Silicon Sisters Interactive, Canada’s first female owned and run video game studio, has just launched School 26, a unique game targeted specifically toward teen and tween-age girls. Designed especially for girls ages 12–16, School 26 is a casual game with a deliberate focus on “the types of social activities and interactions that teen and tween girls take seriously and excel at”.

Here is a synopsis provided by the developer:
“In School 26, players join Kate on a quest to make friends at her new school. To do so, she must navigate the often-treacherous social hierarchy of high school by getting to know her classmates, helping to diffuse their conflicts, and strengthening her personal connections. Gameplay directly supports these goals with activities such as selecting appropriate emotional responses during conversations, matching cards in a mini-game with rules that reflect the students’ current mindsets and situations, and taking quizzes that give valuable insight into friends’ personalities. School 26‘s social elements carry over into the real world by enabling players to post their own personality quiz results to Facebook from within the game.”

Silicon Sisters goal with School 26 was to not only to provide a fun gaming experience, but also to “validate skills that girls may not realize give them a competitive advantage“. “Most games provide challenges that help you develop mastery in the skill of playing that particular game. In School 26, players develop social mastery,” says Silicon Sisters’ COO Kirsten Forbes. “For example, the player uses empathy to ‘level up’ the other characters in the game, not herself. It’s a twist on conventional game design that fits with the way girls structure their social hierarchies.”

School 26 is available for $2.99 for the iPhone and iPod Touch and $4.99 for iPad (HD version).

Game Trailer

Interview with Silicon Sisters’ CEO Brenda Baily Gershkovitch at GDC 2011

About Silicon Sisters Interactive
Silicon Sisters Interactive is the first female owned and run video game studio in Canada. Founded and staffed by industry veterans with decades of hands-on experience, the company is committed to developing high quality, inspirational games with a decidedly female focus—games made by women and girls, for women and girls. Silicon Sisters’ development relies heavily on the analysis of data and studies that disseminate gender differences in video gaming, with the development team building innovative gameplay mechanics around themes and activities that research identifies as relevant to women. School 26, a social mastery game for tween and teen girls, is available now for iOS and Android, and coming soon to PC and Mac. A second project is also under development.