A new videogame combines elements of fashion and action to give gaming more girl-appeal, reports Christina Binkley in The Wall Street Journal (8/16/12). Juliana Stock of Conde Nast got the idea for Fashion Hazard after watching her tweenage daughter play Temple Run and noticing a similarity between the chase course and a fashion runway. The resulting game is not as fast-paced as Temple Run, in which “Indiana Jones-style characters are pursued after stealing artifacts from an ancient temple.” But Fashion Hazard lives up to its name, featuring “models who trip each other and obstacles that are highly unlikely to ever actually appear on a runway: cobras and flying cafe lattes that splatter on the screen.”
Unlike other girls games that “often involve making cake, slicing fruit or dressing dolls,” Fashion Hazard tries to “blend action with girlish passions … Women’s penchant for a narrative is why Fashion Hazard includes a story line for each model at the same time that it rachets the action up as the game progresses. And it is why the game brings the story to a conclusion rather than using the ‘endless runner’ model of many games.” Sheri Graner Ray, a game designer and author of Gender Inclusive Game Design, says that women and girls like action games — even violence, if it fits with the narrative — but not the typically masculine imagery. Currently, just 11 percent of game designers are women.
Interactive Product Group, a two-year-old unit within Conde Nast, developed Fashion Hazard. The game “is meant to make a profit, not advertise Conde Nast’s fashion publications. Besides the purchase price, upgrades, ringtones and ‘model packs’ with new models will be sold midgame … The group is also hoping to attract product placements in the game from fashion and retail brands.” Fashion Hazard is available on “iTunes for iPhones and iPads, priced at 99 cents, and will be released later for Android and other formats.” Saskia Binkley, 10, says she prefers Temple Run to Fashion Hazard, but likes FH better than other fashion games. “My other fashion games are like, run a store,” she says, rolling her eyes.