Imagine Game Series (for Nintendo D.S. and Wii)

This series of games came out in 2007 and is still expanding. It was created by Ubisoft, one of the biggest game developers in Europe, as part of its Games for Girls series. The games are aimed primarily at girls, although they can appear to children of both sexes. They allow girls to pretend to be any number of careers, from artist or party planner to teacher or veterinarian. There’s even a diary version of this game (My Secret World, by Imagine) where girls can record their thoughts, take online quizzes, and connect with friends. There is also a website (ubisoft.com) that allows girls to create an avatar and further explore the careers from their games, as well as playing in a Style Lab or with online Petz. Girls can chat with other users, but there are plenty of parental controls in place to ensure their online safety. This is a very creative way to encourage career exploration. It’s even somewhat realistic. In Imagine: Teacher, players pretend to be a rookie, charged with bringing more students into the classroom. The teacher has to increase students’ knowledge, help them find the career that suits them best, create a fun and engaging learning environment, and talk to parents and school staff. In Imagine: Artists girls learn different art techniques (painting, drawing, even collage), create their own works of art, and then upload their creation to their online gallery to show off to friends. And in Imagine: Family Doctor, players learn about their patients’ symptoms and medical histories, and then diagnose them with mini-games, give advice, and write prescriptions. While this story- and people-oriented game style might not appeal to young boys, it would definitely draw in many young girls, even those who are not otherwise into gaming.

Why I recommend these games:
While Imagine: Cheerleader or Imagine: Prom are not the most progressive concepts out there, it’s great that these games encourage young girls to try out different careers. I believe this teaches children that they can be whatever they want to be. Many of these careers are both progressive and fun, like Zookeeper or Soccer Captain, and some are very informative (apparently Imagine: Party Babyz is a very realistic demonstration of the joys and trials of babysitting). This is an excellent way to introduce girls to light, fun gaming that they can do socially (Nintendo DS encourages players to connect with their friends to chat and play together). This will help girls master technology and help them narrow down their possible career choices.

Other Resources:
http://blogs.reuters.com/mediafile/2008/07/16/lets-hear-it-for-the-girls/

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