If you remember spending your allowance on Pac-Man at the mall arcade, the newest American Girl doll probably would have been your best friend. The doll, named Courtney Moore, is American Girl's first retro gamer doll.
The new historical character doll, which debuted Tuesday, is from the '80s. She comes with a cassette walkman and tape, a 13-piece mix-and-match fashion collection and a see-through phone that lights up and rings. Even cooler, she has a working doll-sized Pac-Man cabinet.
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"Courtney Moore is growing up in California's San Fernando Valley," her official bio stated. "She's a total '80s girl whose favorite place is Smiley's Arcade because she loves playing video games. Courtney likes being in control of what happens, which isn't always the case in real life. She and her stepsister, Tina, don't always get along, and now that Courtney's mom is running for mayor, things are changing at home. It's a whole new game for Courtney, and she's figuring out the rules as she goes."
Courtney's mini Pac-Man arcade game has a working buttons and joystick, plus authentic arcade sounds, multiple levels, ghosts and fruit. It runs on a built-in rechargeable battery. The Pac-Man arcade cabinet retails for $149.99 (about £116, AU$205). The doll on its own retails for $110 (about £85, AU$150). Courtney and her Pac-Man arcade cabinet will hit American Girl stores on Sept. 25.
American Girl's Historical Characters line includes books that illustrate what life was like during the doll's time. Courtney's books reflect her life in 1986 and her love for video games.
In addition to the cool nostalgia factor for those of us who grew up playing Pac-Man, the doll might also encourage young girls to think about becoming game developers in real life. This is especially important if girls want to see more video game characters that better represent women.
"Courtney is the best gamer at the arcade, but she can't understand why there aren't more girl characters in the games she plays," Courtney Changes the Game book summary says. "When a school project allows her to create her own video game, the hero is a girl who knows how to handle any situation, something Courtney struggles with in real life."
In the spirit of inspiring young girls to become game developers, American Girl is teaming with Girls Who Code — a nonprofit on a mission to close the gender gap in technology — to offer $5,000 scholarships to girls "to help further their education in computer science or a related field."
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Also, from now until Dec. 31, 2020, American Girl is matching customer donations dollar for dollar up to a maximum of $50,000 to support Girls Who Code's programming and outreach to girls, including those from historically underrepresented groups.
This isn't the first time American Girl offered gaming accessories for its dolls. In 2018, American Girl and Microsoft joined forces to release an Xbox Gaming Set that came with a doll-sized Xbox console, controller, headset and gaming chair, perfect for a doll wanting to show off her esports skills.