A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game takes traditional Barbie doll play and makes it high-tech. By using scannable cards, kids can play both on the computer and away from it. Because the cards can be traded and more are available in add-ons packs, parents may get pressure to buy the add-on packs. The card games within the software encourage kids to look at fashion in different ways in terms of what goes together and why.
What's it about?
BARBIE iDESIGN ULTIMATE STYLIST CD-ROM GAME is a computer software game that lets kids experiment with fashion, play fashion games, create their own fashion show, and design fashion magazine covers. What makes it different is its method of adding fashion items into the game. It comes with a USB-connected scanner, 60 scannable fashion cards, and a vinyl carrying case for the cards. Each card has a unique barcode so that when it's swiped through the scanner, its fashion item appears on the computer screen and within the game. The cards are clear plastic with the model or fashion item painted on the card. The position of the painting is specific so that you can stack them on top of each other to create a \"look.\" You start with a model (there are five: Barbie, Teresa, Nikki, Summer, and Raquelle) card on the bottom, and then add clothing (top and bottom, or a dress), shoes, and accessories until you build a \"look\" that you like. You can then scan those cards into the computer to watch your model stroll down the runway wearing your \"look.\"
Is it any good?
For kids who are drawn to fashion, this game has lots to offer. Not only can you experiment with different fashion looks both on and off of the computer, but the software makes use of the fashion cards to play games that make kids think. Because the cards can be sorted in different ways, including by fashion style (Sporty, Rocker, Party, Bling, Beach, Princess, School, and Casual Apparel), by sparkle quality (one to three sparkles are designated on the cards), and by clothing type, the card games use these attributes to challenge kids to think about fashion in different ways. These games can be played by two people. In addition, the cards can be collected, traded, and stacked to experiment with different "looks."
Barbie iDesign takes traditional doll play and turns it into a creative hi-tech experience. The card play adds excitement to fashion role-playing and encourages girls to play together while using the computer. The system is reasonably priced at $29.99 for the software, 60 cards, and the vinyl case, but parents will want to know that there are 200 cards available and that the add-on Fashion Cards come in packs of nine scannable cards for $4.99.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the role of fashion in society. Should you judge people by what they wear? Are there times when wearing the wrong outfit can be inappropriate? What do the clothes you wear say about you? Does this game make you want to dress up more? Shop more? Or better coordinate what's already in your closet?