SuperKids Educational Software Review. The parents' and teachers' guide to educational software
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Girls Software Reviews

Imagina Digital Makeover System
Compucloz

For Ages 9 and up

See the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Girls software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of this PC-only program.


Reviewed on:
Imagina Digital Makeover System Screen Shot PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD

Description
This cleverly designed software program, although a fun diversion, lacks the depth needed to make it truly appealing to its targeted older-girl audience. Featuring "digital dressing room" technology, Digital Makeover includes four use options: Salon, Wardrobe, Zodiac, and Diary.

In the 'Salon', girls can experiment with hairstyles and makeup. The screen contains a virtual compact, with a model's face and neck visible in the mirror area. Users choose from a variety of hairstyles, then apply eye shadow, lipstick and blush in different colors and intensities. It's amazing how diverse the generic face becomes with different combinations of these variables.

In the 'Wardrobe' area, users mix and match clothes on the virtual model. Unlike some software programs containing a similar closet feature, the model is a real-life photo, and the clothes correctly fit her body. Garment options include tops (sweaters, blouses, t-shirts), bottoms (dresses, skirts, pants and shorts), and etc. (shoes, and accessories). Most of the clothing is available in four different color options. If the user is interested in how the clothing would fit on different body-types, she can transform the model by adjusting the values for each of the three standard female measurements, then applying these values. Particularly appealing (or funny) clothing combinations can be saved, and viewed at any time with the 'browse' option.

The final two sections are minimally useful. 'Zodiac' includes a one-page character analysis for each of the astrological signs, while 'Diary' is a journal for writing private thoughts. A calendar is also included in this section, with an incomplete saying or quotation for each day. Four possible answers appear below the quotation, and if the user chooses the correct answer to complete the saying it becomes the "quote of the day". The diary can be password protected if desired.

Educational Value
As with much of the software created solely for girls, Digital Makeover has very little educational value. It does, however, provide older girls with a rare opportunity to experiment with computer technology in a non-classroom situation, thus demonstrating that computers can have a wide variety of uses aside from word-processing, e-mail and the internet.

Kid Appeal
Although our testers were eager to explore this program, they felt it needed more options to make it a program that they would use with enthusiasm and frequency. Clothing, for example, cannot be altered, and although hairstyles are interchangeable, hair color is not. After a cursory run through, the program becomes old and mundane. "It's like dressing dolls--but there's nothing to do once they're dressed," was one teen's comment. Another tester noted, "It would be more fun if you could combine clothing and makeup in silly or outrageous ways."

A special order form included with the program allows the user to do personalized makeovers using her own face instead of the default model. This option intrigued our girl reviewers, but didn't greatly influence their overall reaction.

Ease of Install / Use
Digital Makeover installed without difficulty on Windows 95. Testers reported infrequent crashes, apparently caused by rapidly opening and closing too many images.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Although promising, this program doesn’t deliver enough to keep an older girl interested long-term. It might, however, be useful if she’s considering a new hairstyle.

Education 3.0/5.0 Kid Appeal 3.3/5.0 Ease of Use 4.0/5.0
5=Excellent, 4=Good, 3=OK, 2=Weak

See the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Girls software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of this PC-only program.



Children's Software System Requirements


PC

Macintosh
Operating System Windows 95 Not available
CPU Type and Speed Multimedia Pentium 133 computer
Hard Drive Space n/a
Memory (RAM) 32 MB
Graphics 2 MB video memory
CD-ROM Speed 4x or faster
Audio n/a
Other Needs 800x600 resolution monitor

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