When I was growing up, I had plenty of dolls. I collected Barbies, and I loved to comb their hair, change their outfits, and make up pretend stories about them. But I also loved video games as soon as I discovered them. I would make fake game consoles and games for my dolls to enjoy because they just didn't make that sort of thing back then. Gaming was never marketed as a hobby that girls could enjoy, and while I didn't particularly care, it always annoyed me as I got older that young girls were never encouraged to get into the medium like I did at an early age.
That's why the Xbox Gaming Set from American Girl is such a game-changer. Recently, the popular doll manufacturer took it upon itself to put together a kit called the Xbox Gaming Set, a $50 selection of accessories meant for any American Girl doll to use. It's a real-life collection of gaming-related items targeting young girls and American Girl doll enthusiasts, and at nearly 30 I'm having something of a heart attack about it. This is real! It's really happening! Doll manufacturers are trying to market gaming-related products to little girls! Actually, they're marketing gaming products to young girls and boys — this isn't a gendered set! Even better.
The Xbox Gaming Set is absolutely adorable. It comes with a miniaturized Xbox One S gaming console that's actually a projector. It can project 10 different gaming scenes, according to the product page, and it comes with two different video game discs that you can insert into the console projector. They're even housed in their own little cases to help keep track of them.
The set also comes with a small Xbox One S controller and a faux-leather game chair with a built-in speaker that you can connect to your favorite personal devices (unfortunately, only those with headphone jacks) to play music with. To top it all off, the set also includes a special headset (to complete the "streamer" package that this set is trying to emulate, most likely). But it's all so darn cute, and functional, and encouraging! It makes gaming look cool to young girls, and that's all I ever want. It's so nice to see this type of thing happening now that I'm an adult, even though I wish I could have had it when I was younger, too.
Now, of course, this could very well be the result of a marketing campaign and payola between Microsoft and the American Girl brand. It could also just be a one-off situation. The set itself, which doesn't come with a doll to use the items with, is also $50. I could think about new things to complain about all day in this situation, because admittedly this isn't the perfect setup, but it's certainly a fantastic start.
I'd love to see a PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Switch created by American Girl, a niche that others have gladly already filled for us with DIY projects you can watch on YouTube. The company clearly knows that there's a demand for these kinds of things, and I'd like to see more of these bundles made for other youngsters and adult collectors like myself. I never owned an American Girl doll growing up, but I kind of want to now, just so I can have this awesome piece of history in my possession.
So, if you're a parent who loves gaming or an adult who just loves dolls or wants to support and foster this kind of thing, pick up one of the sets. They're too cute, and while you need a doll to go with it, think of it as supporting a company that understands that, as we've always known, gaming isn't relegated to being a "male" hobby. Everyone can join in, at any age, whether they like playing with dolls or not.