A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Imagine Artist is a very creative and educational game geared for girls. Players learn how to draw, paint, craft, and create other works of art while engaging in skill-building mini-games, such as tracing and color-mixing challenges. And the game’s primary characters -- including an interning art student, the owner of a local studio, a museum curator, and a gallery owner, are all excellent role models. They’ve all got good hearts and are interested in helping the player.
What's it about?
IMAGINE ARTIST puts players in the shoes of a fledgling visual artist working under the guidance of a woman who owns a small art studio. Kids begin by learning how to trace pictures before graduating to painting, stenciling, and crafting, among other lessons. The game progresses through a six week calendar with each day offering players new lessons and challenges, such as working on commissions for clients. Most days culminate with a finished work of art, which players can save and upload to a website, as well as a skill-building minigame or two, such as one that has players tracing objects and another that involves recognizing the specific colors that need to be mixed to create others. As the game progresses players earn more paints and brush tips and the ability to create original works. They can even take pictures using the DSi camera and use them in their art (assuming they have the DSi version of Nintendo’s handheld).
Is it any good?
Ubisoft has released plenty of good games in its Imagine series, but Imagine Artist might be the best yet. It’s a wonderfully powerful and comprehensive art simulator. The tools you've been provided -- stencils, pencils, brushes, and more -- are useful and simple to learn. It won’t let budding artists create a perfect replica of the Mona Lisa, but players can still create beautiful and original pictures. And it’s surprisingly educational; most young players will likely come away with a much better idea how to go about drawing and painting a variety of subjects, if not through theory then via repetition.
If there is any issue with the game it’s that it was created with an aim to attract girls. A couple of simple tweaks -- such as the ability to choose the gender of the player’s character -- and it could have been a great unisex game. Even as is, we have little difficulty recommending Imagine Artist to any girl or boy with a passion for the visual arts.
Online interaction: Players can upload art to their own online galleries. They can share the gallery's URL with friends or email individual pictures.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the sort of art the game lets players create. Were you provided enough pen and brush tips to make the sort of markings you wanted? Were you proud of your works? Proud enough to share them with friends? Did you prefer creating original pieces over working on the subjects the game provides?
Families can also discuss whether they think they learned anything about art while playing. Would an art student get less out of it than someone who has never taken an art class before? Do you feel you’re a better artist for having played?
- Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
- Subjects: Arts: drawing, painting, sculpture
- Skills: Tech Skills: digital creation
Self-Direction: effort, self-reflection
Creativity: imagination, making new creations, producing new content
- Price: $29.99
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: UbiSoft
- Release date: November 17, 2009
- Genre: Girl
- ESRB rating: E for (No Descriptors)
For kids who love girl games
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.