Since the 1810 sale of S&J Fuller’s first manufactured paper doll, children and adults alike have loved these two-dimensional toys. Whether paper dolls are detailed depictions of characters like S&J Fuller’s “Little Fanny” or simply blank slates for the player to style, they have always been fun for anyone with nimble fingers and a sense of fashion to project their imagination onto. Humans love to play dress-up, and it’s no surprise that our passion for paper dolls, a traditionally analog pastime, has flourished in the digital age.
Sites like Azaleas Dolls, Doll Divine, Stardoll, Candy’s World, Dress Up Games, Missangest Games and SweetyGame (just to name a few) allow fans and fashion enthusiasts to customize these paper dolls, and their scenes, to their hearts content without the stroke of a pen or the fold of a paper tab. These games have also thrived in fandom spaces, allowing the less artistically inclined fans of everything from “Harry Potter” to “the Hunger Games” to create their own original characters or virtually “illustrate” their own scenes. It only takes a simple Google search for “Harry Potter original character” to see how intrinsic virtual dress up games are to creative fandom spaces.