Software Review: Something for the girls

This product has a fashion theme, but it's quite well done, requires imagination and offers a built-in adventure.

imagine computer game 88 248 (photo credit: Courtesy)
imagine computer game 88 248
(photo credit: Courtesy)
There is such a dearth of computer games for girls - few of whom are interested in slashing monsters or fighting wars - that as a result they may be inferior to boys in computer skills. When I finally get a game meant for girls, however, most often it's a Barbie-like concoction that demands little intelligence or creativity. This product has a fashion theme, but it's quite well done, requires imagination and offers a built-in adventure. The main character is Clara Willard, a young woman shown on her first day of work at Sullivan's Style Factory, a Manhattan fashion house. Click your mouse or press arrow keys to maneuver her through the building and introduce her to half-a-dozen characters who own the business or work there. She gets a PDA with mission and quest journals, a meter for her status in the company, an inventory and a phone. Missions require satisfying customers and earning stars for accomplishments, as well as discovering mysterious events and secrets in the Sullivan family closet. Younger players with little patience for the adventure could be satisfied solely by the "creation workshops." Start with the shapely female model and choose her hair color and features. In the makeup workshop, add lipstick, eye shadow, nail polish, tattoos and other details. Move on to the jewelry workshop, where you pick earrings, bracelets and necklaces according to styles such as classic, costume, ethnic and "princess." Now make her fashion statement - from underwear to slacks and tops or dresses. Although you can select from a rainbow of colors, using either solid hues or patterns, you can't actually design clothing but just choose among and combine them. Once your model is set, take her for a photo shoot in front of a French-style chateau, a secret garden or a starry forest background. Click as she poses to produce photos for her model "book" and go onto the Sullivan building's roof (or on a yacht) so she can strut her stuff in front of a motionless audience. If she descends a staircase, her legs will land on air, and the graphics are not outstanding, but at least there is a new game to keep girls busy. Imagine Fashion Designer (Itzuv Ofna), a DVD-ROM in English by Ubisoft, distributed by Hed Artzi Multimedia with an 18-page Hebrew-language user's manual, requires Windows XP and above and a 1.5 ghz PC or better, for ages six to 13, NIS 219. Rating: ****