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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Imagine: Fashion Designer!

A few months back, when the press release for Ubisoft's "Imagine" series came out, a girl who worked for me sent me the link, and the two of us had a good scoff over it for awhile. It was definitely worded as distingustingly as possible, the worst possible hybrid of PR spin and gender stereotypes. And of course, to top it all of, I went around reading what other websites had to say, like Kotaku, until I had decided we had just sent the women-in-videogames cause back about fifty years.


So last week in Best Buy I decided I would combat my natural urges, and I bought Imagine: Fashion Designer for an experiment. Working on games, pretty much every game out there has some sort of appeal. I'm starting to mutate from a person who can sit down and enjoy a game into this creature that can only either appreciate what's wrong with a game, or try to dissect how something went right.

The first night I played Imagine: Fashion Designer for about four hours. I can definitely see why someone interested in modeling and fashion (and if the reality trend is any indication, there are probably more than a few of them), but I thought it had limited clothing options and there were some bizarre racial stereotypes in it. In one challenge I was asked to design clothes for a person on a set of a movie called "Love in Africa". You have to pick a hairstyle, an outfit, and color it "appropriately", and though I went straight where they wanted me to (picking a large green, yellow, and red knit hat), I think it's a strange message to send to little girls.

The following days, I discovered that there were actually quite a few clothing choices to unlock, and as I unlocked more and more patterns and shoe options, I felt like they had potentially made a really interesting and appealing game.

And then I got stuck. I mean really stuck... I literally have no idea what to do. And since the game challenges are linear, if you're stuck on one, then there's not much else you can do. I asked a couple people at work if I could borrow their little girls for a few minutes, I was certain than eight-year old would be able to figure it out.

Thankfully it looks like all the little girls are stuck too.

So my take away is this: A little girl or boy interested in fashion would probably love this game. Don't design a game like this that hinges on one level for you to keep playing, if someone gets stuck and puts it down, you'll never get them back. And... when in doubt... check GameFAQS.

9 comments:

nweasel said...

Let me just put it this way. Being a 20 year old, male game player, I'll admit that I never would even DREAM of wanting to try this game out, haha. :P

Milkman519 said...

Love in Africa made me lol. XD

Autistic Angel said...

The description makes this sound like a puzzle game, but the whole concept of fashion is so subjective that "success" can only be gauged through the eyes of other people. Unless you're told outright, how could anyone correctly guess what the programmers consider to be The Right Look? They might as well create a game titled 'Pick a Number Between 1 and 100!'

I think I'll stick with 'Puzzle Quest.' Take that, skeleton!

Anonymous said...

Programmers don't design games. :)

Anonymous said...

the one ur stuck on is actually vey easy. Im stuck on one where i have to make 5 "sprig" outfits all in different shades of blue

Anonymous said...

this game is hard i am stuck at the african hairstyles

Anonymous said...

Ok .. for background, I'm a 35 yo male that plays quite regularly on Halo, RB6, and now GoW2. I play my DS when I need to relax with games such as Animal Crossing, Puzzle Quest, and Viva Pinata.

Out of curiosity, I borrowed this game from a friend and actually found it interesting .. true, I click as fast as I can through the social story lines. However, at its core, this is very much a puzzle and collecting game. I think Ubisoft actually might have made a mistake by targeting as a "girl" game .. along with some others on their Imagine line, like Teacher.

BTW, not to totally give up my "man card", I did deny that this was for me when I purchased. My "niece" loves the game.

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Elliott Broidy said...

What a fun event