Before Greta Gerwig exploded some men’s brains with her blockbuster Barbie movie earlier this summer, and some decades after toy company Mattel exploded parents’ wallets with the Barbie doll in 1959, video game companies released a bunch of Barbie games.
The first Barbie game—Barbie, for the Commodore 64—released in 1984. It reinforced the most sexist ideas one might see embodied by the doll (more on this later), and throughout the years after that, male-dominated developer teams never determined exactly what the Amazonian blonde had to do with gaming. Is she only a happy homemaker, as 1994 computer game Barbie and Her Magical House implies? Or is she dedicated enough to adventure that she’d brave sharks and stinging jellyfish to go on a date, like she did in the 1992 Game Boy title Barbie: Game Girl (made with assistance from Dead Space director Glen Schofield)? There are so many conflicted, clashing Barbie games, but none of them were strong enough, even with the IP’s long legs, to break into big-budget, mainstream gaming. There are, however, enough B-list Barbies to ironically rank in a slideshow. So I did that.
If you ask me, Amazonian blondes are highly compatible with boulders and daggers, and I eagerly await Barbie: Tomb Raider (the toothless 2001 Tomb Raider clone Barbie: Explorer just doesn’t cut it). Until then, here’s what we’re working with.