing for longer gameplay.[3] The games pushed beyond the usual stereotypes of the genre, and expanded to more pop culture and fantasy themes.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History of Paper Dolls". OPDAG. Retrieved 2014-08-17.
  2. ^ Margalit Fox (July 18, 2014). "Tom Tierney, Who Made Paper Dolls an Art Form, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-08-17.
  3. ^ a b Mariam Naziripour (February 26, 2014). "The Awfulness and the Importance of the Dress-Up Game". Kill Screen. Retrieved 2014-08-17.
  4. ^ Ellie Hall (April 16, 2014). "You Need To Play This "Game Of Thrones" Dress-Up Game". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2014-08-17.