the doll games
shelley and pamela jackson



0. Prehistory
Kleenex dolls, baby dolls, stuffed animals, drawing with narration, dress-up, pretend.

1. Early Kiddle Period
In which they explore, engage in extreme sports (swimming, boating, climbing gargantuan trees and rocks) and nudism, and form utopian child communities in caves or treehouses.

2. Late Kiddle Period
All of the above, but the characters of individual dolls develop and begin to carry over from game to game. Earliest love stories date from these times. Continued companionable (though slightly naughty) nudism but no sex per se. Kissing? Terrible loss of Pippi, then her resurrection with a different head.

3. Transitional [beginning of the Doll Games proper]
Skipper and Fluff appear and are recast as Laurie and Aina [? Or was she Fluff until her new head appeared?]. Very little is recoverable from this period. Characters gradually clarify and acquire fixed characteristics. Harvey and Dawn are early entries. The Kiddles still receive much play. Games are similar to Kiddle games, stressing adventure and exploration.

4. The Golden Age
Games became more complex as more characters were added. Stock characters appeared (the boyish girl hero, the sensitive love interest, the slut, the foppish letch) and stock plots developed and were perfected. True love, disguise, the misfit, running away, pirates, outlaws, and all-kid societies occasioned by ³boarding school² or other plot devices are all frequent themes. Big Josh was borrowed occasionally, then appropriated completely. Phyllis and Anne turned up. Matron became a regular. Sue made occasional appearances. Laurie died and was reborn as Jesse, with a different head; Aina acquired a second optional head at this time and began alternating between two slightly different main characters. Katherine/Kit appeared. Willy appeared, though rarely. Alonzo Pegleg entered the games and played a major role. Will Scarlet appeared but made a lesser showing, as did Cowboy Dan (though he had occasional starring roles) and Jenny and Ted. B***** submitted to an operation in order to qualify for the Doll Games but never quite fit in.

5. Decadence
Games become more focused on sex, which becomes more explicit; fake breasts and penises appear on some characters. In keeping with this insistence on having the right equipment, we also see the proliferation of artifacts– poems, letters, drawings, gifts, all "by" the dolls themselves– which reflect a growing interest in developing the fictional world and enhancing its realism even at the cost of the forward movement of the games themselves.

6. Decline
Mara and Melanie appear, and there is a stated intention to make the games "better." The artifacts continue to proliferate; the time devoted to producing arts and crafts by the dolls far exceeds the time it takes to play the games in which these artifacts appear. The story degenerates into excuses for making and displaying these artifacts: here we see the sprawling and plot-weak "classroom" games and the final, decadent, multi-character Last Christmas, which was never concluded.