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 cute, fun hair salon simulation puts a heavy emphasis on beauty and looking good. Of course, this being a hair salon game, that could probably be assumed from the start. For some girls, that won't be a problem, and they will just see the game as a fun way to experiment with different looks. Other girls though, could have trouble with the mixed messages sent out by the game and wonder if they need makeovers in order to look good themselves. Parents should also be aware that the game allows players to take photos of themselves with the DSi's camera and place their own face on the virtual model to be styled. This is a fun gimmick for kids, but there is, of course, nothing to prevent the player from taking pictures of something other than her own face -- know your child and what she might do with this ability.
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What's it about?
In PICTURE PERFECT HAIR SALON, you work in, well, a hair salon. And by you, we mean you. With the DSi's built-in camera, you can take a photo of your own face and place it on your avatar. You can then cut, style, and dye your virtual hair and paint your face with blush, lipstick, and eyeshadow. You'll do the same for clients that come into your shop, making sure to follow their precise requests for length, texture, and color. Winning enough positive reviews will allow you to compete in hairstyling competitions and win money that you can use to buy new supplies for your salon.
Is it any good?
Picture Perfect Hair Salon can be strangely addictive fun. Snipping bits of hair from an animated face, curling a bit here, straightening a strand there -- there's quite a bit of precision involved, but it's rewarding to watch a new 'do come together. It would be nice if there were a little more variety earlier on in the game -- in the beginning, far too many clients walk in asking for virtually the same cut and color combo. And sadly, there's no way to apply blush and have it really look good. But barring those complaints, Hair Salon makes for an entertaining and creative pastime. The ability to put your own face into the game, and then layer that face with ridiculous hair and overpowering eyeshadows and lipsticks also makes for some enjoyably silly times. If only the virtual clients in the game didn't seem to have such low self-esteem.
Online interaction: Kids can share photos of themselves -- complete with customized hairstyles and makeup -- with friends who also have a copy of the game. This is only done through wireless connection between DSi units and not over WiFi Internet.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about our beauty obsessed culture. Why do the girls in the game feel it is so important to look pretty? Why do they think they are not pretty when they walk into the salon?
Parents can also aks their children what it is like to put themselves into a game like this. More than just an avatar, this is actually you. Is it fun to change your own appearance? Why did you make the choices you did in terms of hair style, color, and makeup?
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