I’m not as familiar with Social Engineering Games as I am with other genres. I’m familiar with life-sim games and the rather shallow attempts made to simulate fictional relationships between characters that players care little about or don’t find engaging. So I found it interesting to find out that School 26 seems to be exploring the relationship aspect of sim style games with a little more depth while confining the gameplay into a casual gaming experience.
Silicon Sisters is Canada’s first female owned and operated video game studio, so it comes as no surprise that School 26 is designed and geared toward a largely female audience in there early to mid teens. Check out this vid of School 26 and read more on the press release below.
Silicon Sisters Interactive Unveils School 26 Social Engineering Game for Teens and Tweens
“Female-focused studio’s first release coming to iPad and iPhone in April; other platforms to follow
VANCOUVER, March 30, 2011 – Silicon Sisters Interactive, Canada’s first female owned and operated video game company, is proud to announce the upcoming multi-platform launch of School 26. Designed for girls ages 12 to 16, School 26 is a unique casual game built around the complex social hierarchy of high school. Versions for iPad and iPhone / iPod Touch are expected to arrive in the App Store in April, with PC, Mac, and Android versions coming soon after.
School 26 follows Kate, a student whose nomadic family has made it difficult for her to maintain long-term friendships. As she enrolls at her 26th new school, she and her parents strike a deal: if Kate makes good friends here, the family will stay put. Now the player must help Kate use intuition, empathy, and strategy to build friendships and navigate the moral dilemmas of high school. These dilemmas range from power struggles to peer pressure, from romance to betrayal, from alienation to acceptance — real and relevant situations teens face every day.
School 26 is inspired by academic research that identifies social engineering as a prominent element in the lives of teenaged girls. In the game, Kate must get to know her new classmates’ personalities, resolve their issues, and strengthen her connections to them. These objectives are met through various types of gameplay including dialogues during which players pick up on social cues and select appropriate emotional responses, quizzes that provide insights into other characters’ (and the player’s) personalities, and a card matching game with shifting rules that reflect the evolving social dynamic among the School 26 crew.
While Silicon Sisters ultimately plans to develop games for all age ranges and demographics, the company decided to lead with School 26 after considering where they could make the biggest impact. “With the workplace shifting to knowledge-based industries and women leading in university enrollments and professional degrees, today’s teen girls are poised for better success than any other generation,” says Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch, Silicon Sisters’ CEO. “By highlighting and rewarding the social activities girls engage in every day, School 26 legitimizes ‘soft skills’ such as communication, empathy, and networking. Girls need to understand that these skills will give them a competitive advantage not only in high school, but also later in life.”
Upon its release, School 26 will cost $2.99 for iPhone / iPod Touch and $4.99 for iPad (HD version). To learn more about the game and view the trailer and screenshots, visit the official School 26 website at http://www.school26.ca.”
I’ve got a feeling that School 26 might become a hit with young female audiences. Who knows, the game might also encourage more young women to explore game development and pick up interest in the largely male dominated game developing industry. We’ll have to wait and see but for now be sure to keep an eye on Silicon Sisters Interactive and their soon to be released School 26.