Posts Tagged Steven Spielberg

Only last month, George Lucas spoke at a games industry event, saying that he thinks the “big game of the next five years will be a game…aimed at women and girls.” For an industry still primarily focused on appealing to men, that could be quite a shift for the future. While I don’t have a crystal ball to see what’s to come, I reckon one source of such a game is Silicon Sisters. It’s the first female-owned and run video game studio in Canada, and it’s already achieved some success with high school-focused School 26 and School 26: Summer of Secrets.

Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch with co-founder, Kirsten Forbes.

Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch with co-founder, Kirsten Forbes.

Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch, CEO of Silicon Sisters, was kind enough to find time in her busy schedule to discuss women gamers, empathy in games, and reveal some information on the firm’s latest title, Everlore.

148apps: Empathy is a primary issue that both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg feel games need to overcome in order to progress as a medium, do you agree?
Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch (BBG): I guess that depends on how you perceive progress. If amazing graphics and incredible physics are your criteria, then we are very advanced as a medium. But if, like the filmmakers mentioned, you view the ability of the storyteller to connect with their audience in a more emotional and meaningful way, then I think empathy is an important tool. And there are some games that have done that incredibly well. Playing The Walking Dead can rip your heart out. But as an industry, we have lots of room to play this out more fully in our storytelling. We also have a fairly limited repertoire of voices through which we tell stories, and that can expand and be part of the growth of our medium as well. The market is expanding and needs to expand further, and expanded voice and perspective are part of that change.

Telltale Games's The Walking Dead.

Telltale Games’s The Walking Dead.

148apps: Do you think women gamers solely need empathy and romance, or is something else needed in order to encourage the female market further?
BBG: I think that women gamers are a huge and growing segment and that no one or two things can possibly define what they would like to enjoy in this medium. I think it’s parallel to other forms of entertainment like film or books. Would we think that because rom-coms exist, that means women won’t have interest in sci-fi or thrillers or animated films or historical films or documentaries? Silicon Sisters is building romance games not to limit the market, but to expand the range of choices in the market, which we feel is somewhat limited currently.

148apps: What games do you feel encapsulate empathy and romance the best at the moment?
BBG: I think Bioware is nailing a lot of this right now. So are some of the smaller more innovate indie games. I am playing a little game out of Vancouver Film School called Allie and the storytelling is terrific. As I mentioned above, the empathy and moral dilemmas in The Walking Dead or The Last of Us are really compelling. Silicon Sisters Interactive’s first title, School 26, is a game based on empathy and we’ve had more than 700,00 downloads in 30 countries. Girls ages 12-16 love that game, and empathy is the primary mechanic.

Silicon Sisters' School 26.

Silicon Sisters’ School 26.

148apps: A recent study has found nearly half the female population already game, a marked improvement on past years. Is a game specifically designed for women really needed at this point? Does that gender divide need to be created?
BBG: This question always seems a bit weird to me. Why are we uncomfortable with games made for women or girls? (More so than with books written for women or movies targeted at women?) Why does this make us so uncomfortable? We segment markets all the time – it doesn’t mean anything beyond the idea that a market can be well served if a product is designed for them specifically, and built with them in mind. What gets my Irish up is when games are very haphazardly and disrespectfully built for women and girls – the “pink it and shrink it” model. These games are usually not designed from the ground up with that market in mind. Often, in the old days of manufactured product, these games had smaller budgets, lesser teams and were ‘guy games’ quickly re-wrapped for girls. These games often tried to reach the female audience through cheap tactics like lots of pink and throwing in a cute animal or two. That’s not game design. But games that really look for mechanics that connect with women and girls or that are designed from the very beginning with them in mind are a good thing, I think. Of course, there will always be games that appeal to both sexes and that’s great, but having segmented games isn’t a problem. It’s respectful of the audience you are trying to serve.


Continue reading Appealing To The Romantic, Empathic Gamer: A Q&A With Silicon Sisters’ Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch »

Publisher: Disney Book Group
Price: Free
Version: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

iPad integration Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

For some odd reason, Abraham Lincoln has been a popular figure in fictional movies lately. There’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies. While these movies may be entertaining, they do little to actually humanize the legendary 16th United States President. A new film simply entitled Lincoln hits theaters on November 16, and a free iBook accompanies its release.

This historical book not only ties in with the movie, but it also is packed with many interesting facts to give readers a little bit of background. Entitled Players on the Stage of History, Chapter One not only provides readers with interviews with notorious actors like Sally Field and Daniel Day-Lewis, but it also elaborates on historical context about the characters.

Lincoln: A Steven Spielberg Film – Discover the Story features six chapters that range from short biographies and historical documents to filming and bringing history to life. What makes the book so engrossing is that it comes with exclusive photos and interviews from the film as well as illustrations and pictures from the past. Readers get a first look into the movie costumes, exclusive interviews with the production team and access to much more behind the scenes content.

What stands out the most about this interactive book is how well it looks. It’s laid out like a magazine of sorts with huge photos, large quotes and beautiful artwork. There’s plenty of eye-candy, but there’s also quite a bit of information packed into its 66 pages.

It’s hard to believe that the book is free, but then again it makes for some pretty clever marketing material. At the end of the book, users are given the option to buy the movie’s soundtrack, watch a movie clip and buy tickets and read about the upcoming book that is to be released in Winter 2013. It would be nice if more historical content was extended to readers at the end of the book like links to websites to learn more or a historical photo gallery of sorts. I realize that’s probably asking a lot out of a free book, but it would provide a more solid background for those wishing to see the movie.

Overall, Lincoln: A Steven Spielberg Film – Discover the Story is an impressive and well-designed iBook. There’s plenty of interactive content to keep readers satisfied, and the foreword by Steven Spielberg himself really helps set the tone. Whether readers plan to go see the movie or just wish to learn more about it and Lincoln himself, this free book is worth adding to the library.

E.T The Green Planet Review

E.T The Green Planet Review

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Reviewer Ray inherits a healing touch and with it, brings health and prosperity to the Green Planet. Was it worth saving?

Read The Full Review »
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