Given all the video games that depict women in sexist and degrading roles, it’s about time someone made a video game offensive to men. (Sarcasm, people.) Meet “The Boyfriend Trainer,” in which a chick “trains” her boyfriend to behave by slapping and tasing him, is wholly inappropriate to be marketed to impressionable tween girls.
And impressionable tween girls, of course, are exactly who “The Boyfriend Trainer” is marketed to. Domestic violence is fun, kids!After reading about “The Boyfriend Trainer” on The Good Men Project, I found it on a low-budget game site called Top Girls Dress Up and played a little. In addition to being an inappropriate display of power and control, training your boyfriend also turns out to be pretty lame. (Although, much like a lion tamer, you do get a whip.) Example: the avatars share a milk shake, the boyfriend gets a wandering eye for girls walking past, and the girlfriend avatar slaps him in the face so a little red mark appears on his cheek. If the player doesn’t slap the bad boyfriend enough times, you lose the round when he “escapes.” (Tweens, you should know that in 10 years, when it comes to training your actual, real-life boyfriend to put the toilet seat down, there is no escape.) Um, how come ditching the boyfriend with the wandering eye isn’t an option?
I could point out how a game like this appeals to tween girls the same way the bikini babes in “Duke Nukem” or “Grand Theft Auto” appeal to guys of all ages: in a digital world you are allowed to control the befuddling opposite sex. I could also point out that just as violence in “Duke Nukem Forever” — slapping a woman to make her calm down — is inappropriate, the violence in “The Boyfriend Trainer” is inappropriate, too.
But what I really want to do is point out how some video games that are marketed towards girls suck. On the Top Girls Dress Up site, “The Boyfriend Trainer” game is one of many lowest common denominator pasttimes to chose from, including “Magic Hairdos House,” “Cutie Nail Salon” and “Comely Girl Makeup.” Makeup, hair and nails? Do parents really log their kids onto the computer to play games like this? They require so little thought or creativity that they almost don’t deserve to be called “games.” I don’t mean to disparage girly-girly topics, but I do think these gender-specific games are as brain-numbing as the ones marketed towards guys that are all about tits, ass and explosions.
Disappointing, Internet. Disappointing.