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 is part of a series of DS games produced by Ubisoft to help girls figure out what they want to be when they grow up. To an extent, the game presents the fashion industry through rose-tinted glasses, playing up the fact that everyone is happy and supportive, and playing down negative stereotypes like hyper-competitiveness, egos, and health issues with models. The all-female cast of models represent various ethnicities, but share the same rail-thin body type. Players can use the Nintendo DS's local WiFi capabilities to trade cards, garments, and photos with each other.
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What's it about?
Ubisoft's Imagine series is a collection of Nintendo DS games aimed at letting young girls and tweens explore professions like animal doctor, rock star and teacher. In IMAGINE: FASHION DESIGNER – NEW YORK, players experience what it's like to work at a bustling fashion agency in the Big Apple.
Players will get to see many different sides of the fashion industry as they juggle tasks like organizing photo shoots (snapping pictures of models as they pose), designing clothes (snipping and sewing with the stylus and choosing colors and patterns), supervising make-up sessions (using the stylus to apply nail polish, lipstick, eyeshadow and blush), styling hair by choosing different styles, dyes and streaks, and helping models strut their stuff on the catwalk by performing a set of pattern-matching mini-games. Players keep track of tasks and tips through a handy smartphone that also offers helpful tips about fashion do's and don'ts. In between tasks is a light storyline where you can interact with colleagues and pursue a budding romance with a handsome photographer named Mark.
Is it any good?
Imagine: Fashion Designer - New York could have benefitted from better graphics, since some of the outfits really don't look very good. Also, if players make a mistake (such as choosing the wrong hair color), they have to start the entire task over again which can get tiresome. On the other hand, the assignments are varied and fun, calling for players to meet different sets of criteria each time. For example, a photo shoot at the Japanese embassy calls for an Asian model in a kimono with red lipstick and eyeshadow, white blush, and no accessories. Overall, Imagine: Fashion Designer – New York is a fun, but not spectacular, peek into the industry.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether they would enjoy working in a fast-paced place like New York, or a less hectic and less exciting town. What were some of your favorite hairstyles and "looks" that you created for the game? Do you think the game fairly represents the fashion industry.
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